M&M Simulation

M&M Simulation of Power & Privilege

Activity One: Understanding Our Position & Privilege

Make a list of all the privileges you enjoy.  Include the privileges that you enjoy through your own efforts (for example, an educational scholarship that you have thanks to hard your hard work and good grades.)  Also include privileges you enjoy through no effort on your part.  Think, for example, about the privilege you enjoy by being born into a middle class family or the privilege you might have of having American citizenship.

  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Skin color, race, or ethnicity
  • Education level or opportunities
  • Social and or/financial support
  • Freedom of [or from] religion or of speech or freedom to travel
  • Socioeconomic Status

Add two posts to Today’s Meet.  1.  For a list of earned privileges 2. List of unearned privileges

Activity Two: Role Play

Reflect on your fieldsite and visualize a particular member of that subculture that you’ve found intriguing or disturbing.  Maybe it’s one who stands out or one who seems not to fit in.   Maybe it’s someone who is disruptive or unengaged…

For that individual, write down the following: gender, age, nationality, education, mental health, physical health, mobility, primary language, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, race  or ethnicity, access to technology, transportation, social or financial support, freedom of religion or speech, privacy, etc.

Simulation of Privilege

  1. Open packet of M&M’s
  2. As I call them out privileges, place one M&M on your clean sheet of paper for each privilege your individual possesses.
  3. Count the privileges your individual possesses.  Look around the room at others’ napkins and compare the M&M privileges of those around you.

Reflect on the Activity using the questions below and post to your blog:

Whose perspective did you assume?  What privileges did he or she enjoy?  Which did he or she not enjoy? How do these privileges convey power in our society?

How does it feel to have more M&Ms than your neighbors?  Less?  What emotions or behaviors may result from those feelings?

Compare this individual to yourself.  What privileges do you share?  Which don’t you share?  Where might you find common ground?  Where might your positions put you in conflict?  What is the power dynamic?  How can you bridge those gaps?


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