White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Topics: White people, Black people, Racism Pages: 3 (920 words) Published: May 1, 2013
In the article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, Peggy McIntosh talks about the various privileges white people receive. Her basic idea was to inform the readers that whites are taught to ignore the fact that they enjoy social privileges that people of color do not because we live in a society of white dominance. McIntosh lists some daily white privileges; a variety of daily instances where white dominance is clear. Her examples include privileges relating to education, careers, entertainment, child care, confrontations, physical appearance, and public life. McIntosh then offers her solution to this unequal distribution of privileges. She provides a distinction between earned power and conferred privilege. The distinction was clear; conferred privilege is only available to certain groups while everyone has an equal shot at earned power. McIntosh points out that whites enjoy conferred privilege but refuse to acknowledge it. Furthermore, she states that due to the idea that America was founded on a system of earned power, and due to the fact that whites have conferred privilege, other groups in this country are not free. She states that in order to change that, whites need to acknowledge their unearned power and be willing to give it up so other minority groups can enjoy the same freedom. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, and activities that the society considers appropriate for men and women. The roles and behaviors give rise to gender inequalities. For instance, the ideology that men are more interested in performing physically tough activities while women perform tasks like raising children, cooking, embroidery and so on. Additionally, our daily lives are affected by race. There are a number people who are aware of this and some who are not. Race is a social construction that has real consequences and effects. It categorizes people based on physical characteristics and shapes the way we see ourselves and others. In...
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