Need To Check Your Privilege? Harvard Has A Class For That
Two weeks later, we're still talking about Princeton student Tal Fortgang and his op-ed describing his frustration at repeatedly being told to "check his privilege." Now, establishment is getting involved. If you want to go to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, then you'd better get ready to check your privilege, because there's a Harvard class for that. Responding to a growing demand from student activists, on Friday administrators at the prestigious school announced that they would be adding a class on power and privilege to their freshman orientation program.
First year public policy masters student Reetu Mody started a group called HKS Speaks Out after she realized her courses examining policy issues seemed to leave race out of the equation. A recent petition calling on the administration to offer mandatory training on privilege and power during orientation gained more than 300 signatures, around a quarter of the school's student body.
“We’re at one of the most powerful institutions in the world, yet we never critically examine power and privilege and what it means to have access to this power,” Mody told New York Magazine . “We’re excited to have the administration on board for training all Harvard Kennedy School first years.”
Fortgang royally pissed off the majority of Internet users with his article "Why I'll Never Apologize for My Male Privilege" which, amazingly, made the leap from college newspaper (The Princeton Daily) to a media giant (TIME Magazine).
It's not exactly like racism, Fortgang writes, but it kind of is. And what's more, his ancestors were persecuted too, so there.
Taking the admirably higher ground, Mody told New York Magazine that she actually just feels sorry for Fortgang and other students who identify with him.
It's a real shame this course doesn't exist at Princeton so that Fortgang himself could benefit. But with any luck, other institutions will take note.