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Exploring Levels of Christian Privilege Awareness among Preservice Teachers

Authors


Warren J. Blumenfeld, N128 Lagomarcino Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 [e-mail: wblumen@iastate.edu]

Abstract

Based on Peggy McIntosh's (1988) pioneering investigations of white and male privilege, we can, by analogy, understand Christian privilege as constituting a seemingly invisible, unearned, and largely unacknowledged array of benefits accorded to Christians, with which they often unconsciously walk through life as if effortlessly carrying a knapsack tossed over their shoulders. This system of benefits confers dominance on Christians while subordinating members of other faith communities as well as nonbelievers. These systemic inequities are pervasive throughout societies of many nations across the globe. They are encoded into the individuals’ consciousness and woven into the very fabric of their many social institutions, including schools, having enormous implications on all students. The current exploratory qualitative study investigates the relative level of awareness of Christian privilege among preservice teachers who self-define as “Christian” at a large Midwestern United States research university, and situates this awareness and level of resistance upon Watt's Privilege Identity Exploration (PIE) model (2007, 2009).

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