Invisible Privilege.

Privilege is invisible because the class that we live in is not black and white and it can be hard to determine what class someone is in. Lower class people can be aware of the privileges of life from the upper class. Andrea was uncomfortable in Jewel’s home because it was out of her norm and below her class. I don’t think that people can overcome the type of social differences because we tend to mingle with people in our own social class, and as we seen in this case once Andrea and her mom found out that Jewel and her mom lived in a class lower than that of their own they started to fade away and eventually stopped socialization. Funding for schools can be a form of invisible privilege because in a town with higher class people the school will also be in that higher class.
Barry Glidden.

Invisible Privilege

                Privilege is often invisible to people because when someone is used to a certain lifestyle they are less likely to realize what they are experiencing is a privilege. People who are born into money would be a category of people who may not be aware of privileges that they have. These people who already have money from a family business or simply a family fortune often just replace their parents at the business. They do not have the experience of working hard towards a certain lifestyle. They do not worry about how their children will grow up or if their children are attending a bad school due to a bad community. People who have more privileges have fewer worries and therefore do not often realize these privileges.

                In the reading it was very clear that Andrea was very uncomfortable in Jewel’s Newark house. To Andrea, simply having two or more bathrooms was not a privilege or a luxury it was just the way their house was. When Jewel showed Andrea the second bathroom which was located in the middle of the basement made of four pieces of wood Andrea just didn’t understand, as the authors says,  “Jewel’s pride was my daughter’s terror.” Another example was that when Andrea first entered the house she couldn’t understand why, on such a dark day, only one light bulb in the house was on. To many people lighting has moved from having a functional use to be used more for decoration, and in many houses lighting is very abundant. I think that in some cases social differences as described in this reading can be overcome. If the friendship was merely between the mothers in this situation I feel that the friendship could have gone on because they were two grown women that were able to appreciate and recognize the differences in their lifestyles. But in this case the two young girls were the close friends. As the author says, “It was unreasonable for two eight-year-old girls to be able to negotiate each other’s worlds.”  I think that because the two young girls were so young and their lifestyles were so different that many aspects of each other’s lives would make the other girl uncomfortable.

                An element of privilege in my own life was attending a private school throughout middle school. While in the school I hated that I did not attend a public school like many of my friends. But now I understand that it was a privilege to attend the school because of the smaller class size. When I went to a public school in high school I found that it wasn’t as easy to get one on one help by the teachers because of the amount of students they were teaching. This did affect my relationship with others because transitioning from a small private school to a public school was in many ways difficult. Most of the student in the school had already established “clicks” and there seemed to be little room for new people.


1. Privilege is often invisible because those that are less privileged than others often work just as hard, if not harder, than those that are privileged which leads some to believe that they would be equally privileged. Categories of people that are more likely to be aware of privilege are the people that are not privileged themselves.
2. Andrea was so uncomfortable in Jewel’s Newark home because her home was much smaller than any home she had been in, and also much darker due to lack of lights in the home. The people at her home talked in unfamiliar ways. The whole home and situation was just so much different than anything that she was used to. I think that people can overcome the social differences described here. I think that there just needs to be an understanding of the differences and why there were these differences that Andrea and Jewel were not aware of.
3. Elements of privilege in my own life are that I attend college and my parents help me to pay. Not all parents have money to help support their children, which may lead to smart students not being able to attend college. Knowing this has affected my relationship with others because I know that I am lucky in this way and that others are just as able to attend things such as college, but just aren’t privileged enough to be able to. BY MOLLY


This blog discussion is based on chapter 21 of the book Seeing Ourselves, the article INVISIBLE PRIVILEGE by PAULA S. ROTHENBERG.
Answer and discuss the following questions:
Why is privilege often invisible? What category of people are more likely to be aware of privilege? Why was Andrea so uncomfortable in Jewel’s Newark home? Do you think people can overcome the type of social differences describe here? Explain
Explain how funding for schools could be a form of “invisible privilege.”
The students who are assigned to answer these questions are asked to do an original posts and comment on the posts of another student. Other students may comment on these posts. The instruction for making original post will be emailed to all students.