Status and Privilege

Conversation Guide

We joke about “keeping up with the Joneses” — but there’s real competition in our society for status and the accompanying privilege. How do we decide what we most value that bestows this status? While our country seems to favor wealth, there are other forms of status and privilege. What privilege do each of us enjoy? And how does that correspond with our status? This conversation examines our own status and how we use our status in everyday life. From education to wealth to gender to race, let’s talk about what we have…and what we desire.

Background Information:

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

What are your biggest concerns about status and privilege?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What status do you enjoy? Education, wealth, gender, race, etc?
  • What are the privileges of your status?
  • What do you value and how is that connected to your status or privilege?
  • How does status, or lack of status, affect your sense of personal dignity? How have you noticed it impacting others?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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