Role Privilege Play in Literacy Education

Privilege and its Influence on Literacy Education

Every society in the world incorporates some aspect of privileges being given to a particular group of people. The presence of privilege in the society has considerably influenced the understanding of literacy education. The quality of literacy education which college students receive from schools is determined privilege being provided to a specific group in the society. These privileges are determined by using race, gender, class, age, and position of an individual in the society. Therefore, it is necessary to country that the quality of literacy education is influenced and determined by using the presence of privilege in the society.

Impact of Privilege on Curriculum and Standardized Testing

The content which students are taught and examined in schools are a construct of particular privileges. A student cannot be taught and examined what they want to know because there is a set curriculum which is supposed to adhere. These curricula are usually created to protect the interest and privileges of specific people in the society. According to Bernstein, standardized testing used to determine the basic skills of students are a privilege to white people who use English as their native language. The use of this standardized testing is detrimental to students who do not speak English as their first language such as students of color (Bernstein, 2004). Therefore, the white's privilege determines the basic skills for a student hence influencing literacy education.

Oppressor's Privilege in Teaching Process

Moreover, the examination of the teaching process in schools shows that teachers assume that the student's brains are empty hence they fill them with what they believe is necessary and knowledgeable. The privilege given to the oppressor in power in the society determines what should be taught in schools. Education is a tool that can be used by the oppressed to seek liberation. With this in mind, the oppressor limits the access to knowledge by providing students with the knowledge that they believe is necessary (Freire, 1970). Students, in this case, are not educated but filled with information which they have to memorize so that they can achieve high scores in the standardized test that are used to evaluate the learning process (Bernstein, 2004). Therefore, oppressor's privilege limits knowledge hence influence literacy education.

Lack of Student Expression and Critical Thinking

Furthermore, students are not permitted to express how knowledgeable they might be. Aspects such as imaginative writing which allows a student to use their brains and imaginations are always not used to determined and evaluate the learning process. Instead, a student has to memorize information filled in their brains by the teachers. Some students may have achieved high schools using the standardized test. However, these students may not be able to communicate and express themselves verbally (Bernstein, 2004). Consequently, teachers in a banking concept of education, do not interact with the students in a real world. When a teacher begins to teach, all the information that is filled in the student's brain is derived from what the teacher deems necessary. The teacher does not relate the teaching to reality to stimulate the student's brains to question some phenomenon which they have witnessed. The teaching process, in this case, is therefore aimed at ensuring that students are unable to comprehend reality which can make them demand for liberation from their oppressors (Freire, 1970). As a result, the literacy education is determined by the oppressors.


To conclude, literacy and quality education are necessary needs for every individual. However, the presence of privileges in the society affects the quality of education that an individual can access. The groups in the society that are enjoying these privileges want to continue enjoying it. Hence they have incorporated it into education systems leading to poor quality of education. Therefore, privileges should be eliminated from education and learning systems so that individual can have access to critical information which they can use to develop their understanding of reality.


Bernstein, S. N. (2004). Writing and white privilege: Beyond basic skills. Pedagogy, 4(1), 128-131.

Freire, P. (1970). The “banking” concept of education.

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