chapter  4
14 Pages

Teaching Social Justice Ally Development among Privileged Students

One of the sharpest tools that educators can use to make privilege visible to students from privileged groups comes from incorporating an intersectional approach to identity (Banks, Pliner, & Hopkins, this volume; Case, this volume). A major limitation of many current educational approaches aimed at students from privileged groups stems from a failure to consider the connections among different aspects of one’s identity in producing allyhood. Croteau, Talbot, Lance, and Evans (2002) found that people who experienced both privilege and oppression sometimes had diffi culty understanding the interplay between their multiple identities. As Banks et al. (this volume) and Case (this volume) argue, examining intersecting forms of privilege and oppression associated with different components of one’s own and others’ cultural identities supports efforts toward ally behavior. Many allies belong to multiple privileged and multiple minority groups, and an awareness of this intersectionality strengthens a person’s sense of a global community for social justice, improving overall allyhood (Rios & Stewart, this volume). Israel (2012) asserts that “a single individual may experience intersecting privileges and oppressions that may refl ect differential receipt of benefi ts. It’s not as simple as thinking that some of us have privilege and some of us do not” (p. 169). Holding minority status in one identity domain may provide motivation for a person to become a social justice ally in an identity domain in which the person holds majority status. On the other hand, it may be diffi cult at times for people to remain aware of their own privileges and remain fully committed allies when they feel triggered by aspects of their minority identities (Israel, 2012). Furthermore, the teaching of privilege must not strain the experiences of one identity, as it masks the richness of intersectionality and may lead to beliefs of mutual exclusivity among identities (Ferber & Herrera, this volume).