Power, privilege & bystander intervention

Power and privilege are two essential and foundational concepts for any conversation about social justice as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Gaining a better understanding and knowledge of these key concepts will answer some initial questions you may have, and help you engage more meaningfully with other educational opportunities offered at UBC.

As one of the first steps on your EDI learning journey, we invite you to read through the following resources to familiarize yourself with the concepts of power and privilege.

Reading up on active witnessing and bystander intervention is another way to start thinking about social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and how these concepts manifest in our everyday lives. For an introduction to Active Witnessing and Bystander Intervention and tools to help you intervene, we recommend: The 5Ds of Bystander Intervention (Right To Be).
If you want to explore these concepts more deeply, you may want to look at this Toolkit for Interrupting Oppression (Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence).

After reading:

If your department or unit is interested in exploring these issues, we encourage you to share some of these resources with your manager and colleagues so they can also familiarize themselves with these concepts. You could consider holding a discussion within your unit in order to help identify some of the key questions or topics that your unit is considering.

  • What emotions emerged from reading these resources? How are these emotional reactions informed by your social location (your identities, your experiences, etc.) or what you were taught by media, education, family, and peers throughout your life?
  • Think about power dynamics in your work environment (e.g., in department or team meetings, project teams, classrooms).
    • Are certain identities and voices more normalized or valued than others in these settings?
    • How do your identities shape your interactions with others (e.g., with your colleagues, peers, students, etc.)? How might that consciously or unconsciously privilege or marginalize people with certain identities?
    • What are some of the bystander intervention strategies that you have used, have seen your colleagues/peers practicing, or could try in the future?
  • As a collective, what can your unit do to create a more inclusive and equitable environment for all? What is your role in it?

If you have a specific request or need additional support from the Equity & Inclusion Office, you can submit a request with this form.