When we think about who we are as individuals, we can’t separate our unique life experiences from the larger societal context in which we exist, specifically as it relates to race, class, and other social group memberships. This module examines how oppression and social injustice play out in American society and its institutions, including philanthropies. It is designed to help participants explore how our own privilege(s) affect our experiences and relationships, especially in contrast to the experiences of other groups without privilege in the United States.
- Participants will understand what social justice and privilege are in the context of oppression in the United States.
- Participants will reflect on their own experiences around privilege and how racial privilege in particular has affected their lives so far.
- Participants will explore the dynamics of oppression and better understand the experience of other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
Reading & Resources
“Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
Excerpt from Community Tool Box: “Healing from the Effects of Internalized Oppression”
Watch NY Times video: “A Conversation About Race with White People“
Listen: “Opening the Question of Race to the Question of Belonging”
Watch videos on systemic racism by Race Forward.
- This module intersects with the topics explored in the Philanthropy 101 module (Module 1). After participants have a solid understanding of privilege and oppression, help participants make connections between Social Justice 101 and Philanthropy 101 modules to explore how privilege can position participants to act philanthropically and how their commitment to advancing social justice might introduce new questions about how they’ll practice philanthropy.
- We recommend assigning a pre-reading in advance of facilitating the exercises below. There are multiple resources listed above, but at minimum, participants should read “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh.
- This module is recommended for the beginning of participant’s journey.
- We’ve provided a variety of resources you can share based on the level of familiarity participants have with social justice concepts. The McIntosh article introduces the concept of privilege in an accessible way, while the Community Tool Box excerpt engages participants even further in how dynamics of privilege and internalized oppression unfold. The New York Times video and Race Forward podcast recommended in this module are excellent resources for participants interested in learning more and using multimedia resources as a way to hear these concepts delivered in a different way.
- For the first couple of modules, you may want to assign pre-readings and check in with participants to see what feels manageable to them. All of the readings included in this toolkit can be excerpted, and the exercises were designed for participants with various levels of depth depending on where your group is starting.