SEL: Privilege Circle
This activity introduces youth to the concept of privilege. Participants will become aware of their privilege and how their privilege enhances or hinders their access to opportunities.
- Self-Awareness: identify their own personal, cultural, and linguistic assets
- Self-Management: identify diverse social norms, including unjust ones
- Relationship Skills: communicate effectively with their groups
- Discuss the definition of privilege: a right or advantage available only to a person or particular group of people
- Ask and discuss, "How do our word choices have power?"
- Reflect in writing: Write or draw about a time you used words to make a situation better.
- Give each person a sheet of paper (may be used). They ball it up and make a "snowball."
- Arrange participants in three circles around a single basket. The inner circle is about half a meter from the basket. The middle circle is about a meter behind the inner circle. The outer circle is about a meter behind the middle circle.
- Give this direction: "We are each going to throw our paper snowballs into the basket - one circle at a time. You should remain in your circle until I tell you it’s time to switch circles. Ask them what they think will happen.
- First the inner circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
- Then the middle circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
- The the outer circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
- Discuss what they noticed.
- Switch the circles around, so the inner circle youth are in the outer circle. Repeat steps 4-7.
Whole Group Discussion Questions
- What did you notice about your ability to get your snowball in the basket?
- Say, "When you were closer to the basket, you were more likely to get your snowball in. That’s how privilege works. Can anyone tell me what I mean by privilege?"
- How did this activity make you feel? What does it remind you of?
- What are some privileges that make some things in life easier? (skin color, gender, who you love, wealth, faith, where you were born, age, physical and mental traits)
- What did you learn about privilege from this activity?
Self Reflection Writing Prompts
- What privilege do you currently have? What privilege do you wish you had?
- How can we use our privilege to advocate for others?
- Ask participants to create their own Privilege Power Flower. Find directions online.
- Read the book Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor and use this guide to facilitate questions and activities.
- Read the book The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague and use this guide to facilitate questions and activities.