I live a life of considerable privilege. I am a white, upper middle class, straight, young adult, living a comfortable life. I have learned to recognize these facts, and thought I understood the meaning of my privilege; until I read this novel. The Other Wes Moore gave me a new perspective on the meaning of ‘privilege,’ and how it affects the workings of our society. This novel really opened my eyes to some of the troubles in this world, and how everyone has a story that isn’t seen on the surface.
In the article, White Privileges: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh explores the power of white privilege. White privilege, as McIntosh puts it, is an advantage enjoyed by white people beyond the common advantage of other races. The article begins with the author reflecting upon male privilege,, and then transitions into her own reflection on privileges involving race. To prove this, she lists the effect of white privilege in daily life. For instance, McIntosh is sure that she can easily take a job anywhere without being racially profiled, move anywhere with the expectation that people of her own races will live in the surroundings and even find bandages that are “flesh” toned that actually match her own skin color. Each of her points proves the reality of white privilege.
Ms. McIntosh states that certain assumptions equality and fairness should be common norms in society. These types of privileges are not "inevitably damaging"(McIntosh, 1988). A person that feels like they belong within a certain group is doing nothing wrong. This is a privilege that absolutely not be limited to just a few people. It should be an "unearned entitlement". But for the author, because we live in a society where white privilege and male privilege are embedded, it is an "unearned advantage"(McIntosh, 1988). White people tend to think they aren't affected by racism because they aren't colored. They don't see being white as a race. They haven't gone through the things colored people have gone through. This is where the author believes race and gender aren't the only systems that provide an advantage. Ethnicity, age, physical ability, religion, political ideology, sexual identity are all factors that influence privilege. We also can't forget however, that all these conditions are different from each other. The advantages associated with them should not be expected to be the same. Males have different advantages than females. Young people have different advantages than rich people. These groups have only one thing in common. They aren't taught to recognize what they are in society which is a dominant group. The author realizes that she didn't see herself as a racist because she had been taught that individual acts towards other races were racist. She was never taught the systematically racism "invisible systems that confer racial/gender dominance from birth"(McIntosh,
Emotion has a way of worming through shields and walls, penetrating even the most guarded heart. No matter how stubborn and unrelenting one may be, emotion is even more stubborn and unrelenting. “There are those… like a mighty stream,” (MLK, pg. 263). The way MLK phrases what he wanted to say thunders loudly, rings clearly and boldly. Delving into detail of how the Negro is specifically suffering a loss of dignity and self importance by the segregation that treats them like petty animals, being herded, speaks much more loudly than simply stating that Negroes are degraded and treated poorly. “Perhaps it is easy… unavoidable impatience,” (MLK, pg. 275-276). Emphasizing how it cuts them down to the core is harder to ignore than a mere statement. Segregation hurts more than just black men. It affects the children, too. Their perspective of an entire race is warped and twisted. They learn from a young age that the whites are to be feared and hated. They develop the mindset that being black makes them less of a human, less valued. Negro parents struggle to explain why to their child they can’t play on that playground, why they can’t talk to other children that so happen to be white. They struggle because the why isn’t logical at all-it’s simply a prejudice against Negroes. How in the world do you explain bitter, unreasonable, pointless hatred and discrimination to your six-year-old child? MLK revealing
In 1989, women’s rights were on fire, especially in the eyes of feminist Peggy McIntosh. At this time, she created an article titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” that inspected just that: white privilege. As expected, she forms an argument that argues against those who do not recognize their all-too-common- white privilege. After looking into the structure of “White Privilege”, a few obvious aspects make the piece successful in what it does. Overall, the format of the article allows for ease of a compelling reading. By breaking down her writing into three main sections - introduction, numerical list, and conclusion - her argument becomes even stronger. Each portion serves as a crucial point to her argument: the introduction
My first reaction to this reading was a sense of insecurity acknowledging the fact that people in the 1960’s were what you, Mr. King, described as the “oppressor race” (par 31). But after giving myself time to analyze my reaction and to take into to consideration the time era, I‘ve come to accept
He points out that such entitlements that are granted now have not been set in stone, it has not always been this way. Post Civil Rights Movement whites did not get special entitlements based on the color of their hair. He uses entilttlement loosely as a sort of joke in a way. Stating that minorities fought for the rights of caucasion men and now they feel they should be entitled to spectial privledges due to previous grivences. By using entitlement respectively Steele is able to encourage his readers the entitlements should be cherished and not relied on. “…because it threatens their collective entitlement by insisting that no group be entitled over another.” (456) Steele’s quotes suggest that everyone should have equal entitlements and for the minorities that receive more; they should not take them for granted, because they are ultimately limiting the rights of caucasion in the process. Steele pleads with minorities to realize that it is better to work for entitlements and benefits, rather than just receive these handouts out of pity, because ultimately the rights fought for durning the Civil Rights Movement were to be equal to whites. Not to sit idly by and count on entitlements to make them equal but to work for them as the Caucasians
This trouble is rooted in a legacy we all inherited, and while we’re here, it belongs to us (Johnson p.12). People rarely talk about power and privilege because talking openly about it isn’t easy. This keeps us from looking at what’s going on and what makes it impossible to do anything about it. People are naturally afraid of what they do not know.
Whether by ignorance or by will, inequality is viewed differently based on personal experiences.” He points out that when we discuss race, depending on who you are having the conversation, you are not talking about the same topic or issues(Lebron). The writer also states that we believe our democracy to be a superior form of government mainly because we have evolved to respecting the rights of one another, for the most part. The argument to that theory is systemic racism and how it continues to affect wealth, jobs, education and public services for minorities(Lebron). Other people would argue that minorities cause their own problems and hinder their own progress. The conversation constantly leads to minorities murdering their own races; they were bad people who did bad things, just not at the time of the incident; rioting when the perception of wrong doing is even mentioned, destroying their own businesses. These debates are not truly debatable because it does not change the fact of the injustice or the opinions realized. His conclusion is that America and the government is and has been reacting to a situation that should have been addressed and acted on many years ago. Because no significant action was taken then, we have a hard time choosing to understand each other
“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). Although times have improved since the days to the Civil Rights Movement, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, and religion still exists today. In “On Being the Target of Discrimination” by Ralph Ellison and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot a message of discrimination in a segregated society between African Americans and whites through the rhetorical devices of pathos and ethos.
I believe the purpose of the article was to bring awareness to the concept of white privilege. There are many individuals today who are unaware of the concept, it either goes unrecognized or in many instances is seen as a made up belief. I feel that by Peggy giving many examples of white privilege she was able to bring awareness to the existence of white privilege. One of the main values in the social work profession is social justice. In order to secure social justice for individuals who live with inequalities social workers must be able to recognize the cause of the inequalities. White privilege is one contributor to many inequalities. This article is a great tool for all social workers to use to help identify the many social inequalities that others face due to white
“To celebrate race is to nourish it, to sustain it”, those words are from the author, which leave a deep impression on me about the way the racial group of people develop race themselves. Next, Liu continues supporting his theory by giving an example of gay culture. He states that in order to be a normal person, a real gay culture is not displaying. But then the homosexual oppose against the mainstream assimilation. They begin celebrating their subculture as a drastic victory. However, it is a tragedy, and draws to identity politics, in which people of a particular social background form and celebrate their own exclusive political viewpoints or cultures; and consequently, they are alienated from the standard culture. The identity politics is a dominated tool to generalize all the people’s views and indirectly force them to return to a hideaway, in the homosexual community, it is called homophobia. From Liu’s explanation, as a reader, I strongly disagree with the idea of identity politics in the gay culture. I am not saying that the homosexual need to take pride in themselves in public, but to receive respect from other people. Opinion oppression is even crueler than discrimination; it suppresses the natural development of personality, behavior, and psychology. If you are limited to grown and
Power and privilege is one of the most common discussions regarding issues in America. It is having the freedom and opportunities more than others, and often times this power and privilege isn’t earned it is given to those unfairly. The factors that decide between those who have power and those who don’t are becoming almost unbelievable. The simple color of one’s skin, something they have no control over can put you at a disadvantage for no reason beyond the fact that your skin is not the same as someone else’s. Two examples of this lack of balanced power come from first, the article referred to in class “Song of El Sur” which discussions the lyrics of songs written by discriminated Mexicans who come to America in search of a better life, and find that the south is not the answer they were looking for. The second example is a music video I came across on Facebook recently. The name of the video is “I’m not a racist”, it is a rap song where a white man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, and a black man are sitting at a table in a warehouse discussing, (more of
According to Johnson privilege exists when we allow one group to have more power than the other; when we put people in those social categories (Johnson, 2006, p. 126). Oppression can come in many forms and cause many different behaviors to show. Those who are excluded, do not weep the benefits others seem to have, and have violence shown upon them tend to be aware of privilege more than those who have it. The ones who have privilege get defensive and deny it; but it truly exists. (There is where I was prior to this class). In order to do this we need to talk about it, not seeing it as their problem but a system problem. In order to do that we all have to work
In the essay "The Legacy of Antigay Discrimination," written by George Chauncey, describes how homosexuality support and views have been changed throughout history. He believes that people are not aware of the struggles homosexuals had to face other than being "scorned and ridiculed, made to feel ashamed, afraid, and alone" (260). Using facts and statistics, Chauncey is able to present a stronger argument, because everything that he presents is accessible knowledge, creating a more realistic view on the changes and struggles of homosexuals. He presents the issues that were created in the LGBT community such as, movies not being able to represent homosexuality, people being fired from federal or state jobs, bars and restaurants not providing