A privilege game

Here’s a “step forward/step back” game of privilege. I found it on tumblr.com.

Simply count how many forward steps you have and how many back steps you have, and that’s your result. What your result means, however, is another story. (More about it later)

(Refresh if image refuses do load).

Step forward, step back

My result is 10 steps forward, 8 back.

The first thing I have to note about this list is that it reeks of US (Western) privilege. Many of the stuff listed can’t apply to the rest of the world, and there ARE people in the rest of the world, thankyouverymuch. For example, the fact I didn’t go to a private school is a perfectly expectable in my country, since private schools/universities appeared only in the past decade or so, and they all suck a big time. Plus, education was (is?) free here. And that’s just one thing.

Another thing to note is, while this sort of lists are a good for discussing privilege, they should not be taken literally- for example, the fact I was never discriminated based on my gender doesn’t mean women, in general, are not discriminated. Also, the list can be taken as a source for the dangerous, yet, popular sport, called “oppression Olympics”, which is never a good thing.

My result in details

+ means it applies to me, – that it doesn’t. f is for step forward, b for step back.

1f. My family owned their own home. +
1b. They both graduated from university and my father was a PhD. –

2f. None in my family was a doctor or a lawyer, but we’re all professionals. +
2b. Home state… You mean country? I didn’t. +

3f. There were no people of colour or working class people working for my family. –
3b. I am not black, Latina, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Arab or Native American. –

4f. I did study history and culture of my ethnic group in school. +
4b. I was never denied a job or paid less because of my gender. –

5f. I’ve never written such a letter. –
5b. No incest, etc. –

6f. I am not a man. –
6b. I was raised by my mother. –

7f. I’ve never worked in a job with non-whites. –
7b. There was a problem of alcohol abuse in my family. +

8f. We had more than 50 books. +
8b. It did happen (for both personal and non-personal reasons) +

9f. They did tell me this. +
9b. No. –

10f. They did take me to galleries, museums, etc. +
10b. Yes. +

11f. No private schools. –
11b. I was taught that I police were someone to be feared. +

12f. I didn’t grow up thinking my family would pay for college because college was free. Plus, I had to work while in University. –
12b. No. (Though I didn’t understand why this is on the step back side). –

13f. I don’t believe police would help. –
13b. I was never hungry or worried as a child. –

14f. Yes. +
14b. No. –

15f. No. –
15b. Yes. +

16f. Since only white people live here, the answer is yes: all of my friends are white. If we forget about race and put “ethnicity” then no, most of my friends are not of the same ethnicity as I am. –
16b. No. –

17f. If we’re talking about race, then yes. +
17b. Eh… yes and no. I wasn’t sure what to put here: I never lived in a dangerous neighbourhood, but where I lived was hardly safe at times, so let’s put “+” here. +

18f. Let’s say yes- people on TV are of the same race as I am. +
18b. Yes, I was often hesitant to reveal my family’s religious beliefs. +

19f. They did take me to museums, etc. I thought there was another similar question. +
19b. I am heterosexual. -

11 thoughts on “A privilege game

  1. Natasha W


    I got:

    7 Steps Forward (1, 2, 8, 9, 11, 14, 19)

    4 Steps Back (3, 8, 10, 11)

    I have no idea what this means, however. :D

  2. Mira

    I have no idea what this means, however. :D

    Mi neither! Apparently, this game and similar ones are sometimes used when discussing privilege in class, etc. But what does the result really mean? They (back at Abagond’s tumblr, where I took the photo) didn’t explain.

    But the comments were… interesting to say the least. Most of the people were embarrassed with their results (with many forwards steps) so they started acting defensive.

  3. Natasha W

    Well, I always knew I wasn’t that privileged. ;)

    Oh, where are the comments? People always get up in arms about the idea of having privilege. It really makes no sense. Just acknowledge and keep it moving.

  4. zekjevets

    for a lot of these questions i’m not sure how to answer.

    for instance, on the “step forward” column: my family did own their own home, but not anymore. i did learn about my people’s culture/history while i was in school BUT not in the school i was attending. i had to go to a separate school to get that education — hebrew school, when i was preparing for my bar mitzvah. it seems this quiz is testing a certain segment of the *coughWHITECOUGH* population into recognizing their privilege. (never a bad thing.) however, i think the process is a little flawed.

    here are my results to the best of my answering ability considering the dual nature of my possible choices for each question.

    i got 15 steps forward, (1-12, 14, 19).

    number 18 was really difficult because superficially celebrities don’t look like me at all, since they’re wearing expensive clothes, make-up, tanned, etc., but as far as race goes they can be said to “look like you [me]”

    and i got 10 steps back, (1, 4-8, 10, 13, 17, 18).

    this column was more straightforward, although the sense of an american perspective came much more strongly too. i don’t think anyone outside of the US could really apply this list to themself for even a semi-accurate answer.

    however, this is an interesting. hopefully someone will build a newer (better?) one of these in the future.

  5. Natasha W

    Ha, I found them almost at the same time you posted that.

    How are people getting 16 and 17 steps forward? I feel so… underprivileged. :/

    It’s funny because I’d probably be considered “privileged” in general, despite being black because I grew up in a suburb, went to one of the best colleges in the U.S., and am of a decent “class”.

  6. Mira


    I hear you. The first thing I noticed about this list was that it’s completely US-centred, but it looks like it’s difficult for some US citizens to answer some of these questions.

    I think #1 is a step forward for your, because they owned the home while you were growing up (right?) and I think that’s what they were asking.

    But I don’t think #4 is a step forward for you- you didn’t learn about history and culture of your people in “regular” school. (I don’t think your school was “irregular”, but I think they meant “general” (whatever that actually means) schools). So I don’t think this question is a step forward for you.

  7. Iva

    I’ll reply to this one in English. :)

    Some of these things are shockingly racist, but here’s my brief response, I’ll send a real one as a trackback.

    Forward: 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 19 – 12

    Back: 5, 7, 8, – 3

    Alcoholism runs in one of the four branches of my family and has killed a couple of people, 8 is a quite usual thing when it comes to tomboys and 5…well, all is forgiven to the lost one and it wasn’t the abuse one sees in films, while the foreigners who abused me will never be forgiven.

  8. Iva

    I nisam znala ovo za neodlazak u inostranstvo pre osamnaeste. Stalno sam zamišljala da nije tako, ne shvatih da ti je ona ekskurzija bila prvi put. :( Ma, nadoknadi?emo to, bemimsvepospisku.

  9. Mira

    Mnogi odgovori nisu precizno formulisani, da bi mogli da seprimene na razlicite vrste privilegija (polnu, rasnu, hetero itd.) Ali nije moguce napraviti univerzalna pitanja za sve.

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