What Is Privilege?

In the lead-up to Australia’s national day, as an increasing number of us reflect on the deeper meaning of "Australia Day" and what it has come to represent, we set out to interrogate how societal privilege plays out in Australian society.

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The privilege walk illustrates visually how privilege – or lack of it – affects the way our life unfolds.

The cast members were chosen to represent Australia’s diverse population. They are Mariam Veiszadeh (who also co-produced the video), Joe Williams, Ivor Rigney, Brooke Silcox, Sarah Houbolt, Carmen Patrap, Eli Galligher, Jemima Skelley, and Rob Stott. Sarinah Masukor was the host.

Participants took a step forward or backward, or remained on the same spot, based on whether they related to the following 35 circumstances illustrating societal privilege and disadvantage:

1. If your parents ever had to work more than one job to support your family, take one step back.

2. If you have been discriminated against, or verbally or physically abused, because of your appearance, take a step back.

3. If the primary language spoken in your household is not English, take one step back.

4. If you have ever tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain acceptance, take one step back.

5. If you go on multiple holidays during the year, take one step forward.

6. If you ever felt embarrassed about your clothes or house while growing up, take one step back.

7. If people have blamed your mistakes on your gender/ethnicity, take one step back.

8. If you can legally marry the person you love, take one step forward.

9. If you or your parents have ever gone through a divorce, take one step back.

10. If you felt like you had adequate access to healthy food growing up, take one step forward.

11. If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward.

12. If you are reasonably sure you would be hired for a job based on your ability and qualifications, take one step forward.

13. If you have ever been the only person of your race/gender/sexual orientation in a classroom or workplace setting, take one step back.

14. If you had a job during your secondary or higher education, take one step back.

15. If you feel comfortable walking home alone at night, take one step forward.

16. If you have ever travelled outside of Australia, take one step forward.

17. If you have ever felt like there was not adequate or accurate representation of a group you identify with in the media, take one step back.

18. If you feel confident that your parents would be able to financially help/support you if you were going through hardship, take one step forward.

19. If you have ever been (cyber) bullied or made fun of based on something that you can’t change, take one step back.

20. If you’ve ever slept rough, or on a couch or in a car, for more than one day because you don’t have a room, apartment, or house to go to, take a step back.

21. If you can buy new clothes or go out to dinner whenever you want to, take one step forward.

22. If you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.

23. If one of your parents was ever involuntarily sacked or made redundant, take one step back.

24. If you were uncomfortable about a joke/statement you overheard relating to your race, gender, appearance, or sexual orientation and felt unsafe to confront the situation, take one step back.

25. If you feel nervous when going through airport security, take one step back.

26. If you’ve ever been excluded from a sport because of your gender, take one step back.

27. If you have access to tertiary education, take one step forward.

28. If you have been told that the way you dress is attracting unwanted judgment, take one step back.

29. If you’ve ever been looked down upon for a job that you do, take one step back.

30. If you own or have access to your own vehicle, take one step forward.

31. If you have been told your sexuality is just a phase, take one step back.

32. If you have an HECS debt or student loan, take one step back.

33. If you have lied about your ethnicity or religion to avoid conflict, take one step back.

34. If the following statement is true, take one step forward: I consider myself to be physically attractive.

35. If you attended a private school for part or all of your education, take one step forward.