A resident advisor (RA) at Marshall University in West Virginia has placed a poster in a freshman dorm that attacks heterosexual Christian students by defining them as “privileged.”
Senior RA Jessie Swiger hung her poster in Freshman North, a co-ed dorm. Campus Reform reported the story and presents screenshots of the poster, as well as Swiger’s Facebook post defending her poster and a tweet in which Swiger justifies, “It’s not shaming. It’s educating. Privilege exists as a result of racism, sexism, ablism, & classism engrained in society.”
The poster itself, which is handwritten, equates privilege as “not being asked ‘how does sex work for you?’” and “’flesh colored’ matches your skin tone.”
Examples of “privilege” Swiger provides on the poster are “white, male, Christian, cisgender, and heterosexual privilege that you’ve probably never realized or thought about.”
In a Facebook post, Swiger said, “I’m thankful to have been able to go through training and take classes that have helped me to understand and recognize privilege, what it is, and how it affects our brothers and sisters of the world.”
“As a person passionate about social justice, I feel this is an important starting topic that will influence other issues we face in society,” Swiger continues. “I know that I have privilege because as a white, middle class, heterosexual, cisgender, educated, Christian person I can post this and know that my point will be taken seriously and the only negative comments will come from other privileged people.”
Swiger said there is no need to feel ashamed of being a member of a “privilege group but instead should use it to recognize advantages that may have not previously crossed your mind that someone who is not in your group has to struggle or fight for more than you.”
Similar types of posters or bulletin boards were discovered by Campus Reform at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where one board told students to “Check Your Privilege” and shamed students who are white, male, Christian, able-bodied, heterosexual, or “cisgendered.”
The “Check Your Privilege” campaign was launched by three University of San Francisco professors—psychology professor Ja’Nina Walker and assistant professors Scott Murray and Sonja Poole—who define privilege as “unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.”
“If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian Privilege,” states a campaign flier.
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