Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Reflection

In Peggy McIntosh's article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, she states, that white privilege puts people like her, a white, american, educated, woman, at an advantage.

Peggy McIntosh
This applies to me and 99% of the people I am currently sitting here in Study Hall with. McIntosh cannot help but argue that men are over-privileged, and that men gain from women's disadvantages, but her main focus is the argument of racism putting people at a disadvantage. McIntosh states that whites are taught not to recognize that they have this certain advantage, in most cases of course.  She then has to ask the question of, "what will I do to lessen or end it (the advantage)?" But I cannot help but think to myself, do people under the description of white, american, and educated truly want to lessen or end their own advantages and privileges?  Would they want someone they believe to be underprivileged or at a disadvantage to be above them in any sort of way? McIntosh states, "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.", yet all of us white folk seem to think that we are better than every other race for some reason. For this blog post I decided to reflect on myself. I decided to reflect on what I truly believe in. What I am going to mainly focus on is the list of daily effects of white privilege that Peggy McIntosh believes to be true.  I will discuss if I feel these effects of white privilege occur in my life on a daily bases, and will argue against ones I find to not be true.

Before McIntosh begins her list of daily effects of white privilege, she adds, "As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions." As I read through this list, I cannot help but make faces of confusion, thinking of the African American families and friends that I have been introduced to throughout my life. Are most of them as terrified as this list makes them seem? Second guessing their every move so they're not considered a stereotype? So although I find myself agreeing with most of her beliefs of daily white privilege, I cannot help but disagree for the sake of the African American families that are at similar advantages as us "white people," aside from their skin tone. But then again, you truly do not know what it is like until you walk in their shoes, something I unfortunately will never be able to experience.  Especially with this past election, I can see why African Americans, both privileged and underprivileged, would feel the opposite of what this list entails.  

If I were of a different race, I would be afraid of this term "unpredictable."
Who knows what that holds for their future in America?

I would like to go back to the question, "what will I do to lessen or end the advantage?".  After reading this list of the daily effects of white privilege, I have come to find that people of all different, underprivileged races will never truly feel comfortable in their own skin. Therefore, I do not think there is a particular thing that I can do, besides be myself.  I am a privileged white, american, educated, woman who is kind, accepting, caring, friendly and polite.  I think that McIntosh says it best when she says, "I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will."  What I can do to try and lessen or end this advantage is choose to not stereotype or take a second look at someone's skin color or treat someone disrespectfully based on their race. If every privileged, white, american slowly begins to make this transition, then it is only a matter of time before that disadvantage disappears.

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