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Peggy McIntosh

Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege Papers

❶Uncovering the Myths that Keep Racism in Place".

"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and "Some Notes for Facilitators"

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Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack". This privilege establishes easier access to political and societal classes for white people, that would otherwise prove an unattainable goal, such as minorities face. McIntosh conveys that racism can be found within white privilege itself, because white parties are granted unearned dominance in the invisible systems that distinguish the elite from the many.

McIntosh has written other articles on white privilege, including "White Privilege: Uncovering the Myths that Keep Racism in Place". From until , Brenda Flyswithhawks joined them as the third co-director. McIntosh believed that teachers were capable of being the leaders of their own adult development with regard to teaching equitably.

Monthly peer-led SEED seminars are designed as round table testimonies about teachers' past and present experiences in life and in schooling. Seminar members, including parents and community members, become more aware of their experiences of systemic oppression associated with their gender, race, class, and sexual orientation, inside and outside of the structures of schooling.

The discussions help teachers to develop ways of implementing gender-fair and globally-informed curricula for students. In , McIntosh stepped down as the project's co-director. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wellesley Centers for Women. Retrieved 16 March Trustees of Wellesley College. Retrieved 19 November World Trust Educational Services.

Center for Research on Women," Retrieved 14 May Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Retrieved 19 January The discourse of denial: Race ethnicity and education, 8 2 , — In Mann, Coramae Richey. Images of Color, Images of Crime. Uncovering the Myths that Keep Racism in Place. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made inconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.

We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to overempower certain groups. I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systemically. Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society.

Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups. We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies.

For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally saw as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

I have met very few men who are truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what will we do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the U.

In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

Difficulties and dangers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage which rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity than on other factors.

Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the Combahee River Collective Statement of continues to remind us eloquently. One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant group one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes. Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end, these problems. To redesign social systems, we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these taboo subjects.

Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all.

Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already. Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and I imagine for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage to weaken hidden systems of advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

The co-presenter and I take equal time to testify about how we came to see privilege systems in and around us. After this, we use Serial Testimony. We form either small circles of people, or pairs, to respond, in turn, uninterrupted, for one minute each, to the following prompts: What are one or more ways in which you've had unearned disadvantage in your life?


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White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Privilege: an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day,but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. --Peggy McIntosh Through work to bring materials from women’s studies into the rest of the curriculum, I.

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*This is an authorized excerpt of McIntosh’s original white privilege article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies,” Working Paper (), Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, MA, In “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” Peggy McIntosh, an author known for doing something that is rarely done in the white community--speaking of her race--makes references to education, to her privileged education, to support her argument on white and male privilege.

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How McIntosh came to write so authoritatively in the late ’80s about privilege: About six years earlier, black women in the Boston area had written essays to the effect that white . Essay on Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege And Male Privilege - Privileges are things that a person receives that gives them an advantage over most people (Merriam-Webster). These are benefits that only certain people receive for being in a certain group or discourse. Peggy McIntosh, director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.