peggy-mcintosh

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, code books, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.
—  Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege” (1988)
youtube

Peggy McIntosh talks about the origins for her article on white privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.

Daily Effects of White Privilege

Just reminding all us whites how much privilege effects our daily lives. excerpt from Peggy Mcintosh’s unpacking the invisible knapsack. Here are 50 ways privilege effects our daily lives.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women’s studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?

—  Peggy McIntosh 

anonymous asked:

I'm having a hard time explaining to family what exactly white privilege is. They don't believe it exists (they're white), and they get very offended when I mention it. Can you please recommend articles/other readings about it? I'd really appreciate it. If you don't believe it exists, then never mind. I appreciate the help either way.

Peggy McIntosh was who I read when I first took a women and gender studies course. “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is a great reading to learn about issues of racism, sexism, classism, ect and the privileges that are allocated in each of those oppressive systems.

Here is a PDF that has her list of ‘white privileges’. It was created in response to a list of male privileges in an attempt to get people to see their own privileges. 

Privilege is when the systems and institutions that control and (re)produce our understandings and meanings give advantages to certain groups and make it seem that those groups are ‘natural’ and reinforce them as normative. For example, heterosexism privileges heterosexuals in that our institutions and systems of control make it seem that heterosexuals are normal, natural, and given higher value than those who deviate from this.

Good luck with your family, mine sure as hell doesnt understand this

For this week’s discussion, we have to discuss our privilege, and base that discussion on Peggy McIntosh’s “White privilege and Male privilege.” We can’t use any of her examples, which means I can’t use being white as a privilege, since she generalizes every facet of how white women are privileged in American society.

1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be reasonably sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be followed or harassed b y store detectives.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be fairly sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another woman’s voice in a group in which she is the only member of her race.
12. I can go into a book shop and count on finding the writing of my race, represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.  
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance that I am financially reliable.
14. I could arrange to protect our young children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I did not have to educate our children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.  
16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
18. I can swear, or dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.  
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious to the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
2 3. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be reasonably sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.  
2 8. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be fairly sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.  
31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.  
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative, or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
43. If I have low credibility as a leader, I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my race.
45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
46. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

anonymous asked:

How does one become a feminist? Just a genuine question. Xoxo

For me, feminism is common sense. Viewing the world with a curious, critical eye and paying attention to the suffering of others naturally leads to being a feminist.

But it’s a process. Most people are feminists by principle and definition - they believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes - but not by name. I even went through a phase when I was about 12/13 where I said I was an ~equalist~ or something????? Which was like ????

So I think it almost always starts with unlearning the lies you’ve heard about feminism. And by doing that you have to be willing to learn.

You have to be willing to ask questions, of yourself and others, and always be eager to be proven wrong. There are so many people and entities who are threatened by feminism and have a lot to gain from dismissing it, pitting feminists against each other, misbranding it, etc. (namely large industries like the media). 

Being critical of the status quo, especially of those particular narratives is necessary. One example would be the bra burner myth or the myth that feminism has always been exclusionary to women of color. For one, bra burning never happened and also, the real history of feminism is far more intersectional than popular narratives would have you believe. Both of those myths have had a terribly destructive effect on the feminist movement.

Another thing that stops a lot of people from being feminists is the belief that we’ve already reached equality. So again, a lot of feminism is about listening to other women. Disabled women. Queer Women. Women of color. Poor women. Sex workers. Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Hindu women. Women at the intersections of all these identities. Men at the intersections of all these identities!!!!!! Some of the most ardent, passionate feminists I’ve met have been men fueled by their desire to cast off the burdens of toxic masculinity.

Just because you personally may not feel you’re suffering at the hands of a patriarchal system (by definition, a society in which men hold most of the wealth and power) does not mean others are not. Listen to them. Help them. I personally feel that everyone suffers under a white supremacist, heteronormative, capitalist, patriarchy. Everyone. All issues of social justice are feminist issues - poverty, racism, hunger, ableism, everything. Because everyone is burdened by them.

Here’s a beginner reading/watching list:

Most of these are PDF’s of essays available online so just click the links!
If anyone would like to add texts that influenced their feminism, please do so x

washingtonpost.com
Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children

In the spring and fall of 2010, I interviewed 74 African-American homeschooling families from around the U.S. While the size of my sample does not allow me to claim that it is representative of the whole African-American homeschooling population, it was nonetheless large enough to allow me to capture the main reasons why black parents tend to homeschool their children.

Eurocentric curriculum and teachers’ attitudes
When it comes to schools, there are at least two important areas of concern: the curriculum and teachers’ attitudes and behaviors. School curricula continue to promote a worldview developed by Western civilization. This wholesale Eurocentric orientation of most schools’ curricula, in a society that, ironically, is becoming increasingly brown, speaks volumes about a pervasive European ethnocentrism — that is, the notion that every one in the world thinks and does or should think and do like Europeans. Peggy McIntosh, an anti-racism activist, often cites a list of things she can take for granted as a white woman. Her list reflects the nature of the curriculum that students grow up being exposed to. As she says: “When I am told about our national heritage or about civilization, I’m shown that people of my color made it what it is;” as well as “I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that attest to the existence of their race.”For black people, as I found, it is a totally different experience. Indeed, while European culture and thought are implicitly presented as universal and Europe as the only place from which great ideas and discoveries originated, Africa and African-descended people find themselves quasi-excluded from the curriculum. As one of the fathers with whom I spoke in Atlanta succinctly articulated, “All we learn about is their stuff, and we know nothing about our stuff, our history, our culture.” This results in a general school-sanctioned ignorance about Africa and its descendants and in a disdain for the black experience, as I found through my interviews. Eventually, this becomes a pervasive and potent form of institutional racism.

Racial stereotypes harm black kids
Furthermore, the attitudes and actions of white teachers (who make up 85 percent of all public school teachers) were questioned by many of the African-American parents with whom I spoke. They consistently portrayed white teachers as overly critical, unresponsive, unqualified, insensitive, offensive, mean, hypocritical, and using double standards. Indeed, many white teachers seem to bring into the schools the many racist stereotypes and attitudes that have been ingrained in them, in particular the notions that blacks lack in intelligence, or are notoriously lazy and bent on criminality.
Studies of the impact of negative white teachers’ attitudes on the school experience of black children reveal that there are two areas where teachers’ unchecked prejudices have been particularly visible and tragic: the over-referral of black students to special education programs and to the criminal system. African-American students are more than twice as likely to be labeled cognitively “deficient” than white American students. Although they only make up 17 percent of the student population, they nonetheless represent 33 percent of those enrolled in programs for the mentally challenged. What appears to be a false and incorrect labeling, has a dire impact on the ability of black students to attend college and achieve social mobility.

Harsh school punishments

Likewise, black students account nationally for 34 percent of all suspensions. In reality, harsh school punishments have become one of the primary mechanisms through which the school-to-prison pipeline operates, pushing large numbers of black children out of school and into the “justice” system to feed the prison industrial complex that has blossomed over recent years. Certainly, the parents I interviewed were very much aware of and concerned about the “traps” set by many public schools for black children. One mother in New York poignantly declared, “I say America does not love my children. You know the statistics about prisons and all that. They have a plan for my children, and I am not going along with it.” Given this state of affairs, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of black parents, frustrated with a school system that is quick to criminalize and disenfranchise their children, turn to homeschooling as an alternative. Thus, for many black parents, homeschooling equates with a refusal to surrender their children to a system that they see as bent on destroying them. For them, it is an act of active and conscious resistance to racism.

African-American homeschooling
By taking the constant threat of harassment and discrimination out of the picture, homeschooling provides African-American parents the space and time to educate and socialize their children for optimal personal development. I found the home education is planned and delivered primarily by mothers, who stay at home, or work from home. This mother-led home education process is commonly observed among homeschoolers. In general, two strategies are commonly observed among black home educators: imparting self-knowledge and self-esteem through positive teaching about Africa and African-Americans. While finding ready-to-use educational materials can be challenging, most parents reported creating their own materials, by drawing from different sources, such as books, documentaries, the internet, field-trips, etc. Many go out of their way to provide exposure to black people who have achieved greatness in their domain, for instance, literature, science, or history, in an effort not only to educate their children about their history and culture, but also to instill racial pride and confidence in them. In other words, many black homeschooling parents engage in racial protectionism, so that they will have the self-confidence and knowledge necessary to face and overcome the hurdles that white racism appears to place in their path.

“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.”

- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague, Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow them to be more like us.
—  Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
For this reason, the word ‘privilege’ now seems to me misleading. Its connotations are too positive to fit the conditions and behaviors which 'privilege systems’ produce. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. […] The kind of privilege which gives license to some people to be, at best, thoughtless, and at worst, murderous should not continue to be referred to as a desirable attribute. Such 'privilege’ may be widely desired without being in any way beneficial to the whole society.
—  Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking Privilege: The Invisible Knapsack
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

by Peggy McIntosh

“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”

Through work to bring materials from women’s studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to improve women’s status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see on of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in Women’s Studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “Having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?”

After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are justly seen as oppressive, even when we don’t see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow “them” to be more like “us”.

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions which I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can see, my African American coworkers, friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place, and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

I 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 to systematically overempower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.

  1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
  3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
  11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals,the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
  13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
  19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
  20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
  22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
  23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
  26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. 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.

In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience which I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these prequisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions which were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways, and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. 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 unconfident, 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. For this reason, the word “privilege” now seems to me misleading. We want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. 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 advantages 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 which I originally saw as attendant on being a human being in the U.S. 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 we will 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.S. think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. 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 advantaging 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 State-ment of 1977 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.

Disapproving of the systems won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes. But a white skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. 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 be 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.

Though 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.

Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988), by Peggy McIntosh; available for $4.00 from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a longer list of privileges.

Peggy McIntosh, 'White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack'

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, By Peggy McIntosh

This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators. It has been used in workshops and classes throughout the United States and Canada for many years. While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topics.

It is suggested that participants read the article and discuss it. Participants can then write a list of additional ways in which whites are privileged in their own school and community setting. Or participants can be asked to keep a diary for the following week of white privilege that they notice (and in some cases challenge) in their daily lives. These can be shared and discussed the following week.

Through work to bring materials from Women’s Studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are over privileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to improve women’s status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials, which amount to taboos, surround the subject of advantages, which men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege, which was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in Women’s Studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “ Having described it what will I do to lessen or end it?”

After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are justly seen as oppressive, even when we don’t see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow “them“ to be more like “us.”

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege on my life. I have chosen those conditions which I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can see, my African American co-workers, friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

  • 1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  • 2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
  • 3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  • 4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • 5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  • 6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  • 7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  • 8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  • 9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  • 10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.
  • 11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  • 12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
  • 13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  • 14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • 15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  • 16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  • 17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  • 18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
  • 19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
  • 20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  • 21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
  • 22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
  • 23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.
  • 24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.
  • 25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
  • 26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. 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.

In unpacking this invisible backpack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience which I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant and destructive.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions which were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways, and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

In proportion as my racial group was being confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, 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.

For this reason, the word ”privilege” now seems to be misleading. 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 to systematically over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.

I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. 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 advantages 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 a 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 which I originally saw as attendant on being a human being in the U.S. 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.S. think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color, they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. 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 advantaging 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 1977 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 not taught 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 the invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

Disapproving of the systems won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes. (But) a “white” skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. 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.

Though 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 reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

Peggy McIntosh is Associate Director of the Wellesley College Center for Research for Women. Reprinted by permission of the author. This essay is excerpted from her working paper. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.”Copyright 1988 by Peggy McIntosh

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.
—  Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies
Disapproving of the systems won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes. [But] a ‘white’ skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end, these problems.
To redesign social systems we first need 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 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.
—  Peggy Mcintosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack By Peggy McIntosh

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.


2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.


3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.


4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.


5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.


6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.


7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.


8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.


9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.


10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.


11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.


12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.


13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.


14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.


15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.


16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.


17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.


18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.


19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.


20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.


21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.


22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.


23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.


24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.


25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.


26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to improve women’s status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials which amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages which men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of White privileged was was similarly denied and protected. As a White person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, White privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
—   Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack