Sunday, February 7, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack 
By: Peggy McIntosh

1. "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group"

Peggy McIntosh starts by saying this, she is implying that every one is taught racism at some point and its meaning. She brings up “white privilege” and how there is power that exist for white males, they have an advantage over everyone. Many whites are unaware that they discriminate those of a different race they grew up around isolation of those who are not “the same”, therefore they do not see themselves and racist. 

2. “We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck.”

Privilege is something we favor no matter how we received it. Living in the United States and being white we are privileged with jobs, homes, water, and so much more. We earned this privilege by being born into it. Without our family history we may have never been blessed to have this privilege. Privilege can be used in countless ways and some neglect to think that they are privileged in some way. McIntosh uses the term privilege throughout her article, she talks about the “Daily effects of white privilege” that she experiences throughout her life.

3. "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilegeas males are taught not to recognize male privilege."

Whites are taught not to see that they are privileged, to see what they have and do as the normal ideal life that anyone would want. The see that having a job and being served first as ideal and that they are not privileged. Males are taught to not see they have a privilege over women. For each dollar a man makes a woman non-hispanic or black will make $0.78 but hispanic black will make less than them but a hispanic will make the least. The two privileges are not that far off from one another.

Questions-Comments-Points to share:

While reading this article I made the connection to the activity we did by Grinner. Grinner talks about how the United States is symbolized by “Whiteness” and “Male-ness” which is also demonstrated throughout McIntosh’s article. I feel as a future educator I should teach my students that everyone is the same and should be treated with the same “privileges” as everyone else. If this was to be taught would it be carried to the generations after and considered the new “norm”? 


  1. I think you did a great job describing each quote. I really enjoyed your picture because I think it sums up everything. People who have the advantage really don't recognize that they have it. They are enjoying the benefits and are not realizing that there are other people on the other end of the stick, who struggle daily because things don't come as easy to them.

  2. This quotes were the same ones that I thought of when I was reading it. I think that the third one was one that really stuck out for me, and it does seem a little like we are taught not to recognize privilege.

  3. You did a really nice job of picking quotes and discussing each of them. I agree with your explanation of each of the quotes. I really like the picture you picked because it is a true statement.

  4. I also noticed and commented on the fact that this article closely related to the SCWAAMP topic presented by Griner, and how i've began seeing the relation to that topic in daily life as well as the articles we have been reading. Really nice job explaining the quotes which helped me gain a better understanding of the article. Thank you!

  5. I love the picture that you chose! It did a really good job of taking everything and summarizing it together in one picture, and it hit the main point that McIntosh was trying to get across with her article! You did a fantastic job of explaining your quotes as well!