February 3, 2014
What’s A Privilege?
The first reading was “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh. This text had my eye from the start with the quote under the title “I was taught to see racism only individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group (1).” This instantly made me think of SCWAAMP and how everything is based and focused around one specific type of person/family and how they should act and behave. It’s focused around it in a way where we are blind to see, and this is only the beginning of the door we’re opening on how blind we really are. There are tons of quotes within this paper that are significant to make Peggy’s point, but they also make you realize what is truly happening. Being male, one that stood out to me was how “white privilege” was compared to “male privilege.” Something you hear about and sometimes even see, how males always think they have the power in the relationships, in other words “wears the pants.” But like Peggy says their (males) oppressiveness was unconscious.” Likewise of white privilege, it is there, but as a white person we are unconscious to it, and think it is just the norm or average life.
What really blew my mind was that there is a list of 26 different effects, DAILY that everyone encounters only towards skin color, “white privilege” specifically. The forth on the list was something you see on TVs and could see in person, “4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed (2).” I have seen this example a lot of times on television where only people of color are the ones the store managers watch when they are shopping, whereas the basically leave white people alone, or not bother them in a suspicious way. But the list goes on and on with different effects as a white person I had never thought of, but once I read this it made me realize that this truly problems people face daily.
Another two off the list that are somewhat similar but on the list it was numbers 5 and 18, “5. I can turn on the television or open the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.” And “18 I can be sure that if I ask to talk to person in charge I will be facing a person of my race.(3)” I feel these two are similar because no matter where you look you see the person in charge or the person on television is white. If you don’t realize that before, it shows the blindness we have to our white privilege. Growing up in a high school were there was very little diversity, if any, I was blind of this until high school more towards junior, senior years. But after this class so far, the “blindness” is slowly going away, pointing out more and more of the unseen. I thought I was thinking outside of the box before, I can only imagine what the rest of the readings and class will make me be thinking of.