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Perspective View on the Invisible Knapsack - Essay Example

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Perspective View on the Invisible Knapsack BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE DATE HERE Perspective View on the Invisible Knapsack Peggy McIntosh, it seems, intends to educate who she labels as oblivious of the perceived advantages that white individuals in America receive simply due to their skin color…
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Perspective View on the Invisible Knapsack

Download file to see previous pages... However, despite her hypothesis, I believe that Peggy McIntosh is only viewing the situation through a narrow lens without addressing the known advantages that people of color also maintain in American culture. I believe that the author is significantly exaggerating the problem in an effort to impose her own values associated with ethics and morality and is translating this into a somewhat passive, yet highly motivated attack on men and white culture. McIntosh rather expertly comes up with a variety of different examples to reinforce what she refers to as unearned white advantages. The key word in this analysis is unearned, indicating that people with white skin in America automatically experience advantages due to very long-standing cultural traditions and social system development. Now, if McIntosh is correct in her assessment that historical scenarios have provided these privileges, then there would certainly be a type of cultural bias occurring with white citizens of America that would provide some benefits over people of color. However, she seems to be focused on expressing that these unearned advantages are creating problems that white people are either unable to change (should they desire to) or simply see historically-driven advantages as a type of entitlement with most being relatively comfortable with these privileges. This is where there is an underlying sense of superiority stemming from the author about the ethical or moral issues for those who simply find comfort with their entitlements. This is why I have substantial issues with McIntosh’s position on white privilege as, despite the many examples provided to illustrate her point of view, not everyone in society shares the same values and principles related to morality. There is a concept in social psychology known as moral relativism which is the belief that there is no singular method of determining what is actually right or wrong in society. Because of this, people should be tolerant of the actions and behaviors of others as there is no framework of morality that has been adopted and accepted by the entire national population. Sociology research has shown us in society that many subcultures exist in America in which people maintain varying beliefs. There are groups that applaud violence as a lifestyle, others that believe in the merits of male-dominated households where women must remain subservient, and even groups that believe in the moral superiority of polygamy. Though these are only an example of the vastly differing value systems in today’s America, human rights advocates (as one relevant social group) continue to express to majority society that we need to respect the rights of others under a type of live and let live mentality that seems to be very common in the United States. I tend to believe more strongly in the moral relativism philosophy and McIntosh attempting to superimpose her own moral values over this relativism set of values causes me considerable concern about the validity of her arguments. Peggy McIntosh describes the ease by which she can find strong representation of the white culture in a variety of places, ranging from media sources to the wide variety of foods available in the local supermarket that tend to cater to the tastes of white citizens. However, in large metropolitan areas in this country, other ethnic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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