RE: SOCW6051 Discussion Question Response to 2 students

Respond to at least two colleagues by selecting one of their examples to review further. Research and report on a situation in which that group experienced treatment on the other end of the spectrum of oppression or privilege, either in the present day or during an earlier historical period.

Response to Adrienne

Connections between Privilege and Religion

One would like to think that there is no connection between privilege and religion, but let’s be honest in the world we live in it’s the majority whether it be race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion that often gets the upper hand and by upper hand I mean privileges. There are advantages given to and favor shown to individuals based on their religion and there are people that are discriminated against if they do not adhere to the norms of a certain religion. That is a clear connection between privilege and religion. The government realized they shouldn’t endorse a particular belief system, but this didn’t stop people from some particular religious groups from looking down on others and criticizing their practices (Lippy, 2013). Another thing is that it—the government—still found a way to make sure the minority wasn’t over powering the majority and still to this day we are made aware that certain religions won’t be tolerated (Lippy, 2013). The connections between privilege and religion may not be as obvious as the connections between privilege and race, but understanding that religion has a way of keeping certain individuals in a powerless position is important to social work practice. It is important to understand that while in the U.S. we have freedom to religion that freedom doesn’t stop oppression for those that go against the “norm” (Joshi, 2013).

An Example of Religious Privilege

With 2.22 billion followers, Christianity is the largest religion in the world (Illsley, 2016). With its large following, “Christian groups have the power to define normalcy” (Joshi, 2013). One of the most obvious instances in which members of a religion experience privilege is the recognition of holidays. I know at my job I get holidays such as Christmas—a Christian holiday—off with pay. I don’t know of any other holidays associated with religion that we get off with pay. Also, in school we only recognized the Christian holidays. Take a look at this link , this is the school schedule for the University of Washington and it is even broken down by the holidays and their religious affiliation, look at what holidays are recognized—you’ll now because they have them in bold—religious privilege.

An Example of Religious Oppression

After 9/11 I will be the first to admit that I started looking at other religious groups with a side-eye, particularly Muslims. I would like to say I was afraid and was very cautious when I saw someone in garments that I knew were associated with the Muslim culture, but in all honesty I was showing signs of discrimination. Before 9/11 I really didn’t think anything of individuals that practiced their own religious beliefs, to each his own, but after it I wanted them to be searched more, I wanted them to have to remove head garments and all the extra clothing, I know now that, that is nothing but another form of oppression. I know nothing more about Muslims than what the media portrayed and that was ignorant. I think the media has contributed to the racial oppression faced by Muslims and those alike.


Illsley, C. (2016, March 21). Largest Religions In The World. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from

Joshi, K. (2013). Religious Oppression of Indian Americans in the Contemporary United States. In Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (3rd ed., pp. 250-254). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Lippy, C. (2013). Religion in American Life. In Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (3rd ed., pp. 237-242). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Response to Jeanie

The connections between privilege and religion seems to go back to when the colonists came to the United States from England (Adams, Blumenfeld, Castaneda, Hackman, Peters, & Zuniga, 2013). Privilege started when White Christians did not want to share their religion with the slaves present in the United States (Adams, et al., 2013). The Protestants and the denominations that fell under the Protestant religion, exercised influence in business, as well as in political affairs, prior to the separation of church and state (Adams, et al., 2013).

Members of a religion experience privilege in situations such as colleges or schools. Schools often push the normalcy of Christian privilege , focusing on holidays, traditions, and European-heritage (Adams, et al., 2013). The calendars in schools seem to focus on the Christian faith, without considering other religions and the days they view as important (Adams, et al., 2017).

Members of a religion experience oppression in the schools as discussed above, but also in other areas. The American Indians faced persecution, as did other religions, due to the history of not tolerating other religions (Adams, et al., 2013). Not only is this an issue with religious oppression, but many times this includes race or ethnic background (Adams, et al., 2013). This oppression created a normalcy associated with whiteness and Christianity (Adams et a., 2013).


Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga. (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.