READ “THE TROUBLE WE’RE IN” ARTICLE (FROM THE BOOK POWER, PRIVILEGE, AND DIFFERENCE BY ALLAN JOHNSON) IN ITS ENTIRETY AND ANSWER EACH OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN YOUR OWN WORDS USING COMPLETE SENTENCES (2 SENTENCES PER QUESTION) ON A SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER.
PART 1: AN INTRODUCTION
1. What is the author, Allan Johnson, really saying in the first paragraph of this article? Do you agree with his point? Why/why not?
PART 2: DIFFERENCE IS NOT THE PROBLEM
2. In the last paragraph of page 16, Johnson writes that “There is nothing inherently. . . (over to page 17) isn’t something we’re born with.” What’s his point here? How do you feel about this?
PART 3: MAPPING DIFFERENCE: WHO ARE WE?
3. On page 19, paragraph 4, Johnson says that “the trouble around diversity. . . or harass.” What’s your reaction to the ideas he raises in this paragraph?
4. What do you think Johnson means when he says at the top of page 21, “Clearly, diversity isn’t just about the ‘variety’ that the word. . . but only in some other world.” What does he mean here?
PART 4: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF DIFFERENCE
5. On page 21, what does James Baldwin’s quote mean? Why do you think Johnson quotes him?
PART 5: WHAT IS PRIVILEGE?
6. How do you feel about Peggy McIntosh’s definition of privilege?
7. What points does Allan Johnson make about privilege on page 24, paragraph 3? What is your reaction to his argument?
8. What does Allan Johnson mean by the luxury of obliviousness? Why is this concept so important to grasp? How is this concept connected to Johnson’s concept that “to be white in America means not having to think about it”?
9. Why is the concept of “privilege” so hard to accept for dominant group members?
PART 6: TWO TYPES OF PRIVILEGE
10. According to Peggy McIntosh there are two types of privilege. Define each one and explain each using an example to show how they operate in society.
11. Give and explain two examples of milder and stronger forms of privilege.
12. One of the founding principles of this country is that the U.S. represents an equal opportunity meritocracy. Does the concept of privilege mean that the U.S. is not a meritocracy? Explain your answer.
PART 7: WHAT PRIVILEGE LOOKS LIKE IN EVERYDAY LIFE
13. Pick five examples of privilege that are listed between pages 27 through 33 and explain each.
14. If people are privileged, what are the four life experiences they need to examine according to Johnson on page 33? Try to explain each one.
15. What does Johnson mean when he says that “In the U.S., a person is considered a member of the lowest status group from which they have any heritage”?
PART 8: PRIVILEGE AS PARADOX
16. What does Johnson mean when he says that “Individuals are the ones who experience privilege or the lack of it, but individuals aren’t what is actually privileged”? Why is this important?
17. What are the two primary consequences of the paradox of privilege (last paragraph of page 35 and last paragraph of page 36)? What does each mean?
18. What is the corollary to being privileged without knowing it (bottom of page 37)? Explain this corollary. Why is it important to understand this?
19. Explain the meaning and important of the “paradox that privilege doesn’t necessarily make you happy.”
PART 9: OPPRESSION: THE FLIP SIDE OF PRIVILEGE
20. What point is the author trying to make when he tries to distinguish between pain and oppression?