The 'How Privileged Are You' Survey
By: Susan Naslund
I admit to being a sucker for those silly online personality quizzes. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what city you actually should be living in or what type of dog you are? Generally, the surveys are designed to be fun assessments of yourself without applying much deep meaning. I usually don’t even remember the results. It is just amusing to see how my friends’ outcomes compare to mine. Recently, though, I came across a questionnaire with much more serious implications.
I have not been able to get the “How Privileged Are You?” quiz out of my mind since I took it a few weeks ago. My score of 64/100 is an indication of just how many advantages I have had in my life – not the things I have earned, but attributes I possess merely because of how, where, and when I was born.
For instance, I was able to check statements on the survey such as “I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color,” “I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality,” and “I don’t have any physical disabilities.” Not only that, I have graduated from college (without debt because my parents paid my tuition, I might add) and even in times when money was tight, I have never been homeless or felt poor. Indeed, I am privileged beyond belief.
The more I thought about the survey, the more I found it to be a mechanism for self-reflection. It is because of this contemplation that I feel even more grateful for my life circumstances. Out of that gratitude I have been able to think of many ways I can help remove obstacles that may be keeping others from making their way in life. And, I wonder whether my privilege ever causes me to be a barrier to others with different life experiences than mine. I never want to get in the way of anyone’s opportunity to grow, learn, practice their faith, or earn a living because I have more intellectual abilities, cultural acceptance, affluence or influence (real or perceived). I feel empowered to help narrow the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” because when it gets right down to it, the only reason I am a “have” is because of some kind of luck, fate or kismet. Some may say I have been blessed.
Certainly in the Gospel of Luke we read, “From everyone to whom much is given, much will be required"(Luke 12:48) So, it is important to help others by sharing resources, not because of some socialist principal, but because of a holy mandate. When we recognize that we all don’t start out with the same attributes that make for a fulfilling life, I believe we recognize at the same time God’s compassion for our neighbors and the call to bring God’s kingdom to earth.
So, if you have never been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped, donate to El Nido, the shelter for women and their children who have been victims of domestic violence.
If you have never been ostracized from your religion because of your sexual orientation, join the Reconciling Fellowship at Foothills and share the news of God’s inclusive love for all.
If you have never gone to bed hungry, put some extra canned food in your grocery cart for the Good Neighbor Center.
I challenge you to take the “How Privileged Are You Survey” (https://movingupusa.com/calc/) and consider whether your results will compel you to come up with ways to serve others at the new Good Shepherd Ministry Center opening soon at El Cajon First UMC. Then share those ideas with the organizing team so they can be put into action and your blessings can be shared in that community!
By the way, I am a pug who should actually live in Portland, but those are the results of different surveys.