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26 Daily Effects of White Privilege that White Women Don't Even Realize Exist

List by Cinders posted over a year ago
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Peggy McIntosh, author of "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
From Peggy McIntosh's article available in full HERE. The rest of this article will be directly quoted from that. I posted the whole link as well, but for the tl;dr crowd, this is the meat and potatoes of it.

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. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow "them" to be more like "us."

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

6. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

12. I can swear, or dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much i fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to "the person in charge," I will be facing a person of my race.

19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.

22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.
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7 comments

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pandawinx said:
you do realize that with the no.3 reason, there is such thing as white racism. and Asian racism.

Oh well, good article anyway! the other points made sense!

-pandawinx. :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders said:
Number 3 (I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me) directly follows number 2 (If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live). Though she doesn't say it explicitly here, she is talking middle to upper middle class neighborhoods, which, in the United States, are composed primarily of White people.

To acknowledge white racism exists, as I said in the other pick, is important, but the same could be said about male sexism. There are chauvinist women who are sexist against men, but it doesn't change the massive amount of sexism that exists against women. It's important to keep in mind when discussing sexism, to be all inclusive, but there's a reason we hear more about sexism against women, especially institutionalized sexism.

It's the same with race. It's also important to note that some of it exists as a result of sheer ignorance on behalf of white people. I used to be incredibly ignorant about these matters. I don't mean mal-intentioned whites who have negative thoughts about minorities. I literally mean whites who simply just don't know any better, who are usually well-meaning, and just want to help.

Take, for example, the image of the White Hero, especially apparent in such inspirational films like "Dangerous Minds," where in the white teacher comes into a predominantly minority school and teaches the kids, essentially, how to act white to achieve in a white world. Though well intentioned, these stories come off as portraying the white person as the savior, and the minority students as those in need of saving. And this isn't a modern story, either. Google "White Man's Burden" if you don't know what I'm talking about.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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harold said:
Good article, though it isn't clear what parts are quoted directly from the original article and which are your commentary/bookends.

I have to say that it still bugs me to talk about race and color as synonymous, so in reading this I had to substitute "skin color" (or a grammatically correct variant such as "people with my skin color") for every instance of "race".

I'm also having a hard time wrapping my head around cases where #1 would NOT apply, honestly. Maybe "in every location" is implied? But I don't think that that's valid, either.

#11 is an illusion, of course.

(edit: fixed typo)
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Cinders said:
Everything but the preface is quoted directly from the article, including the quote at the end in bold. The last words I said in this soapbox were "meat and potatoes". The whole article is obviously longer, and unpacks some of these things.
posted over a year ago.
 
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pandawinx said:
i just found it a bit odd that you see it as a (quote) "White privilege" when clearly it is whatever race is the minority in that society. Actually, there are more black people than white people in the united states.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders said:
Can you rephrase that? I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying. What she's talking about are things that she doesn't have to consider as a member of the majority ruling class, not the minority. Additionally, I don't know where you're getting your facts, but according to the 2010 Census, 74.8% of the United States is white, not black.
posted over a year ago.
 
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This article is so true, sadly. I could pass for white, but im actually Latino, and thank god I live in a place full of latinos, but ive always hated the racism
posted over a year ago.