Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Examples of Upper Class Privilege

Social Class Privilege Checklist

This list is based on Peggy McIntosh’s article on white privilege. These dynamics are but a few examples of the privilege which people from upper social classes have.
On a daily basis as an upper social class person…

1. I don’t need to worry about learning the social customs of others.
2. The ‘better people’ are in my social group.
3. It is likely that my career and financial success will be attributed to my hard work.
4. People appear to pay attention to my social class.
5. When I am shopping, people usually call me “Sir” or “Ma’am”.
6. When making a purchase with a check or credit card, my appearance doesn’t create problems.
7. When I, or my children, are taught about history, people from my social class are represented in the books.
8. I can easily speak with my attorney or physician.
9. There are neighborhoods I can move to where I feel ‘at home’.
10. There are places where I can be among those exclusively from my social class.
11. I can deny Social Class Privilege by asserting that all social classes are essentially the same.
12. Experts appearing on mass media are from my social class.
13. There are stores that market especially to people from my social class.
14. I can protect myself and my children from people who may not like us based on my social class.
15. Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person once they see me and hear me.
16. Disclosure of my work and education may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”
17. I can easily speak to my child’s college professors.
18. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my social class.
19. I can be sure that my social class will be an advantage when seeking medical or legal help.
20. If I wish to my children to private schools, I have a variety of options.
21. I can find colleges that have many people from my social class as students and that welcome me or my child.
22. If I apply for a prestige job competing with people of a lower class, my social class will be to my advantage.
23. The decision to hire me will be related to my background and where I went to school.
24. When I watch TV or read the papers I can see people of my own class represented well.
25. The “Newsmakers” are like me.
26. I deserve my status because of my accomplishments.
27. If I get offered a job over someone with more experience, it is because I deserve it.
28. My elected representatives share a similar background with mine.
29. Chances the person in charge in any organization is like me or is sympathetic to my status.
30. My child is never ignored in school, and if there are problems, I am called by the teacher or principal.
31. People are usually careful with their language and grammar around me.


  1. I recently started dating an African American male, and it is interesting to me how relavant these points are to the issues he struggles in everyday life.
    He is a sweet, smart, and honest man, yet I often find him struggling with things that are "every day" to me.
    Just the other day I sent him to the store, and handed him my credit card. Even though I promised him they wouldn't question it, that they have never looked twice at the name on mine before, he got really uncomfortable and refused to use it.
    He also had told me stories of how he feels he needs to be careful getting pulled over, for he is a "young black male" driving at night. This is extra pathetic, for these night drives are typically when he is coming home from work.
    I have often heard that white is the "default" race, and have just recently fully understood it.

  2. Yes, I think this class will also help you think about your relationship as we will cover many of these topics. One of the videos for Thurs. is about driving while Black...