What's Race Got to Do with It?

Racial Inventory - (depicted in video - DVD Chapter 5)

Adapted from Peggy Mcintosh’s article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” this exercise helps reveal the disparate (and often hidden) ways that race impacts our daily lives. It’s a good post-screening tool to help viewers move into higher-risk discussion and connect the video content to their own lives. Allow 20-30 minutes for the activity and discussion.

Hand out copies of the questionnaire to participants. Allow approximately 5-10 minutes for everyone to fill in their answers (instructions are on the handout). Note that each item is written as a POSITIVE statement, so advantage or “privilege” yields a higher score. When everyone is finished, tally all the scores on the blackboard by race (allow people to self-identify) and then come up with an average score for each racial group represented. Afterwards, go around the room and ask people for their reactions – what surprised them, what didn’t, what they think the scores mean or reflect, how they feel about the activity and/or results, and what would have to change to bring the scores closer together (i.e., impact of individual actions vs. societal/structural changes).




Score 5 if statement is always true for you
Score 3 if the statement is sometimes true for you
Score 0 if the statement is seldom true for you

Because of my race or color …

  1. _____  I can be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  2. _____  If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area in which
                I would want to live and which I can afford.
  3. _____  I can turn on the television or open the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely
                and positively represented.
  4. _____  When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that my people
                made it what it is.
  5. _____  I can be sure that curricular materials will testify to the existence of my race.
  6. _____  I can go into most supermarkets and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions.
  7. _____  I can go into any hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  8. _____ Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the
                appearance of financial reliability.
  9. _____  I can swear, dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute
                 these choices to the bad morals, poverty or illiteracy of my race.
  10. _____  I can do well in challenging situations without being called a credit to my race.
  11. _____  I am never asked to speak for people of my race.
  12. _____  I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without
                being seen as a cultural outsider.
  13. _____  I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge," I will be facing a person of my race.
  14. _____  I can conveniently buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards and children's magazines
                featuring people of my race
  15. _____  If a traffic cop pulls me over, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
  16. _____ I can go home from most meetings of the organizations I belong to feeling tied in rather than isolated,
                out of place, outnumbered, unheard, feared, or hated.
  17. _____  I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect
                that I got it because of race.
  18. _____  I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be
                mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  19. _____  I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  20. _____  If my week or year is going badly, I need not wonder if each negative episode or situation has
                racial overtones.
  21. _____  I can comfortably avoid, ignore or minimize the impact of racism on my life.
  22. _____  I can speak in public to a powerful group without putting my race on trial.
  23. _____  I can choose blemish cover bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

            _____  TOTAL


Related Discussion Questions:
Normalization of Whiteness/Race, Wealth and Class, Discrimination / Stereotyping

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