Privilege – Lesson 3

It’s taken me a long time to get this post up, mostly because this lesson took several class periods to navigate.

Whenever I teach Intro to Ethics, I start with Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics and move into the feminist critique in the form of ethics of care. Although on this end of the lectures it’s hard to imagine why, it never occurred to me before how well these topics would frame our discussion of privilege.

The lessons include the diagrams I used. The “Wheel of Oppression” I feature is a modified version of Peggy McIntosh’s model, as cited by Dena R. Samuels in the paper I mentioned earlier.

Please find the new lesson here. I look forward to your comments.



  1. Jessie Mathisen · October 1, 2015

    I like the basic idea of this lesson a lot. However, I wonder if you have everyone share their identity map? If so, maybe you want to reconsider. I’m pretty average in most ways and I went to a wonderful, very safe (emotionally, physically, etc.) high school. But, my high school self would still have been wildly uncomfortable sharing such a thing with my whole class. And some of my classmates would have been quietly mortified beyond belief… I’m thinking in particular of one boy who felt he had a facial deformity. (Did he really have one? I don’t know. He managed to get through all of high school with the lower half of his face covered. Really.) Have you considered giving students the option to share either their own identity map or a map for some fictional character, perhaps from a novel that they have read in English class? That would be a nice interdisciplinary tie-in.

    • brynelewis · October 1, 2015

      Using a fictional character from a novel or movie is a great idea! As to the rest of your comment, I don’t have my students share their personal map for the very reasons you mentioned. We use mine for the purpose of discussion. I’m pretty transparent with my students and I don’t mind putting myself on the spot in that way. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Pingback: Teaching to “Hold Space” | bryne lewis

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