Q: The class privilege checklist doesn’t return an accurate score of my class privilege relative to others who took the test. Why do people take it seriously if it’s such a poor assessment of wealth?
A: The checklist is not meant to be a diagnostic test that measures how much money you have. Rather, each item on the list is an instance of privilege.
Class privilege is not just how much money you have, but also includes things like access to education, access to technology, the knowledge gained from travelling, and the cultural capital gained from visiting museums and art galleries.
Money can be used to buy material luxuries, but money can also be used to buy access to education and technology. Sometimes a person who has little money has access to education and technology. The checklist is not meant to suggest that the person has money because she has access to education and technology. The checklist would merely indicate that the person has privileges in education and technology. These are still called ‘class’ privileges.
Q: Why is access to education and technology considered ‘class’ privilege?
A: Access to education and technology are class privileges because they are things that can be bought. If you are rich, you can buy education and buy technology. (However, if you have education or technology, it does not follow that you are rich.)
Other privileges cannot be bought, such as white privilege. A non-white person can be a billionaire, but he will never gain enough money to buy white privilege (assuming that we will not have the technology to alter one’s race). However, the non-white billionaire can still buy access to education and technology. Thus, class privilege (which includes educational and technological privileges) can be distinguished from other types of privilege.
Update 1: Fixed the first question and answer of this post after some thinking about the privilege checklist as a privilege walk.