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White Privilege and Male Privilege - Essay Example

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Privilege refers to immunity which is granted as a unique benefit. It can also refer to an advantage, a favor, a prerogative particularly when such a prerogative or immunity is pegged specifically on a given socioeconomic construct such as gender, race, creed, ideology, ethnicity or religion…
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White Privilege and Male Privilege
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"White Privilege and Male Privilege"

Download file to see previous pages It is for this reason that privilege may be seen as a special immunity or entitlement that is granted by socioeconomic and political systems to individuals, based on gender, race, creed, ideology, ethnicity or religion.
There seems to be a strong correlation between privilege and Protestant work ethic. The correlation is based on the fact that privilege modifies or encourages Protestant work ethic. Particularly, gender-related socioeconomic privilege encourages Protestant work ethics by placing work and responsibility on male shoulders, while the woman is sidestepped. The situation is compounded by a patriarchal society [as was in the case of pre-1950s America] where the forces of production such as capital, land and labor and even opportunities are inordinately in the hands of the male industrialists and capitalists.
According to McIntosh, normally, the male industrialists, entrepreneurs and capitalists were white American. Specifically, given that Protestant work ethic stresses that people should be seriously dexterous and taking their social security into their hands, the socioeconomic marginalization of women and non-White Americans has appeared somewhat justifiable, given that white men were the ones appropriating the means of production, accessing opportunities and shouldering responsibilities (McIntosh, 126, 127).
In almost the same wavelength, there also seems to be a strong correlation between privilege and the bootstrap myth. Particularly, also known as the meritocracy myth, the bootstrap myth postulates that any person can go to the US with nothing and through the application of virtues such as diligence and upright living; the same could rise into the middle class within three generations. The concept of privilege relates with the bootstrap myth, by compounding it. This is because; those that are socioeconomically advantaged in the society use the bootstrap myth to explain away the reality of socioeconomic disparity that exists between race-based and/ or gender-based social classes. The gravity of the matter immediately above is that the bootstrap myth and the inordinately and unfairly distributed privileges easily conjoin to serve as a tool in the hands of the dominant culture or class. For instance, in the pre-1950s America, Caucasian males used the same to support the idea that the American society was fair and egalitarian and that race-based or gender-based or ethnic-based discrimination and segregation had been faced out. To this effect, the underdogs such as women and African Americans were underprivileged simply because they were shiftless sluggards. Another way in which the bootstrap myth seems to propound sexist ideas against women is its penchant for overlooking the considerable degree of success that women have made. More than half of women in the US are presently middle class, though this is never mentioned in the bootstrap myth, and thereby helping underscore the suspicion that the theory is always amenable to sexist mindsets. A critical observer will find the bootstrap theory objectionable on the ground that success in America is a culmination of several factors such as education, political rights, knowledge of English, gender-based hiring and promotion practices, growth of the labor market, family support, parents' class and education and internalized sexism and/ or racism. Also, the idea of Protestant work ethic can be seen to be neither supportive nor compatible with the truth on the socioeconomic realities of gender-based discrimination. The Protestant work ethic assumes that diligence and being upright are the chief and sole ingredients of success, while this is not the case. On the contrary, there are other factors that determine ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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