Last semester, our history class trooped out of the classroom into a nearby courtyard for a class activity on privilege. You know, the one that goes, “If you have immediate family members who are doctors, lawyers, or similar professionals, take a step forward. If you had over forty books in your home when you were a child, take a step forward.” I advanced steadily, my discomfort growing with each step. I was so happy when the last question was about public transportation. A bus rider in Los Angeles, I hopped back as far as I could.
I knew that my education and my family’s socioeconomic background afforded me a certain amount of privilege, but thought these were balanced by my being a darker-skinned Filipina immigrant. But that day in the courtyard, I was struck at how physically distant I was from many of my fellow students, some of whom had burrowed into the bordering lush, green hedges.