Sunday, September 21, 2014

McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and Dear White Mom (Connections)

After reading White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh, I was completely moved. Once again, this article brought up many topics that rarely cross my mind until they are raised. I found that her work was very interesting to read as she is a white women talking about white privilege. Not often do you see or hear those of white race bring up or even admit that they have an advantage because of their skin color. 

One of the first things that stuck out to me was the section called "Earned strength, unearned power". I immediately thought of the reading we just finished by Lisa Delpit. McIntosh opens by saying "I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. Privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate." (4-5) These words are very similar to that of Lisa Delpit who discusses the five aspects of the culture of power. Two of those aspects are, "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier." and "Those with power are frequently least aware or least willing to acknowledge its existence. Those with less power are often most aware its existence." Each author discusses their definition of the advantages of power and how power still exists. They both connect in a way that says those who are white have power and therefore are privileged. I think both of these readings go hand in hand as privilege and power are essentially the same thing. 

The next article I read was Dear White Mom. I enjoyed this reading very much. It was alarming to read how distressed the author was about her colored son growing up in today's society. She discusses the Michael Brown shooting case that recently happened. This is not the first time a shooting like this has happened and unfortunately it probably will not be the last. She says, "Tell your children about how unbalanced it is — to put it mildly– that the news makes it seem as though only African-Americans commit crimes." I found again that this article was similar to that of McIntosh's. She brings up the issue of how colored people are followed around in stores or are assumed to be dangerous while white people rarely have that happen to them. A few things I found interesting that she said: "Speak up to the checker who asks for your black friend’s ID to take a check and not for yours.Talk about how racism isn’t history, it’s now." 

Racism and white privilege are happening now and many of us do not even realize it. Those of white race are privileged daily and may not be able to point it out like McIntosh did. Unfortunately it occurs in daily life. Why do we only sell nude colored band-aids? Why were 'flesh' colored crayons once made? Like McIntosh said, "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." Its time to recognize the problems and deal with them. 

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