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UNSAID | The Privilege Walk
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The Privilege Walk

09 Aug The Privilege Walk

The Privilege Walk

Watch THE PRIVILEGE WALK: On our nation’s 51st birthday, we conducted an experiment to put our social privilege to the test.

We have much to celebrate and cherish in Singapore, but do we all start from the same place in our meritocratic society?

To view the full list of questions asked during the Walk, check out this link on our website: http://www.unsaid.sg/the-privilege-walk/

Posted by UNSAID on Monday, 8 August 2016

 

The Privilege Walk is a social experiment designed to visually represent privilege and create awareness and understanding among participants and viewers. Many of you may have seen Buzzfeed’s version of the Walk before. The Privilege Walk has been conducted in many colleges and communities in the United States, but we’ve yet to see a Singaporean version yet. 

UNSAID gathered a group of 16 Singaporean youths aged between 21 – 26 from diverse racial, religious and family backgrounds to take part in our inaugural edition of the walk.  This National Day, while we celebrate how far Singapore has come in 51 years, we want to remember that even on this tiny Red Dot, there is great disparity in social privilege, even if it may not always be obvious.

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Here’s the complete list of questions that the participants were asked during the Walk.

  1. If your parents ever had to work more than one job to support your family, take one step back
  2. If you ever felt socially obliged by your friends to eat at a place out of your budget, take a step back
  3. If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward.
  4. If the primary language spoken in your household is not English, take one step back.
  5. If you felt that your family would support you no matter what, take one step forward.
  6. If you have ever tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain acceptance, take one step back.
  7. If you go on multiple vacations in a year, take one step forward,
  8. If you ever felt embarrassed about your clothes or house while growing up, take one step back.
  9. If people have blamed your mistakes on your gender/ethnicity, take one step backwards.
  10. If you can legally marry the person you love, take one step forward.
  11. If you were born in Singapore, take one step forward.
  12. If you or your parents have ever gone through a divorce, take one step back.
  13. If you felt like you had adequate access to healthy food growing up, take one step forward.
  14. If you are reasonably sure you would be hired for a job based on your ability and qualifications, take one step forward.
  15. If you feel comfortable being emotionally expressive/open, take one step forward.
  16. If you have ever been the only person of your race/gender/sexual orientation in a classroom or workplace setting, please take one step back
  17. If you had a job during your secondary and/or ITE/Polytechnic/Junior College years, take one step back.
  18. If you feel comfortable walking home alone at night, take one step forward.
  19. If you have ever traveled outside of South East Asia, take one step forward.
  20. If you have ever felt like there was NOT adequate or accurate representation of your racial group, sexual orientation group, gender group, in the media, take one step back.
  21. If you feel confident that your parents would be able to financially help/support you if you were going through a financial hardship, take one step forward.
  22. If you have ever been bullied or made fun of based on something that you can’t change, take one step back.
  23. If you’ve ever went on a family vacation, take one step forward.
  24. If you can buy new clothes or go out to dinner whenever you want to, take one step forward.
  25. If you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.
  26. If one of your parents was ever laid off or unemployed not by choice, take one step back.
  27. If you were uncomfortable about a joke/statement you overheard related to your race, gender, appearance, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, take one step back.
  28. If you have ever been rejected in a job interview because of your race/skin colour, take one step back.
  29. If you were bullied/discriminated in Singapore based on your country of origin, take one step back.
  30. If you’ve ever been excluded from a sport because of your gender, take one step back.
  31. If you have access to tertiary education, take one step forward.
  32. If you have been told that the way you dress is attracting unwanted judgement, take one step back.
  33. If you’ve ever been looked down upon for a job that you do, take one step back.
  34. If you own or have access to your own car/motorcycle, take one step forward.
  35. If you had multiple tuitions at the same time in school, take one step forward.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Privilege Walk. Drop us an email at [email protected] if you have any comments on the experiment.  Do you like what you see?  Like our Facebook Page for regular updates on UNSAID’s work!

 

*All photos are courtesy of Sherry Wong. 

1Comment
  • Nadya Majeed
    Posted at 10:17h, 09 August Reply

    Hi! I think the privilege walk is an incredible idea and that maybe it should be repeated every year, so that we could track our progress every year. I have two main suggestions, the first being that, after reading through the questions (those based on privilege rather than disprivilege), I could’ve had those things/situations if I had wanted to, but simply didn’t because of choice (eg multiple family vacations in a year). I think this really impacts the final positions of some of the people in the walk. My second suggestion would be to increase the age range. I’m not sure how to increase the participation of older people, but perhaps an email request for participants for the walk could’ve been sent out to the junior colleges and polytechnics and ITEs. For example, both VJC and MJC have school email systems so a simple outreach email to perhaps the Interact Club teacher-in-charge could have resulted in wider dissemination of your outreach email. Thanks for reading and I hope my suggestions have been useful!

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