Taking Buzzfeed’s Privilege Test

Time to see how privileged I am, guys! Because if anything can assess the nuances of the quality of a life, it’s a one-size-fits-all checklist from Buzzfeed. Let’s get started, yo.

I am white.

Nope. Good to get that one done right out of the gate. What if they’re a white person in China or the Ukraine- you know places where being white makes you a minority or has no bearing on life because almost everyone is?


I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.

I have been by both white and minority groups.


I have never been the only person of my race in a room.

Seeing as how I’m in Asia right now, you know the answer to that. What about biracial people? Does this apply to me if I’m the only biracial person in a room of black people? Of white people? I’m both of those things, so….


I have never been mocked for my accent.

Mocked is putting it very melodramaticly, but people have made fun of my Southern accent before. Does it count if I also make fun of my accent?


I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”

Seeing as how I’ve been told I was pretty by someone not in my family like three times, the whole “for a black girl” part never came up.


I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.

I have, I think? Does this mean personal violence or things like vandalism against my property and whatnot? I’ve never been punched in the face, but people did kill my dog once. I don’t know what this question means.


I have never been called a racial slur.

I have been.


I have never been told I “sound white.”

I am told this all the time, usually by black people.


A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.

This has happened to me, but I don’t care. Does it count as a disadvantage if I don’t give a fuck?


I am heterosexual.

I am.


I have never lied about my sexuality.

I have not.


I never had to “come out.”

Well, I did come out as bi to one of my friends in high school when I had a crush on a girl that didn’t last. And I’ve had to come out as an atheist in the Bible Belt, which sucked, even though that’s not the kind of coming out you’re talking about. I think. Fuck it, I’m saying I have.


I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.

Not really. I’m pretty sure they thought I was a lesbian for a while and they seemed okay with it.


I have never been called “fag.”



I have never been called “dyke.”

I’ve been asked if I was a lesbian in a derisive manner once. Does that count. I will say no, I guess.


I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.

Nope. But what about all the straight people who get called the Louis CK definition of “fag,” what do they mark here? It’s not a gay slur in that case, so they should ignore it or.  . . ? I don’t know. This list sucks.

Heh. Unintentional gay joke.


I have never tried to hide my sexuality.



I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.

I don’t like PDA, so no I’m not always comfortable. It has nothing to do with my sexual orientation, I just think PDA is awkward. What do I put here?!


I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.



I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.



I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.

I’ve been told that for other things. But not for my sexual orientation, which is the only important one I guess.


I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”

No one told me this. But my aforementioned girl crush was just a phase, so.  . . . The truth is homophobic. Sure. Why not?


I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.



I am a man.

I am a woman, so no.


I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.



I still identify as the gender I was born in.



I have never tried to change my gender.



I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.

What does this mean? I couldn’t do boys’ baseball because I was a girl. But the boys couldn’t join the girls’ baseball team either. So that applies to everyone, so I don’t see how it is a privilege or disadvantage. And in college I’ve been given opportunities because of my gender that men actively can’t get and have no male counterpart for. So the inverse of this is true. Is there a check for that? No? Okay.


I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.

I don’t think I do. I’m pretty sure my shitty pay is the same as theirs.


I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.

Not really. Feeling unsafe generally has more to do with location than me being a woman. Also, if I get physically assaulted, people are far more likely to help me than a guy in the same situation. So I’m pretty good.


I have never been catcalled.

Not really. What counts as catcalling? God, this list is so vague.


I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.

Nope. Shocking, I know, what with the rapists waiting around every corner and whatnot.


I have never been raped.



I work in a salaried job.



My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.

We have and still do.


I don’t have any student loans.

I do now! Thanks, shitty summer funding. I hate you to.


I have never gone to bed hungry.

I know what this is implying. But you can be rich and miss dinner all the time. This applies to me, but someone should have really punched these questions up to be less emotionally evocative and more fucking specific.


I have never been homeless.



My parents pay some of my bills.

When I’m at home they do, but when I’m not at home, they don’t. So.  . . Yes? I will go with that.


My parents pay all of my bills.



I don’t rely on public transportation.

I do. I don’t have a drivers license, so I kind of have to.


I buy new clothes at least once a month.

I’m wearing a sweater right now that I got in high school. So no.


I have never done my taxes myself.

I don’t make enough money to have to do taxes.


I have never felt poor.

I feel poor all the fucking time.


I have never had to worry about making rent.

I’ve never had to paid rent.  . . I live in a fully subsidized dorm while in college. I’m sure if I did pay rent I would worry about it. What do I put here?!


I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.

I have.


I have had an unpaid internship.



I have had multiple unpaid internships.



I went to summer camp.

Once when I was like 9, and it was a free day camp. And I was a councilor at a music camp, does that count as going to summer camp? I will put yes, I guess.


I went to private school.



I graduated high school.



I went to an elite college.



I graduated college.

I’ll put yes since I’m about to.


My parents paid (at least some of) my tuition.



I had a car in high school.



I’ve never had a roommate.

I have had roommates.


I’ve always had cable.



I have traveled internationally.



I travel internationally at least once a year.

Definitely not.


I studied abroad.

Doing it now.


I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.

I do this all the time.


I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is.

What the Fuck does that mean?


I spent Spring Breaks abroad.

That is a hard Nope.


I have frequent flier miles.

I do, but that’s because I have to fly from the South to Philly and back at least five times a year. I don’t have enough miles to actually get me anything.


My parents are heterosexual.



My parents are both alive.

I don’t know. I have a single mom, Buzzfeed. Why isn’t that a point?


My parents are still married.

I am a bastard child. They were never married.


I do not have any physical disabilities.

I’m legally blind, actually. So yes, I do have a physical disability.


I do not have any social disabilities.



I do not have any learning disabilities.

I had a speech impediment as a kid. Not now. So no, I guess.


I have never had an eating disorder.



I have never been depressed.

Not sure what to put here. A doctor never told me I was clinically depressed, though, so I will say no.


I have never considered suicide.

I have considered suicide, depressingly enough.


I have never attempted suicide.

Um . . . Does prepping for suicide but not attempting the actual act count as attempted suicide? I legit do not know.


I have never taken medication for my mental health.



I can afford medication if/when I need it.

Not right now.


I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”

Well, I am overweight. So people telling me that are being accurate.p


I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”

I have.


I have never been shamed for my body type.

Not really, no.


I consider myself to be physically attractive.

I don’t think I’m horrible looking, but I don’t think I’m attractive either. I think people who tell me I am are kind of talking out of their ass to make me feel good.


I can afford a therapist.



I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.

Once. On an off note: Ambien fucking sucks.


I have never had an addiction.



I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.

I’m an atheist. I’ve been shamed for that, but that is not a religious belief, Buzzfeed. God, way to oppress me with your religiously normative statements.


I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.



I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.



There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.

No? There’s no atheist club, so I guess not.


I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.



I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.



All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.

Being an atheist does not require accomodations.


I am not nervous in airport security lines.

I’m always nervous in airport security lines, but that is because I’m one of those people who everything always goes wrong for when I’m at the airport. I’m not afraid of racist TSA officers or anything. I’m afraid that a slightly too-big tube of toothpaste will wind up stranding me in the Shanghai airport for 24 hours because they give no fucks that your flight is leaving in ten minutes! Sorry, some recent complications have been on my mind.


I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”



I have never been called a terrorist.



Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs.

They have.


I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.

I’ve been cyber-bullied by repgressive leftists who do everything but call me a race-traitor because I don’t agree with them. I can only assume that counts.


I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.

I was bullied by black kids for being an Oreo.


I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.

Not really. How do I distance myself from very apparent physical states?


I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.

I guess I have. But, what, having high self esteem is a privilege now? I thought privilege was about external factors? Where were all the questions about how I felt about and reacted to certain things earlier, if my perception of events wound up being a privilige-marker in of itself?


I have never questioned any of my identities.



I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with.

Yes, actually. Academia and the literary world are both being bitches to white guys right now.

So what is my score (after I’ve worked out all the infuriatingly ambiguous questions, that is)?

You live with 56 out of 100 points of privilege.
You’re quite privileged. You’ve had a few struggles, but overall your life has been far easier than most. This is not a bad thing, nor is it something to be ashamed of. But you should be aware of your advantages and work to help others who don’t have them. Thank you for checking your privilege.
Oh my God, guys! I’m privileged! My place at the front of the line in the progressive stack got it all wrong!
This survey is awful. As someone whose job it was to make effective surveys for some time, this actually made my brain black out at a few points. If any one of your questions is so vague that people do not know what to put, it is a bad survey. If the answer they put can be easily misconstrued by both the survey taker and the surveyor, it is a bad survey. If the questions do not provide enough context to be answered thoroughly as a whole, it is a bad survey.
Want some examples? No? You’re getting them anyway.
“I’m always comfortable with PDA with my SO.” is vague as he’ll. Anyone can be uncomfortable with outward displays of affection. I can only assume you are referring to gay people being self conscious about it. When the person taking the survey has to assume some implied context in order to answer the question, it does not work.
“I have been bullied for one or more of my identities.” can be easily misconstrued by a surveyor with confirmation bias. When I, a black woman, say I have been bullied, a Buzzfeed reading Tumblrite is going to read that as “men and white people mistreated this poor black woman” when that is not the case. But it is worded so vaguely and with so little specification that they can take whatever answer they want and fit it into preconceived notions.
“I have never taken medication  for mental health,” is a question that once again relies on an unspecified and ambiguous implication that you have not had mental problems and therefore didn’t need medicine. What about the people who needed medication but couldn’t get to a doctor or couldn’t afford the prescription? They are going to be counted as privileged in this case simply because they’ve never taken a medication  before, totally ignoring the contexts behind that statement.
And most of the questions are like this, if you didn’t pick up on that. I wouldn’t care so much except for this is Buzzfeed trying to do social commentary. It is them trying to create a yes/no list that actually assesses how privileged someone is. And since privilege is what determines who gets to speak and who gets to say what things, it is important. This is a “serious” quiz. And it is awful.
And it also placed an economically disenfranchised,  physically disabled, religious minority, black woman who has considered suicide into the “Privileged” category. Because I have to fly places sometimes and went to summer camp once. Now, I actually think my life has been pretty good, all things considered, but using regressive liberal logic, me ever being considered privileged is laughable. So it doesn’t even use its incredibly skewed and shoddy questions well. That is just sad.



2 thoughts on “Taking Buzzfeed’s Privilege Test

  1. Mad Elf says:

    Thanks for posting this, along with your reasoning for your responses! I thought the questions were terrible as well, so when I did this test I went the full “all technicalities count” route… and got 14%. Given that the writers would probably say I was loaded with advantages in life, that I can game their “privilege” system into giving me such a low score is ridiculous.

  2. countriestogo says:

    I tested this quiz out multiple times. If you get over 50% you’re “very privileged” but if you get under 50% you can “not privileged.” Serious, even with the differences of 49% and 51% that’s how it works.

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