How should schools address privilege in the classroom? Join the discussion #donowprivilege on Twitter and tag @youthradio in your response.
When you hear the word “privilege,” you might picture a super rich person wearing a tuxedo and eating caviar for breakfast. But it’s not just the “one percenters” who have privilege. Privilege is tied to your race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, immigration or health status, to name just a handful. You don’t necessarily have control over these factors, and yet they can influence the way people treat you and how you move through the world.
One of the most difficult things that comes up when talking about privilege is that it can seem invisible to those who possess it. But when you don’t have privilege, the rules are stacked against you, or at least made without taking your needs and realities into consideration.
Although there are many types of privilege, one phrase you may have heard a lot lately is “white privilege.” It wasn’t that long ago that outright racist U.S. laws were on the books that treated white people as a higher social class than people of color. Many of those laws no longer exist stereotypes, implicit and explicit biases, and structural inequalities remain. As then-KQED host Joshua Johnson described in the series So Well Spoken, “[White privilege] is the social perks many whites enjoy today through no fault or effort of their own, including insulation from subtle acts of racism.”
That’s not to say all [insert a type of privileged class] people have it easy. A 2014 study from Johns Hopkins found when looking at children who grew up in poor neighborhoods, hardly any individuals, white or black, successfully obtained a college degree. However, “even without the benefit of a college degree, “whites, and white men especially, had vastly better employment outcomes. At every age, the white men experienced shorter spells of unemployment, were more likely to be working full-time and earned more.”
There’s no doubt privilege is an important concept to discuss. But how should teachers teach or address privilege in the classroom?
Recently, Youth Radio reporter Sierra Fang-Horvath and her high school classmates participated in a survey calculating their privilege, answering questions, “Do bandaids match your skin color?” For Sierra, the answer was no. She was one of the few students of color in her predominantly white class.
“At the end of the quiz, my white classmates had racked up scores suggesting they have three times as much privilege as I do,” Sierra said. “Now, I no longer think of myself as Sierra. I’m brown Sierra.”
The sensitivity (and potential controversy) surrounding topics like race, class and privilege can make them difficult to teach in a classroom setting. Some teachers avoid talking about them altogether. However for students like Sierra, the risk is worth it.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge that privilege exists,” Sierra said. “We don’t have to become defensive, and we don’t have to feel guilty for it, but we do have to know when it’s there.”
Featured Resource AUDIO: Mixed Race Privilege?(Youth Radio/KQED)Photo: Brett Myers/Youth Radio https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.youthradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/07162355/YR_Sierra_MixedRace_KQED.mp3
As a mixed race teen, Sierra Fang-Horvath knew on some level she was different than her white classmates. But she didn’t realize how different until her class took a quiz about privilege. Once she recognized the kind of privilege she did — and didn’t — have, she started thinking about her identity in a whole new way.
AUDIO: Mixed, Passing For White (KQED/Youth Radio)
As part of KQED’s “So Well Spoken” Series, Youth Radio’s Maya Cueva reflects on her mixed race (but white passing) privilege: “Ever since I can remember, my mom has always searched for things that connect our Jewish and Latino identities. But out in the world, I often face identity policing. Because I pass as white, people ask if I’m actually a person of color or not. So I’m constantly having to prove my Peruvian heritage. Like having to tell my dad’s immigration story soon after I meet people. I call it ‘coming out as mixed.’”
AUDIO: Whispers of Racism (KQED/Youth Radio)
When Youth Radio reporter Isabella Ordaz and her family moved from a diverse but higher-crime neighborhood in Antioch, California to a more affluent, gang-free community in Danville, she felt like they had won “the Mexican immigrant lottery.” But the move also came with a new form of culture shock. As one of the only brown kids in her class, Isabella soon found herself missing the acceptance she had in her old neighborhood.
AUDIO: Feeling Like A Foreigner In Class (KCBS/Youth Radio)
Youth Radio’s Darelle Brown shares his perspective as one of the only black students in his college classes. “We have a lot of international students, but sometimes I feel like the one that’s foreign,” he says. “I’m a real outgoing person with my friends, but at school I’m anti-social. I’m afraid to talk to people because I don’t want to get stereotyped.’”
I came out as transgender at 14. And, until very recently, I’ve been terrified of not passing as male.
I believed that being totally stealth and assimilating into masculinity would allow me to lead a normal and happy life. Makeup usually made me feel uncomfortable. But the morning after Donald Trump won the election, I stared at the black war paint around my eyes and I felt strong, defiant and free.
I don’t care if my non-binary identity isn’t “normal” enough for people to easily understand. “Normal” in our society is misogyny and queerphobia; the election just made the more apparent than ever.
This year the Republican Party’s official platform took some of the most anti-LGBT positions in its history. Being stealth kept me safe. But now I want my queerness to be seen, or else discrimination will go unseen. And eyeliner is just the beginning.
March is Women’s History Month, and we’re looking at women’s rights and reproductive healthcare. Abortion continues to be one of the most highly debated issues of our time. President Trump’s administration has stated it hopes to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal across the country. On the Texas/Mexico border, in the Rio Grande Valley, there is only one abortion clinic in the entire 1800 square mile region.
In this week’s podcast, Maya Cueva travels to McAllen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, to learn about what this clinic means for the community and activists on both sides of the abortion debate.
Some teens tell their parents everything. Maybe they don’t care about their parent’s reaction. Somedon’t tell their parents things because they may feel that they are too old to run to their parents, or they just simply don’t care. I don’t tell my mom things because of her temper and her overreactions to things. Whatever the case may be, these stories go untold.
In the studio with me, I have Aayala, Ben, and Dakota who shared with me who shared with me some personal experiences they may or may not have told their parents. We definitely shared the experience of stealing and hiding that from our parents as kids. What parent wouldn’t be upset about that? But as some of us have gotten older, relationships changed.
Tavonne Larkin is 18 years old and goes to San Lorenzo High. She is a Core Journalism Peer teacher at Youth Radio. Tavonne really loves writing on her free time and she has the skill for it. She writes poetry about life and its struggling and she enjoys it. Tavonne graduates from high school this year and will be attending San Francisco State University in the fall to become a teacher.
Austin Lai is a freshmen currently attending Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, California. He have lived in Oakland all his life and has found a passion for biking in the Redwoods parks back in the hills. He has found a love for nature and hopes that everyone can enjoy it like he has and hopes that it can be shared with everyone. He has also found a place for himself at Youth Radio. He participates in Bridge and is part of the Multimedia track. You can usually find him doing something on Photoshop which he learned at Youth Radio.
Taijon Spain is an 10th grader at Kipp King Collegiate High School in San Lorenzo. He enjoys playing video games and hanging out with friends. Taijon found his love for photography when he first came to Youth Radio. When he first got the camera in his hands he took pictures of everything. Then in his multimedia class they showed him how to properly take photos and he started to take more professional photos. Taijon loves taking pictures of his friends and family members. He says “When he takes pictures he wants the viewers to feel like they are there.”
I am lucky to have a great grandma that’s alive. Before this I had never talked to her about important issues, so I decided to interview her and my mom to get their opinions on feminism.
Valencia White is in 9th grade and currently attends Summit K2 in Richmond, California. Her love for writing and journalism comes from listening to podcasts at young age. She enjoys writing about current events and topics that affect her or people around her. She wants to use her voice to raise awareness and educate others about issues important to her. She has two dogs, and enjoys listening to music and rock climbing in her free time.
It’s the last day of Chinese New Year celebrations. My extended family and I are crammed in the tiny restaurant in Fruitvale. My grandmother, Yun Yin Fang, the matriarch of the family, sits at the head of the table.
She is a small woman with permed black hair and bright eyes, and this is undeniably the most important holiday of the year for her. She’s in her element in this oasis of Chinese-ness – surrounded by grandkids, she’s sips tea and yells at waiters in Mandarin.
But she isn’t always this comfortable in the U.S. To my grandmother, being an immigrant means carrying a burden to prove herself.
Sierra Fang-Horvath is a junior at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California and has lived in Oakland for her entire life. She inherited her passion for writing and journalism from her aunt Bay Fang, a professional journalist who has traveled the world. Her key motive for writing remains to, very simply, share stories. Nowadays, too many people spend time engrossed in their own bubbles, rather than being interested and empathetic to the lives of others. That’s what Sierra seeks to achieve through journalism: to create empathy and understanding among the citizens of this world.
I am more comfortable wearing fake extensions and braids rather than my natural hair. I’ve never been comfortable wearing my natural hair and it’s just something I’m not used to doing. I started to wear braids when I was 5 and weaves in the 9th grade. I was 14 years old. I didn’t think anything of wearing braids at that age because It was in style and it looked cute on me.
Recently, I did the “Big Chop.” I cut off about 6-7 inches of my hair. I don’t regret doing it at all because my hair is 100% healthy and my curls are coming back healthier than ever. As a protective style, I make my own wigs and get braids from time to time.
Dakota Hayes an 18-year-old upcoming make-up artist who lives in Oakland, California. She graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 2016 and is now pursuing to become the best makeup artist out of Oakland. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, styling makeup, and hair. She hopes to do makeup for celebrities one day and to reach that dream she plans to create her own Instagram page and show people her work and get bookings.
I went out on the street around Youth Radio with a microphone to ask people about their childhood memories: what they’ve revisited, what they now know, and what they were embarrassed about.
Oliver Riskin-Kutz is a high school student working with Youth Radio in Oakland, California. He is currently growing interested in journalism as a career path because he loves to see new things, hear new stories, and learn about the world. You can find his work on his high school’s newspaper, the College Preparatory School Radar, and on the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center’s blog.
This musical composition is apart of Lit Mag: The Untold Issue
For my personal project I created an instrumental for Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again”. This piece represents an untold story because symbolizes the untold lives of minorities in America. In order to create this I used the computer software program Reason.
Jack Perry was born and raised in Oakland, California. He is currently attending Oakland Technical High School, and will graduate in 2017. Jack is 17 years old and his life has revolved around music. At age of 3, he taught himself how to play piano. When he was 10 he started playing drums and percussion in his middle school jazz band. There he managed The Pink Panthers, a jazz combo made up of talented musicians. Now, Jack plays with both Oakland Technical High School’s jazz band, and the Oakland Eastside All-Star Ensemble. Ultimately Jack hopes to employ all of his previous music experience to improve his community.
I feel like graffiti art isn’t really talked about too much amongst the artistic community. In Oakland, graffiti is very prevalent yet their stories are largely untold, mainly because of it’s illegality. Graffiti is a very interesting art form because it operates mysteriously behind the scenes and no one ever knows who the artist actually is. All we know is their name and their unique artistic style.
Rico Washington was born and raised in Oakland, California. He graduated from Encinal HS, June 2016. Rico has been working at Youth Radio for 2 years now, learning and teaching music production. He got into graffiti art in elementary after being introduced to it by an after-school program helper. His art expresses his life; his efforts to remain positive, take big steps and grow in mind and body. What makes his art unique is the fact that he knows how to use his own mind and be one with himself; not letting others seriously influence him or alter his thinking in a negative way.
What you are listening to is a collection of beats that I feel represent the Bay Area hip-hop scene. I wanted to do this because I was born and raised in the bay area and hip-hop is my favorite genre of music to listen to. I feel like the Bay Area music scene to the rest of the world is its own isolated scene that not many people from different areas may know about. Here is my contribution to the world, in hopes that more people from around the world are interested in listening to more music with that “Bay” sound.
Jessica Brown AKA Money Maka, is currently a Bridge music peer teacher, and music producer at Youth Radio. Jessica was raised in Oakland for most of her childhood then later moved to Richmond. She has been featured in the well known arts magazine “The Fader” for being a Bay Area music producer. Jessica is now a part of a growing Bay Area group named “MGP” (Most Gifted Playaz) and plans on being a well known Hip-Hop and R&B music producer in the near future.
This musical composition was created using the software program Reason. I created this by sampling a song from Maya Jane Coles. I want to put out a reinterpretation of a style of music that I feel a lot of my peers haven’t yet heard. I hope to inspire people to write and make music because I feel that everyone needs to be heard, and music is a great way to get your story out to the world.
Janai Renee ( J’Renee) was born in Berkeley, California but raised in Richmond. She currently attends Envision Academy Of Arts and Technology. J’Renee creates music. The biggest motivation to her beat making is what she is exposed to and her emotions towards those things. J’Renee is mostly influenced by underground rappers in the Bay Area. Some people she looks up to artistically are Kehlani and Likybo. Her favorite music genre is hip hop because she feels like she can relate to it. J’Renee is a powerful, talented and creative person. What she wants people to understand from her music is that it does not matter where you come from you can still be successful.
What you are listening to is a beat I composed by using a production technique known as sampling. This beat reminds me of a person hanging out on a breezy but sunny day. The weather already showing an ominous feeling that demonstrates mystery and skepticism. It consists of a beginning that soothes the mind with its relaxing tempo. My beat uses an instrument in the software program Reason that’s called Classic House Groove. I used this instrument to play a C major scale, which gives off the tone that says, “something else is going to happen that we don’t know”. It also uses the another instrument that slowly mesmerizes the mind because of the synths it uses. Basically, you are in your most tranquil mode.
I feel this beat relates to our theme because the concept of untold means it is in the area of the unknown and the mysterious effective surroundings it has created more mystery, similar to the meaning behind my beat. Being untold also means living in the silence and on your own. Sometimes, this can demonstrate negativity, but in this case, it means independence and strength while also having skepticism on the abnormal.
Lim Sung was born in Cambodia. She moved to America at the age of 4. Lim has moved around so many times that the scenery and environment she sees always changes. In a way, it helped her adapt easier since she got used to inconsistency. When she hit 5th grade, her life became much more artistic because she saw a whole different point of view from herself and from others. This caused her to have such a profound love for music and art. Lim believes her art expresses what she sees of something. Her art is what she hears, touches, smells and tastes. In other words, Lim believes that art is all around her. Her art is unique because it is her own. She uses art to express what the emotion inside her is. Lim uses art for the happiness of others. The motivation that encourages her to create art is wanting to see the smile others make and hear their laughs. Seeing others cheer up because of her art puts a smile on her face because it means she has made somewhat of a difference in someone’s life. When Lim creates art, she just uses the senses and emotions because to her that is real art; art that comes from the heart.
What you are listening to is a musical composition I produced in the program Reason 9. This is a remix of Leave Your Things Behind II, originally written and produced by the underground rap duo known as the $uicideboy$. I found the duo’s lyrical style to be completely different from traditional hip hop music. There are many forms of rap in hip hop culture, however, the newest wave I find myself exploring is the underground internet scene. A common term that gets thrown around is ‘Soundcloud rap’. Soundcloud has given many big names in rap the game their start and has had a huge influence on the music industry in recent years. It seems that because of the internet and the platforms that come with it, more and more people are putting their stories out there for us all to hear trying to gain exposure, thus making it a perfect fit in our theme.
Jacob Armenta, 17 years old, was born in Walnut Creek, California and moved around a lot as a kid. When he was 5 years old, he moved to Texas with his mother for a short year but the two eventually came back to California in 2007. He currently lives with his father in a small apartment in Oakland. His interest include photography, making music, skateboarding, and drawing. He is currently a senior at Oakland Technical High School. He hopes to graduate from the Bridge Music program at Youth Radio and to become an intern. Jacob also hopes to attend Laney Community College in the near future to gain more experience in photography, audio production and graphic design.
What you are looking at is an artistic representation of me and my home country. I chose to do this because it represents who I am and where I come from. What I have noticed from being a part of American culture is that people seem to classify Africa as a country when really it’s a whole continent with 34 different countries. I’m Rwandan and I feel like my story and the story of my people is largely untold. I used Photoshop to combine a photo of the Rwandan flag with my portrait in the background.
Mariam Nyirasafari grew up in Rwanda, a country located in East Africa, rich with history and culture. She is currently 19 years old and has been living in the United States for 3 years now. Because of her unique background, she speaks more than 3 languages fluently. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, dancing and solving math problems. She also loves creating art because it is the only way she can make the world pay attention to her and to what she does. Being creative makes her happy and is the only thing that helps her forget her problems. She currently attends Oakland International High School and hopes to have a career in the broadcast field.
Smoke and Mirrors is a beat created by Robert Fisher for his contribute to the Lit Mag. He used a program titled reason to beat the content he produced and has been using it since he was core. Containing different varieties of instruments for your enjoyment. He’s hoping he can evoke emotion out of this piece of music because you are supposed to feel emotional. While creating his piece he was letting the out heartbreaking emotion he never shows. This contributes to the magazine perfectly because there are a lot of songs about break-ups, but the beat is about false love or hope. With the inspiration being based on past relationships he hopes the audience can enjoy.
Robert Fisher lives in San Lorenzo, California. For his personal project, he created a beat titled Smoke and Mirrors based off of past relationships he has had. The beat he made has a series of instruments with piano being the star of the piece. The story behind his project is someone who you think loves you but really doesn’t. He hopes with this beat he can connect with his audience and they can relate.
San Leandro High, home of The Pirates, has three distinct academies. An academy for business, arts, and social justice. The social justice academy, SJA for short, is predominantly young people of color. During the past
During the past November election, SJA seniors, along with some juniors sand sophomores, have been advocating for knowing your vote and allocating money to public schools, along with many other political events. Because they are so involved with political issues I wondered how they felt about being immersed in them though they are too young to vote themselves.
Zahra Muchell is in the 10th grade at San Leandro High. She enjoys listening to music and watching movies. Zahra found her love for writing about two years ago when her mom gave her a journal. At first, she didn’t know what to write but one day she just started to write about her day and what she had learned in class. Then those stories became more detailed, and she started writing small poems until her love for writing grew. Zahra enjoys writing about current or past events that still affect our community. She says ‘’when I am writing; I want readers to feel the same emotions that I am feeling.’’
My parents were born in Burma. They grew up in a place called Karen State. Karen State is a beautiful place. We lived in a forest and in a village. In Karen State you can live free and wild. You can have good a time living in the forest. You can just go hunt animals without permission because it is your place. When you need food to eat you can go hunt. We have a lot of river water that you can just jump into and catch fish or frogs. The country was very calm and nice. Before we lived peacefully as a happy family but now we are running for our lives.
The problem is that my country is too beautiful a place. We have a lot of resources that the Burmese government wants for us. “Burma has been in a state of constant civil war since independence in 1948. Powerful elements within the Burman ethnic group, which is about 60 percent of the population” feels that they should control the country’s culture, land, and money. The fighting got really bad in 1995 leading to generations of families fleeing Burma. My family ran away in 2002 because of the war that took place and we wanted to find a better place to live.
We didn’t have healthcare, we didn’t have education systems and life was really hard. I was a victim stuck in the room that has no door. After six years the opportunity came for us to fill out immigration papers. That is when everything changed. New place, new world, and new life. I thank God that brought me here.
We took five airplanes to get to the United States and it was hard because we didn’t know anything about the U.S. We were tired after getting here. I was so surprised because when I looked around everything was shining and so beautiful and now I love living here. My dad works really hard to support our family because he is the only one who works and he doesn’t have time to go school, but my mom is going to school to learn English. And I think she tries really hard to be successful so she can earn an education and one day she will have a better job than my dad.
I have no more nightmares and no more tears. My life transformed from the worst to the best. I Started my new life in Oakland, California with no friends and no money. I got my butt kicked on the first day of school. Not thinking I would succeed, students laughed at me like I was a comedian when I tried to say something they don’t understand. My mom used to tell me, you always have to be humble. No matter who you are, no matter where you go. After working really hard. I’m a rock star, and I’m receiving an award. I’m thankful. I feel big and successful.
I want to tell this story because refugee people live a different life and have different struggles. Life can take you anywhere but you have to believe that everything will be the best for you. There will be no rainbow without rain. My family is poor but we don’t worry about how poor we are because we’re blessed and we can make it through each day. Thank you, mom and dad, for never giving up.
Klee Htoo lives in Oakland California. Before that, he lived in Burma. He is a senior at Oakland International High School. He wants to become a software engineer. He wants to see his dreams come true and plans to work really hard to achieve this goal.