For the third year in a row, the Privilege Campaign has delivered an installation of student and administrators portraits which bring to light the intrinsic and environmental advantages of their subjects. The faces, viewed straight on, unabashedly wear the words of privilege otherwise read into their identity. “I am an able bodied upper-middle class, cisgender, heterosexual male. With these combined identities my privilege is exponentially greater than any one of them alone,” Anish Kanoria’s ’18 right cheekbone reads. On panels next to each portrait, the subjects share their thoughts on dominant privileges and reflections associated with not having access to privilege. Yesterday, the gallery had its opening reception on the second floor of the college center.
Antony Manokhin ’18: “I was raised and live in an affluent town. My privileges in that setting are intensely apparent. I’m white, able bodied, and a man in a community run by people who are like me. People unlike me are treated differently and unfairly. However, I am a child of an immigrant, live in a single parent household, and my family and I are of lower socioeconomic status compared to my peers and neighbors. These facts do not give me privilege.”
Kim Culligan: “I am perceived to be educated, speak English, employed and nonthreatening because I am white. I will be more likely to get a job, advance to higher levels of responsibility and perceived as more competent since I am white. I have never been unemployed and am happy to be working at Vassar College in my terminal job. I plan to retire within the next few years after spending 29 years in collegiate athletics.”
Frank Najarro ’18: “I have privilege.
I often talk about the identities that make me less privileged, but this session helped me to understand and own the privilege that I do have. That is not to say that it makes the struggle of being less privileged any easier. It is to recognize the privilege that I do have, own up to it, and continue the struggle for a more equal society and world community.”
Ashley Hoyle ’18: “As a white person, I have been afforded unearned benefits to my education, social status, and professional development. I am never asked to be a spokesperson for my race and have never been considered an exception when I perform at a high level. I have never been made to feel unwelcome because of irrational, systemically ingrained fear within the dominant culture. As a queer-identifying individual I cannot make choices without them being conflated by my sexual orientation.”