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White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack By Peggy McIntosh - Book Report/Review Example

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The so-called white privilege is considered to be an unearned privilege simply because white people do not need to exert effort in order to gain advantages in the society. For the author, it was hard to recognize this social phenomenon since it does not reveal itself through acts of racism, but remains hidden within the social system…
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White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack By Peggy McIntosh
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"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack By Peggy McIntosh"

Download file to see previous pages In America, white people enjoy privileges in the society not so much because he/she does something to attain it but because it is bestowed upon him/her since birth. The author realized that, in this country, advantages already existent for someone who is born with the “right” skin color. To clarify the rather complex idea of white privilege, the author listed 50 instances where she experience white privilege in her daily life. According to her, one example of an unearned privilege of a white person is the representation and attention that the “white race” gets in different media specifically whenever American nationhood is often featured. Learning that the founding fathers of the nation belong to white American race gives white people the sense of pride and accomplishment that their own race made this country great. On the other hand, minority groups such as African Americans or Native Americans suffer from the lack of representation. Because of this, they feel excluded from the participation and discussion about our nationhood. It is through listing her daily experiences of white privilege that the author was able to unpack the “invisible knapsack” of a privileged white person in American society. According to her, it was hard to recognize the existence of the concept simply because the manifestations of white privileges do not come into a visible form of racist violence and outright discrimination. Instead, its presence remains to be denied and protected by political leaders or other people because they benefit from the system and continue to dominate it. As such, average white Americans feel that condemning racism is enough to achieve equality. However, what they do not know is that one must recognize the existence of such privileges to fully understand the dynamics of racism. In order to achieve genuine equality in this country, the author suggests that white people must be made aware of the “hidden” advantages that white people enjoy to comprehend the deep division among different races and culture in American society. With this, an important point raised by the author is the reason why the recognition of white privileges remains to be denied or unrecognized is because it invalidates the idea of meritocracy in the country. Meritocracy is very important in achieving the “American dream”. Our nation projects itself as a land of limitless opportunities to every individual who works hard for his dreams. Because of the existence of white privileges, the idea that life is what one makes is now considered as a false belief. Recognizing that being white brings many advantages to a person is affirming that there indeed is a myth of meritocracy in this country. As such, many white Americans continue to deny or choose to ignore its existence. On the last part of the essay, the author encourages white people to recognize white privilege because it hinders the country’s goal to promote equality. Equality means that privileges are ensured to those who earn it through hard work. It also means having the same and equal opportunities with everyone despite the differences in ethnic background and skin color. For a white person, it is difficult to recognize such privileges because the social system makes its existence invisible. Also, admitting the existence of white privileges denies the foundation of the American dream which grants meritocracy. A Critique of Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege From the article, one can realize that white privilege is a complex term that is very difficult term to define simply because its existence is not visible in the society. Because white privilege is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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