To be a person, requires intersectionality. Intersectionality is the idea that people do not function on only one aspect of their being, but instead, function on every aspect. Aspects that include race, gender, ability, etc. With this intersectionality comes innumerable categories that lie on the scale of privileged, oppressed, or somewhere in between. To be privileged is to have advantages that are not necessarily earned, and instead come with a specific, usually uncontrollable feature, such as race, gender, class, and ability. To be oppressed is to have disadvantages that are not earned, but instead come with the same uncontrollable categories as privilege. Even cis-gendered, heterosexual, white, men have aspects of their intersectionality that might not place them at the top of the privilege hierarchy. And it is in these complications where people start to place doubts on their own privileges. It is important to realize that it is nearly impossible to have privilege in every single way or oppression in every single way, yet, this is not an excuse to deny privileges. Even with some oppressions, some are still granted more advantages than others. To delve into this deeper, analyzing writings from established writers, such as Peggy McIntosh and Devon Carbado become necessary. In Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” she expresses her own privileges as a white woman. She says things such as, “I do not have to educate my children to be aware of
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Privileges are things that a person receives that gives them an advantage over most people (Merriam-Webster). These are benefits that only certain people receive for being in a certain group or discourse. Peggy McIntosh, director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, wrote “White Privilege and Male Privilege” and states “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privileges, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege” (605). She argues that whites and males receive certain privileges, yet they do not even notice them. This shows that different races and women are still put at a disadvantage, but the people who receive the benefits are blind to the problem. Many people will argue that she is correct
Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack" addresses the issue of acknowledging whites' unaware privileges, thus weakening the systems of advantage to reconstruct power systems in the society from 1989 to the present. For instance, men are unconscious about their privileges in a patriarchal society while women are oppressed in the society. White people are unaware of the privileges which they take for granted while non-white communities are discriminated against repeatedly. McIntosh identities her privileges from daily life, which she also relates the patterns of white privilege and assumptions that passed down.
Peggy McIntosh concludes white privilege is, “an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious.” The writer came to this conclusion when observing male privilege initially in America. McIntosh discusses the lack of acknowledgement of men when it came to addressing their own advantages over women even if they could admit the position of disadvantage of women. This shed light on how white privilege is curtailed; In the United States, foundations of our society are interlaced with institutionalized privilege creates unethical levels of dominance; dominance of males over females, whites over people of color,
In conclusion, Peggy McIntosh pointed in her article, white privileges don’t come from an individual person or flaw of a person. White privileges arise from the flaw of the system placed in a society. Therefore, if we want to change the society and equalize the privilege amongst whites and colors, then change must happen within the system. It is the system that influences individuals to act upon in the society. A great way, we can demise
Intersectionality has truly opened my eyes in cases where there is a possibility where two systems of oppression can be working together to make life a struggle for a certain group or race. In the political world when someone feels that they are being mistreated or being taken advantage of they make their voice heard. They search for the correct people to help them in their situation and once in court and they feel that they have been mistreated for example racially and gender discrimination the question now becomes well which one is it? Gender or race? It cannot be both. Well, why can’t we choose both options each is a brick in the wall of oppression that everyone has faced at least once in their life. Not to generalize the fact that people face more walls in their life than others based on certain privileges from the type of skin, class, or the global power of wealth and how much it is used for ill intentions. Intersectionality creates lenses in seeing the “bricks” of the wall, seeing what each one stands for and what it does to us. However, it also shows us where it is weak and way for us as scholars to find the weak points and change our groups future where we will no longer fear to speak about the injustices we see every day and will be able to fight and give knowledge to our “enemy” as well for they could see their error as well.
Imagine if everyone in our society carried all of their privileges somehow. Imagine if everyone carried a knapsack. This knapsack carries all of our privileges, whether it is our gender, religion, or even simply our ability to breathe without an oxygen tank. Every knapsack that everyone carries is different; however, the only way we could know what’s in a knapsack, you have to be willing to ask and look for your answers. Peggy McIntosh exploits this concept of a “knapsack”, as she pulls apart what’s in her own sack in her article, “White Privilege:
Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” addresses the issue of acknowledging whites’ unaware privileges, thus weakening the systems of advantage to reconstruct power systems in the society from 1989 to the present. For instance, men are unconscious about their privileges in a patriarchal society while women are oppressed in the society. White people are unaware of the privileges which they take for granted while non-white communities are discriminated against repeatedly. McIntosh identities her privileges from daily life, which she also relates the patterns of white privilege and assumptions that passed down.
A privilege is not something people should expect to have, but something people consider themselves fortunate if they have it. Lewis Gordon believes that white privilege does not exist, since the ‘privileges’ that benefit white people are just social commodities that all people aim for. He also points out that although white people may be the majority race and population in privileged settings, that the actual amount of white people that enjoy those benefits isn’t much. Another criticism of white privilege also points out the confusion between a privilege and a right. If someone were to discriminate against a person of color, or a nonwhite, that does not count as a privilege. Blum feels as though privilege is not whites having more opportunities than nonwhites, but that racial discrepancy has been adopted by society over the years, within activities and opportunities that are often unconsciously assumed by those who benefit.
At its core, white privilege is described to be an “invisible package of unearned assets” (McIntosh, 2002, p. 33) for white people. There are many layers explaining the manifestation of white privilege and even more explanations pertaining to its dominant presence in today’s world.
In her 2012 TEDx Talk, “How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion”, Peggy McIntosh discusses how race is a privilege system and how white people are given an advantage without even realizing it. In her lecture McIntosh says, “These privilege systems, which locate us above and below the hypothetical line of social justice, were invented and we were born into them. And we all know both sides and that is the reason for compassion, about the sadness of having been born into systems that gave us such… such different ‘politics of location’”. Here, it seems that McIntosh’s main goal is to inform people that we are born into a privilege system because of our skin color and the only way that we can prevent a social hierarchy we must be able to recognize that we are all different. I think that the human population should be able to identify that people are different and have compassion for the differences in society our world today could have little to no race issues. After listening to McIntosh’s arguments, I support the ideas she makes throughout her works and I find that privilege systems are still prominent in today’s society.
Peggy illuminates to the origin of white privilege which, for the most part, has been taught from an early age that they are the normal standard of a person and that benefiting others will help them achieve that neutral point. This aids to the oblivious nature of their own advantages due to it being instilled at a young age. She goes on to list a few ways this privilege is used that collectively make an impactful difference. These instances of white privilege go unseen every day due to not wanting to come to the realization that meritocracy is a myth. The first step is to see that this privilege exists and from then
In Johnson’s book, Privilege, Power, and Difference, he writes about the matrix of capitalist domination, but to really understand the reader must look back to the previous chapter when he writes about privilege. Johnson asked the reader to list qualities such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and class. After doing so, Johnson explained that such qualities have one side that receives privilege in society. These privileges range from having a better schooling to getting a job over someone who does not have the privileged qualities. The “ideal” qualities of the ones listed according to society is upper-class, heterosexual, white, and male. This is not to say that all white men feel privileged. In fact, that is the entire idea of the matrix of capitalist domination. People do not fall
The author of the "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., is an American feminist and anti-racist activist, the associate director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, and a speaker, founder, and co-director of the National S.E.E.D. Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). The text appeared in 1988, as a part of Peggy McIntosh’s essay "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies", and was written for High school students, college students, and beyond. She thinks that whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privileges, and as one who writes about having white privilege, she must ask: “what will I do to lessen or end it?” McIntosh wants to encourage white people to start recognizing situations in which they are privileged because of their skin color. That way would be more people to help lessen this problem, and make changes in our social system.
There are two prominent writer/scholars who have taken the issue of white privilege to heart and have shared their expert analysis on the subject; these authors/writer-scholars are Peggy McIntosh, a white feminist, and Beverly Tatum, an African American Psychologist. McIntosh, in her article "Coming to See Correspondences," makes excellent observations about the privilege that she has experienced just by being a white female in America. The two most significant points made by McIntosh