Teaching Grade 12’s About Privilege: an essay written in 1984 still resonates

 In Lessons and Ideas, Nina Silver, Resources, Secondary

Looking for a Secondary Lesson about ‘privilege’ as part of Black History Month?

This essay by Scott Russell Sanders written in 1984 and published in The Milkweed Chronicle still resonates todayIt’s entitled, The Men We Carry in Our Minds, and addresses the issues of race, poverty, and privilege.  

Ask your students to read the essay and then have them answer the following questions:

1) How does this essay address the issue of privilege?

2) In which way does the author of this essay feel that men like him have been misrepresented?

3) Can you provide some examples from current media texts that misrepresent men, or men of colour?

4) Discuss the meaning of the quote, ” The miseries I saw, as a boy, in the lives of nearly all men I continue to see in the lives of many- the body breaking toil, the tedium, the call to be tough, the humiliating powerlessness, the battle for a living and for territory.”

5) Provide examples of how the struggles mentioned above are still present for some men or possibly women today?

6) Based on ideas presented in the essay, how do you think racist and feminist issues are related?

7) What kinds of solutions can you suggest might be made possible by the media today to counteract the issues presented in this essay?

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