I scored a low number, which means that I do, in fact, live in a bubble of privilege.
It reminded me of a step forward/back exercise I've been subject to in groups talking about racism and privilege and such. You step forward if you're a minority, back if you took private lessons in something as a kid, and so on.
The weird thing about these "tests" is that because of the set up, you feel like you really want to be one stepping forward (or scoring a high number), even though most US folks spend much of their energy in fact trying to step back (or have their kids step back) or trying to live with privilege. (And one of the problems, especially with the structural racism in the US, is that most people of color won't get to a good level of what counts as privilege no matter how hard they work.) Trayvon Martin didn't live with the "privilege" of not being shot because he was wearing a hoodie and went to buy some candy. But that seriously shouldn't be privilege, should it?
(I've got nothing to add to the discussion of Trayvon Martin's death, except to be horrified.)
Anyway, according to the quiz, I'm in quite a bubble. And, yes, I think I am. The bubble being explored (or revealed) in the quiz is more a social/economic status bubble rather than a race bubble, and it exposes my social class privilege pretty clearly.
If you read the comments, there are a lot of commenters sounding very defensive about their results, and I understand that defensiveness. I had the same initial response, and then I thought about it and yes, realized that I'm pretty darned privileged and my behavior shows it. (The questions reflect mostly behavioral choices--did you go fishing, watch certain TV shows regularly, and so on--though some reflect choice less--did you live in a small town, and so on.)
It seems to me that what's important is to NOT make excuses for one's choices just because they correlate with social/economic status, but to think about how one's choices and experiences aren't those that most people in the US make or have, and then to step back and think hard about one's judgments about those choices.
Here's an example from the quiz. It asks if, in the last month, you've voluntarily hung out with people who smoke. I haven't. And really, I'm happy I haven't. It's way more healthy not to smoke, right? And I want to be healthy, and want my friends to be healthy, and so on.
But a lot of people do smoke, and it means something that I don't hang out with them. Here's what the quiz says about this question:
Rates of smoking have a strong socioeconomic gradient, but the wording of the question is designed to get at something else. Open smoking in the world of the new upper class has become so rare that it is nearly invisible. Cigars and pipes appear occasionally, but it is possible to go for weeks in the new-upper-class milieu without smelling a whiff of cigarette smoke anywhere except on a public street. Elsewhere in America, there are still lots of homes, bars, and work sites where smoking goes on openly, and nonsmokers in those settings accept it as a fact of life. The question asks to what extent you have any voluntary participation in that part of America.That's interesting, isn't it? I might wish that no one would smoke (for the health reasons, and also because we have a lot of land under agricultural production for tobacco that could be growing other stuff), but the survey is more looking at my ability to choose not to hang out with folks who are smoking. And that's a bubble ability.
Should I suddenly start hanging out with people who are smoking? I'm not going to. But I should certainly be aware that my ability to make that choice is something that a lot of US people don't have, and that's important.
To what extent are our choices freely made or not? To what extent are our "choices" determined (or strongly influenced) by our friends and family or social/economic status?