The Privileges of Childhood

When browsing the blogs today, I came across this post about childhood privileges on a blog about the politics of access. I definitely recommend clicking on the link below and seeing what he has to say.

All the popular blogs are doing it.From: What Privileges Do You Have? – based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. (If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.) [Jose Vilson]

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children’s books by a parent.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 assuming that sport counts.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 assuming that sport counts.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.



  1. Wow, that’s a lot. I will say that I think it’s important to recognize that this survey is not the end-all-be-all, but simply an exercise and discussion piece. With that said, you have a lot of these highlighted.

  2. Thanks Jose! I’ve been thinking about this issue on and off ever since starting on my path to becoming a teacher (college) — when deciding what type of teacher I am and where I would best be able to teach. And each time I do, I think about what I’ve been given, and how I can give back in the most meaningful way.

    This exercise really brings home, in a very real and tangible way, what I was given and why I was able to get in the doors I was able to (college, grad school, my choice of careers).

    Lastly, of course, I think: wow, my parents are amazing. (They moved to this country from India and we started off in a tiny apartment in Chicago.)

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