Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"- Connections

         Upon first reading "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh I understood what she was saying but when I looked her up and found her TED talk video it really opened my eyes to her idea of white privilege and how much it affects everyone, myself included without even being aware of it.  She describes white privilege as an "invisible package of unearned assets" (1) that give white people an advantage over people of other races.  We don't realize that we have these advantages until they are pointed out, like in class we talked about having a piece of glass in front of us and we don't realize its there until someone puts a crack in it, making it known to us.  McIntosh lists out some conditions attached to her white privilege (2,3) and while i was reading them I noticed some similarities Johnson's article "Privilege, Power and Difference" when he talks about "What Privilege Looks Like in Everyday Life" (27-30)
         I felt a little bit uncomfortable when McIntosh was talking in the video about "oppressing" her coworkers inadvertently.  She didn't even realize that it was happening.  It happens all the time.  When she was talking about this, it reminded me of Delpit's "culture of power."  As a white woman, McIntosh had power over her black coworkers without realizing it.  One of Delpit's five aspects of power is "Those with power are frequently least aware of it - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence.  Those with less power are more aware of its existence." (24)  I think McIntosh's story is a perfect example of that.    
         I also found this picture that brought up an important idea.  On this woman's forehead it says "We're lucky we're white."  I thought that was interesting because why should it make that big of a difference?  Should we also feel guilty that we have so much more than people of other races?  Why are we born with this "invisible knapsack"?  Is there anything we can do to change this?

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog post especially the Ted Talk that you provided for us. It was easier to understand the article when having watched the video. McIntosh's lsit of all the white privileges was such an eye opener. It's crazy to think that these things happen in our society today.