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.
This essay will address key aspects of white privilege and pick the two most important aspects with explanations signifying the reasons for their choosing. An explicit aspect of white privilege is the fact that it is an automatic add-on to anybody satisfying the definition of “whiteness”. Whiteness is defined by Frankenberg (1993) as a concept/identity historically, socially, politically, and culturally produced involving systems of domination (p. 40) thereby privileging anyone who satisfies this definition. Another notable aspect of white privilege is the fact that white people are taught not to recognize their privilege (McIntosh, 2002, p. 33). On a more subtle level, white privilege is an ongoing, institutionalized remnant of colonization. Another aspect of white privilege is its ability in creating dichotomies with PoC. For example, whiteness is associated with “innocence” and “goodness” while blackness is associated with “evil” and “badness” (hooks, 1992, p. 49).
From this list, the two most important aspects of white privilege are: the fact that white people are taught not to recognize their privilege and the fact that it is an ongoing, institutionalized remnant of colonization. These are
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When I think about white privilege, I see it as something I must understand to truly feel a relation to my own privileges with race. “As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.” (McIntosh 1988) When comparing other privileges McIntosh sees that her life is more influenced by her skin color than class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location. Tim Wise explains “even though there is more than one type of privilege, they can never fully eradicate white privilege.” “Understanding the persistence of privilege requires recognizing the sleight of mind that occurs on the subject of individuals as members of groups” (Wildman 2005). Early work done by African American sociologist W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) showed that studies with white workers over time came to see themselves as white unlike the developing working class with recently freed black slaves. DuBois was one of the first people to initiate the concept of white privilege.
When asked about white privilege, many whites believe that it is a myth while other deny the existence of white privilege entirely. However, white privilege is not a myth. White privilege is very prevalent in society and uniquely effects many different groups. Peggy McIntosh discusses white privilege in her article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” McIntosh states, “I have come to see while privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was, "meant" to remain oblivious” (par. 3).
Prior to beginning my readings on white racial identity, I did not pay much attention to my white race. If someone had asked me to describe my appearance I would have said short blond hair, blue eyes, average stature, etc. One of the last things I would have noted was the color of my skin. Growing up in overwhelmingly white communities, I never thought to use the color of my skin to differentiate myself from others. Over the course of this dialogue I have learned that my white racial identity is one of the most defining aspects of my appearance in this society. There is a certain level of privilege that I am afforded based solely on the color of my skin. According to Peggy McIntosh, “White privilege is like an invisible weightless
In “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh argues that racism can be found imbedded into the culture of society; conferring and denying certain privileges on some rather than all. This is a dangerous cultivation; endowing a strong expectation that white privileges are naturally deserving. Furthermore, making the cornerstone of McIntosh’s main argument; that white privilege is just a less aggressive synonym for dominance. When you receive privileges for looking a certain type of way, the recipient becomes immune; often not being able to acknowledge their advantages. As a result, this creates a cultural divide, between racial groups.
Peddy McIntosh highlighted various unearned white privileges in her autobiographical article “White Privilege, Color and Crime: A Personal Account.” She illustrated the white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that one white person could count on cashing in each day. White people have these privileges given to them by the society in which they live in. The same society taught them to be ignorant and unawareness of these privileges. This system of unearned privileges established by white individuals made people of color feel oppressed. In this system being white is a norm and dominant power. Caucasians, who benefit most from the white privilege system in the United States, are more likely to
White privilege is a unique form of racism given its fascinating characteristic of not involving hostility. Therefore, it cannot be directly blamed on someone (Pludo, 2015). The lack of blame does not cause any discomfort on the white persons enjoying the privileges.
According to the authors, what practice(s) create white privilege is viewed in their own unique perspective but, it all fits up under one category of a specific race having the advantage to have their freedom to do what they like. Based on McIntosh view that “whites in Western societies adore recompenses that non-whites do not practice, as "an undistinguishable package of unjustified assets” (Rothenberg, 2016). White freedom represents together evident and not as much of evident submissive rewards that white people may possibly not identify they require, which differentiates it from explicit favoritism or preconception. In fact, they have been accepted as the better social status in addition to freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. It
White privilege is an advantage in society that is unmerited. Though it is practiced in every day life (whether it’s subtle or not), the majority views it as “absurd” and “non-existent”. It is a taboo that creates feelings of guilt, hostility and anger, but it must be addressed and understood in order to be eradicated. It is necessary for white people to acknowledge their part in maintaining and benefiting from a society that has thrived on racial hierarchy and white supremacy for centuries. White privilege is essentially the flip side of racism; racism does not only disadvantage people of colour, but grants white people power and dominance in our so-called “post-racial” society (McKintosh, 1). In this essay, I will argue that positive and widespread representation and implied acceptance are the most important features of white privilege. Widespread representation is the most important feature of white privilege because we live in an age where the media not only reflects, but also controls our real worldviews and attitudes. The second most important feature of white privilege is adequate housing opportunities and implied acceptance and respect. It is necessary to eliminate this system that puts people in power based on their skin tone and these two aspects are crucial in order to reach that.
In Peggy McIntosh’s, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” she introduces the topic of privilege from the point of view of a women in a world designed to favor men. She sees that men acknowledge the fact that women are disadvantaged but are unable to admit that they themselves have higher power. This denial of power is what creates the gap between men and women and is a clear stepping stone to her primary point of white privilege. The problem does not lie in the existence of white privilege but more so in the validation that is given to it. To be oblivious to this privilege is what gives it power to aid the white population, while simultaneously crippling other minority groups. She goes on to state that realizing there is hierarchy is the first step to systematically taking it down. This however has to start by finding where the problem originates.
The concept of white privilege helps to highlight the hypocritical nature of the American ideologies of democracy and meritocracy. Ask yourself: Do we live truly in a democratic system if the voices of our nation’s disenfranchised people are not heard? Or are we truly a nation that functions on a meritocratic system if every person-- regardless of socioeconomic background or race-- is not given the same opportunities for development? The concepts of white privilege and male privilege, as used by McIntosh, are meant to unveil the hidden schemes of American ideology.
Usually considered the favored state of being, privilege evokes the “connotation of being something everyone must want” (7). McIntosh disagrees with this claiming that certain conditions of this idea of white privilege are simply acts working to systematically overpower certain groups (7). Her main and most powerful argument is that “the kind of privilege that gives license to some people to be, at best, thoughtless and, at worst, murderous should not continue to be referred to as a desirable attribute”
Since the beginning of America, there has always been much racial discrimination between the whites and many other races such as the Native Americans to Chinese immigrants to African Americans. In the mid-1900’s, civil rights acts were being passed which prohibited the discrimination and separation of blacks from whites, as well as the other minority groups. Yet, today racial discrimination is still going on through the world in the form of white privilege. White privilege is essentially a term used describe how whites have a better chance to do something or go somewhere than blacks did. Although many people, especially the poorer ones, tend to overthink this a little and think that white privilege is more based on class privilege. Something
White privilege is a predominant issue in America today as it is embedded into the education systems. In an article written by Peggy McIntosh titled, White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, McIntosh writes about white privilege not being necessarily overt, but embedded and so naturally it is hard to see especially for white people, as it is simply the norm most of them have been born into. White privilege ultimately gives white people an easier life, as they are awarded unearned advantages over people of colour. White privilege affects the chances to obtain a job in academia, the curriculum being taught, and student success in the world of education.
Peggy McIntosh, chapter on “White Privilege, color, and crime,” encourages readers to think about the world in the framework of race, class, and gender on a “White privilege” perspective. McIntosh
“White privilege is an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those of us who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institution One of the primary privileges is that of having greater access to power and resources than people of color do; in other words, purely on the basis of our skin color doors are open to us that are not open to other people's”(Kendall,1). Privilege occurs when a group possesses an advantage of significant worth over others. This advantage is based on favoritism not by merit. More emphasis is placed on those who meet the criteria for the privilege instead of those who simply have the qualities that are essential. The ability to access opportunities equally may exist but is outweighed by privilege.White privilege is an unfair advantage that negatively affects minority groups. White privilege in the United States started when British colonists decided to travel to the New World and claim the land as their own even though other people already lived there. Because the Native people were not of the same color or culture, they were treated poorly, forced to relocate, and even killed. White privilege is justifying the murder of millions of people in order to create a new society void of oppression from the British throne. Another example of white privilege in the early stages of American society is when whites took African Americans from their native homelands and separated their families to bring them