Dorothy’s Privilege Walk

Dorothy Nguyen

Major: Human Bio and Society

Hometown: Bay Area

Committee: Campaigns

“I love to go on food adventures and I’m always looking for new restaurants to go to and recipes to try making.”

My Privilege Walk

This past week is the second time that I have done a privilege walk with GlobeMed and both times, this activity has stood out to me amongst other ghUs because it has forced me to think about myself in the context of others. Growing up, I have never felt disadvantaged and as a result, I expected to be at least in the middle of my peers at the end of this walk. However as the walk concluded and I looked up at everyone, I had somehow migrated towards the back of the group. At first I was shocked because I had never seen myself as very unprivileged. Although my family is not the best off, my parents have always given me as much as they could and the diversity of the city I grew up in has shielded me from any discrimination I may have faced due to my race or economic class. Upon reflection however, this walk has made me realize how much my upbringing has impacted my understanding of privilege. In addition, it has made me much more cognizant to the many different types of privilege that exist and the multitude of ways that it can be experienced.

To me, privilege has always meant having more than enough – especially in terms of wealth and capital. Therefore when I think about the idea of privilege, I think of the capability to buy things that I want and don’t need. However, this activity has made me realize that so much of privilege is intangible. For instance, when asked to take a step back if my ancestors were forced to come here, I was taken off guard because although my parents were forced to leave their home due to political violence during the Vietnam War, they have been able to find success here in America. Consequently, I have never had to feel disadvantaged as a result, I have never viewed their forced immigration as something negative. I have always felt humbled and grateful when thinking about the struggles my parents had to go through to get me to the place I am today, but this activity has helped me to gain a new appreciation for the status I was born into here in America.

Although I may not have as much tangible privilege as some of my peers, this walk and the following discussion has helped me to think about the privileges I have that can’t be seen. In addition, it has prompted me to check my privilege and be mindful of struggles that others may face. This walk has definitely been one of the most powerful activities that I have experienced in GlobeMed and over the past two years, it has helped to shape my perspective and understanding of my place in the world.

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