What Good are These Social Experiments Doing?

Teachers demonstrate privilege in unique way

In honor of Black History month, many of the World History/Geography teachers, including Coaches Asburn and Camplain, have decided to conduct a series of social experiments amongst their students, trying to bring to light the hardships many students face; whether it be about how much privilege they were born with, the challenges they have faced, or how far they have come. One question many may have is how do these experiments help these students, and what are these two high school teachers trying to accomplish with these experiments? Are these experiments worth the time and effort? Will these experiments be something to remember years from now? According to the teachers, they are trying to show that one can either start out from nothing or everything, but it’s up to you to get to where you want to be.
On Monday February 8th, 2021, both coaches Ashburn and Camplain took their classes outside of the school building, and had them line up along the wall as Camplain stood in front of the unsuspecting students. He read out a sheet of paper saying that they have brought them outside for a race, the 100 Dollar Race. Of course, the students thought about a literal race for $100, so they got in ready positions, but were shocked when he proceeded to read from the paper.
“Take two steps forward if you grew up with a father figure in your home,” he said.
Most students took their two steps, some being left behind.
He proceeded asking questions, making students think about their life, as they either stayed in the same spot, or moved forward. The experiment left some stunned without any words; some students at the very front- demonstrating how much they have while some stood at the very end- demonstrating how little they have.
“Even though it is Black History month, this experiment was more about privilege, but it still had an important message behind it, and I hope it opened a couple of eyes,.” said one student who participated in the experiment.
“I wish we would’ve dug more into how this relates back to Black History month, but regardless, it was an interesting experience.”
This experiment goes to show how much a student truly struggles behind closed doors, and that we don’t all get the same head start as others; some stand ten feet in front of the line, others stand ten feet behind, while most stand directly on that line. Some may have felt prideful to be standing in the front, while others might have felt embarrassed to be standing where they were.
“I’m not really sure how to feel being the one all the way in the front; It’s always been that way for me.” a student said after the experiment.
They were all the way ahead of everyone else. I think it’s safe to say they are now aware of the privilege they have compared to others in her class.
“I couldn’t help but feel judged by others; it made me feel a bit uneasy, but seeing others, people I would never expect, in the same spot as me made me realize that we aren’t that different,” one student said after they participated in the 100 dollar race.
But, regardless of where the student may have been standing, they all realized the same thing; we all come from different backgrounds and all have different challenges, some students are still struggling from these obstacles. The main lesson was that no matter where you come from and no matter how far behind you are, you are the one who determines how far you get in life. It is all up to you what you are going to do to get to your goals; are you going to let these obstacles stop you, or will it be stepping stones to get to your goals?