Sunday, February 7, 2016

White Privilege: Upacking the Invisible Knapsack - Peggy McIntosh


In her article, Peggy McIntosh talks about privilege between people of different races and genders. She mentions in her writing, "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege". This is important because it addresses the fact that there is such a thing as privilege and your race will allow you or not allow you to have it. At the same time as addressing privilege versus race, it addresses privilege versus the sexes. It is believed and known that males tend to have more privilege over females. However, the male population tends to push that idea to the side: "...often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged...".

Soon after, she states that she "...had been taught about racism as something that 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's statement is important because young people are being taught that depending on your race, you are at more of advantage than others. The problem with this is that if one wishes to end privilege overall, you must face the truth that society today is filled with certain people of a certain race/gender who have privilege over others.

McIntosh also mentions " my racial group was being made confident, comfortable and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated". This is important because while one race is living life with no worries based on their race, another has to think about certain things that people of another race would not have to in their day to day routine.

Points to Share:

When McIntosh points out 50 ways where she sees that she is privileged, I was able to connect to some of the same scenarios. However, I was not raised to know I was privileged and at some sort of advantage that others are not. It is quite obvious that the majority of us don't realize that we're at an advantage until it is pointed out to us.


  1. Jordyn, I think all of the quotes you picked are highly significant. The second quote that you discussed is so important to acknowledge. Today, young people are raised around the idea that your race defines you. Sadly, it has already done damage, if it continues it could become pretty detrimental. Rarely any good will come from groups of people who have been raised with preconceptions based on the color of their skin. Connecting to your last quote, people who are not light skinned and are conditioned by all the preconceptions, will often lack confidence, and feel alienated.

  2. Jordyn, I really enjoyed the quotes you picked from the article! I feel like you did a really good job discussing the main points using these 3 quotes, and I liked how you tied it all together with the points to share at the end