Our favorite queer daytime talk show host is using her platform to start an important conversation about race and privilege. Yesterday evening, Ellen Degeneres retweeted a powerful, real-life demonstration of what privilege looks like with a group of teenagers.
I'm so glad I saw this. https://t.co/VJXXEvd3tz
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 12, 2017
The video begins with a coach setting up a race between a group of teenagers for $100. As the teens line up at the starting point, the coach announces a twist. "Before I say go, I'm going to make a couple of statements. If those statements apply to you, I want you to take two steps forward. If those statements don't apply to you, I want you to stay where you're at."
He asks the following questions, and the kids begin to take their steps forward:
Take two steps forward if both of your parents are still married.
Take two steps forward if you grew up with a father figure in the home.
Take two steps forward if you had access to a private education.
Take two steps forward if you had access to a free tutor.
Take two steps forward if you've never had to worry about your cell phone being shut off.
Take two steps forward if you never had to help mom and dad with the bills.
Take two steps forward if it wasn't because of your athletic ability, you didn't have to pay for college.
Take two steps forward if you never had to worry about where your next meal comes from.
"I want you guys up at the front to turn around and look," the coach says to the kids who end up in the front of the line. "Every statement I've made has nothing to do with anything any of you have done. We all know these people up here have the better opportunity to win the $100. Does that mean these people back here can't race? No."
It's startling how many people of color remain at the back of the pack. "We would be foolish to not realize we've been given more opportunity," points out the coach. "We don't want to recognize we've been given a head start. The reality is we have."
If someone doesn't understand privilege, show them this . pic.twitter.com/tMM6MMXawL
— binghii (@TheRealNyha) October 9, 2017
The video currently has over 300,000 retweets and is starting a remarkably civil conversation about race and privilege.
But is it anyone’s fault? I know my husband has worked very hard to give my kids the best life. Does that mean we are wrong?
— Nitia Smith (@Nitia_Smith) October 12, 2017
No it does not but when you acknowledge it you show compassion to others is what my friends of color tell me to pass on
— Meechel Munger (@Aggie1994inWA) October 12, 2017
There's no fault involved. POC just want us to acknowledge our privilege and pay attention to inequality. Be an ally, support change.
— Naomi Orehek (@OrehekNaomi) October 12, 2017
I think this is heart breaking. But what should happen? Should the kids from good homes be punished? What’s your solution?
— Clelie Joy Scott (@jamnscott05) October 12, 2017
Absolutely not, it's meant to show that there's a long way to go regarding equality in this country.
— Hector Morales (@63huskers) October 12, 2017
2. I grew up like those kids left behind. They will never forget how they felt at that moment. This act is not very mindful.
— Mefaret Aktas (@MeFARet) October 12, 2017
I felt that in my heart, too. Saw the smiles on the privileged faces - many steps ahead. And the pain on the faces of those left at start.
— Mhysa (@Kimmyonthephone) October 12, 2017
How many steps forward would you have taken?