White privilege and racial inequality is an epidemic in this country that effects countless citizens. It has been ignored for years but now, in this time of great social change, this issue is at the forefront. Racial inequality has been around for centuries and it is about time that our society deals with it. One can see it nearly everywhere he or she looks. It can be seen in the news, in the justice system, in our work force, and so on.
Peggy McIntosh wants to differentiate between "earned strength" and "unearned power" on her essay White Privilege: The Invisible Knapsack. She believes that conferred privilege is essentially a given advantage, unearned power through privilege can look like strength when it is just a form of oppression. By saying “humanity” she refers to treating others as less powerful. McIntosh is most likely referring to whites having a subconscious superiority over other social groups, therefore making the ignored groups feel distorted.
White Privilege is a right or an advantage give to white people that do not apply to people of other races. An example of White Privilege is never having to worry about being interrogated by the police or authorities due to the solemn fact of your skin color. Christian Hegemony is the dominance of particular Christian ideas, beliefs, and traditions in a society where there are both Christians and Non-Christians present. An example of Christian Hegemony is when society only celebrates the most popular Christian traditions, such as Christmas, and keeps other religious holidays such as Kwanza and Hanukkah more discrete and less well known.
Perhaps one way of defining and understanding the concept of white male privilege is to imagine that a white male walks through life with an invisible duffle bag full of unearned rights and privileges that a white male alone enjoys. These privileges are said to exist as these white males have something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, versus anything, in particular, they have either failed to do or have actually done. Because other groups do not walk through life with this invisible duffle bag full of unearned rights and privileges, Affirmative Action policies were initiated to provide those without an invisible duffle bag, a visible one; thus, allowing all to walk through life equally. In regards
“If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own” (McIntosh, 15). This quote is from the article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. It refers to a list McIntosh compiled, of twenty-six examples of white privilege. McIntosh used the metaphor of an invisible knapsack to represent white privilege, unearned assets that one is able to easily able to cash in. These advantages are so prevalent, yet they are considered the society norm and we are taught not to recognize the.
The government of the United States has taught and interpreted the idea of race onto its citizens. Race is not something that we are born with but instead we are taught who to discriminate against. Burgett and Hendler (2014a) state that race has established, “who may be property, and who are citizens, and among the latter who get to vote and who do not, who are protected by law and who are not, who have access and privilege and who are (to be) marginalized” (p. 208). The success of the United States as a nation can be attributed to the work of slaves. “[As stated by Bush], ‘the very people traded into slavery helped to set America free through their struggle of injustice’”
Privilege, for lack of a better word, is power. In sociology, this power is seen as what one group has over the other. W.E.B DuBois thought of privilege as emotional/psychological, i.e. knowing what one is not. What are some examples of this? You have straight privilege where you don’t have to worry about coming out or have your right to marry be debated (your heterosexuality has power over other sexualities); if you are thin, you’re not shamed often for your weight be it in what you buy or your clothing size (you being thin has power over those that are not); if you are able bodied, you require no assistance with daily tasks and are often included when group activities occur (you being able bodied have power over the dis/abled).
I have many specific highlights from the workshop that I would like to reflect on. Over the course of the weekend I found myself moving through different cycles of understanding and growth. When I find myself with larger numbers of people I often experience a state of “otherness,” generated by the initial anxiety of being with hundreds of people I don’t know. After some of the exercises I noticed my anxiety lessen, the work helped me reconnect with my place in humanity, through a sense of camaraderie with others, realizing our sameness instead of focusing on differences. During the first evening, a vin diagram was drawn which outlined ways to slow down Industrial Growth Society, combining Holding Actions, New Ways of Doing Things and Shift
When one common injustice exists, it carries a few more along with it. Americans have been divided continuously, by their class status, their race, religious beliefs, political opinions, and ethnicities. Discrimination has continuously affected America for centuries, and one problem always seems to lead to another. A never-ending cycle, even something as amazing and beneficial as education can be tainted based on someone’s inability to afford the education, or racial prejudice.
The notion that anyone who works hard enough will be rewarded has been made difficult for the individuals that are not defined as white by the social construction of race which comes from society’s beliefs, racism and stereotypes. Being white comes with numerous privileges like higher education and citizenship and other supplementary increased equities that people of color don’t receive. In the video, the narrator states “immigrants were learning that whiteness was more than skin color. It was the privilege of opportunity. And above all, exclusive.”