[COLUMN] Thinking Out Loud: Use privilege to promote equity


Submitted by Jenny Ries

Thinking Out Loud is a monthly column by Opinions Editor Jenny Ries.

Private school as an educational institution actively perpetuates societal inequities, particularly socioeconomic and racial inequities. They have historically ensured that privileged groups remain privileged, and widened the gap in access to opportunities for upward economic and social mobility, such as in access to higher education and high-paying careers. Resources are poured into private schools, even as public education in the same areas remains underfunded.
As students at a private school, we are part of a system built to maintain existing power structures. We are the beneficiaries of this inequitable system.
Yet many private school students and school communities are committed to advocating for societal equity. This raises the question, is it possible for someone to work to dismantle inequitable power structures, while not only benefiting from them, but also being part of a system built to maintain them?
In fact, it is vital that we take part in this work. Individuals with privilege and access to historically exclusive spaces have a responsibility to advocate for equity where they are, whether that means taking action to make those spaces more inclusive, or recognizing when inequity is so deeply ingrained in an institution that demolishing and rebuilding is the only option.

This story was originally published in the October 2020 Rubicon print edition.