Ellen DeGeneres And James Corden Were Wowed By This Viral Video Explaining Privilege

"I'm so glad I saw this."

A viral video using a clever technique to demonstrate the concept of privilege caught the attention of two talk show hosts on Wednesday. Both Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden shared the video on Twitter, leading to tens of thousands of retweets.

The video comes from Adam Donyes, the founder and president of Link Year, a nine-month Christian program for students between high school and college. Donyes starts by addressing a line of young people, telling them they're about to race for a $100 bill.

But there's a catch. Instead of everyone starting from the same spot, Donyes tells the students that they should take two steps forward for each statement he makes that applies to them. If a statement doesn't apply to them, they should stay where they are.

"Take two steps forward if both of your parents are still married," he says to start. Other statements include having a father figure in the home, having access to a private education, never having to help parents pay bills, and never wondering where the next meal will come from. By the end of the exercise, some students end up several steps ahead of others.

"Every statement I've made has nothing to do with anything any of you have done. It has nothing to do with decisions you've made," Donyes says, pointing out that the people closer to the front have a "better opportunity" to win. "Whoever wins the hundred dollars, I think it would be extremely foolish of you not to utilize that and learn more about somebody else's story."

"I'm so glad I saw this," wrote DeGeneres on Twitter. Corden added that it was "the best thing I've watched in a long time," suggesting it as a helpful way "to understand privilege."

As some pointed out on Twitter, the activity depicted in the video is sometimes called a "privilege walk," and it's used to teach students, educators, social workers, and others about the advantages and opportunities available to certain people based on circumstances over which they have no control — including race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic status. It's important to acknowledge that these privileges exist in order to work toward change.

Buzzfeed shared their own version of the exercise in 2015, telling participants to take one step forward or back according to different statements. They included, "If the primary language spoken in your household growing up was not English, take one step back," and "If you can legally marry the person you love, regardless of where you live, take one step forward."

"I think when you can represent it so visually like this, and so immediately, it definitely takes on a new form," one participant said afterward.

Watch the full exercise from Adam Donyes in the video below:


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