California State Fullerton hosted an event this week that invited students to construct a bracelet containing beads indicating their various forms of “privilege.”
According to a story from the school’s student newspaper, the bracelet initiative was an exercise designed to spark conversations about privilege and oppression between members of the community.
Students were asked to answer questions about themselves, and if an answer applied to them, they would add a bead to their bracelet.
Each station had different colored beads, including pinks, purples, blues and oranges, that represented a different aspect of identity like gender or race.
LGBT Queer Resource Center Program Director Chris Datiles said by having students make bracelets as a part of the workshop, it would spark conversations about privilege and oppression among their friends, family and across campus.
Student Mary Brown said that the event helped her peers acknowledges they had by the construction of the bracelet. “It’s interesting that you walk through life trying to survive, and you don’t realize why things are the way they are is because you have the privileges,” Brown said.
Brown then argued that her white privilege should not overshadow her other experiences. “Race can’t define me,” Brown she added. “It will always be a part of me but it’s not who I am completely. There’s more to the story; there’s more beads on the bracelet.”
The event, which was entitled “privilege beads,” was hosted by the public university’s LGBT Queer Resource Center. Some students argued that the bracelet workshop helped students talk about privileges that they might otherwise hesitate to talk about. Other students suggested that the event’s interactive nature allowed for better student engagement when compared with traditional classroom lectures. LGBT Queer Resource Center Program Director Chris Datiles argued that those hesitations melt away when conversations about privilege can happen in a non-judgmental environment.