Here’s a trick I use—which seems to work—in order to prime students to be predisposed to looking for rather than dismissing white privilege when I talk about race in my REL 101 course.
I introduce the topic by pointing out that scholars who study privilege almost universally find that those who have privilege are often the ones who have the most difficulty in seeing privilege, and then I ask students to speculate on why that might be the case. They usually give decent answers: for them it’s not “privilege” it’s just normal; they don’t have anything to contrast it with; etc.
By having this discussion about why people can’t see privilege at the outset, I think a number of the students unconsciously say to themselves: “I’m not going to be one of those suckers who don’t see it—I’m totally gonna look for it!”
My experience is that when I start the section of the course on race with this little discussion, the students turn out to be more open to what follows.