The terms “power” and “privilege” are frequently heard in today’s social and political discourse, but what do these terms actually mean in the context of one’s social identity? Having power and privilege means that you have benefited from unearned advantages as a result of being a member of a particular dominant group in society. Each person has many social identities, some that may be part of dominant groups and others that may be part of non-dominant groups. Non-dominant groups are more likely to experience discrimination, disenfranchisement, and oppression.
One of the most important goals of developing cultural humility is to address power imbalances. In order to do so, you must first be aware of the power and privilege in your own life. Gaining this awareness is no easy task. When you acknowledge that you have power and privilege, you might feel defensive or experience anxiety, guilt, or disorientation about your sense of self. On the other hand, when you are reminded that you are a member of a non-dominant group, you may experience anger, sadness, or grief. Keep in mind that it is normal to experience these feelings and that acknowledging your own power and privilege (or lack thereof) is an important step in addressing social justice issues.
For this Journal, you will complete the Power Flower exercise, which will help you determine the degree to which your social identities afford you power and privilege. You will also consider how your level of power and privilege affects your perceptions, experiences, and decision-making processes.
Submit a 2- to 3-page journal entry, along with your completed Power Flower diagram, that addresses the following:
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