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Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:40 PM

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

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 that 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 that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can deal with 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 second-hand clothes or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the 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 worlds' 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 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 or 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 coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

23. I can choose public accommodations 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 chose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color that more or less matches my skin.

The rest: http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html

59 replies, 5766 views

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Arrow 59 replies Author Time Post
Reply White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (Original post)
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 OP
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #1
Spazito Apr 2012 #2
AngryAmish Apr 2012 #3
sinkingfeeling Apr 2012 #4
msongs Apr 2012 #5
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #7
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #11
trumad Apr 2012 #58
JackBeck Apr 2012 #6
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #13
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #14
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #18
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #51
JackBeck Apr 2012 #15
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #17
JackBeck Apr 2012 #19
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #21
JackBeck Apr 2012 #23
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #25
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #22
Ecumenist Apr 2012 #8
WillyT Apr 2012 #9
Nye Bevan Apr 2012 #10
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #12
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #16
Skittles Apr 2012 #20
LiberalLoner Apr 2012 #24
K Gardner Apr 2012 #26
nadine_mn Apr 2012 #27
cliffordu Apr 2012 #28
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #29
cliffordu Apr 2012 #31
redqueen Apr 2012 #45
Orrex Apr 2012 #30
bart95 Apr 2012 #39
redqueen Apr 2012 #48
Orrex Apr 2012 #59
WillyT Apr 2012 #32
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #33
Zax2me Apr 2012 #34
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #44
uponit7771 Apr 2012 #52
bart95 Apr 2012 #35
bullwinkle428 Apr 2012 #37
bart95 Apr 2012 #42
bart95 Apr 2012 #36
bullwinkle428 Apr 2012 #38
bart95 Apr 2012 #41
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #43
bart95 Apr 2012 #46
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #54
bart95 Apr 2012 #55
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #57
Ikonoklast Apr 2012 #50
grantcart Apr 2012 #40
redqueen Apr 2012 #47
bart95 Apr 2012 #49
Marrah_G Apr 2012 #53
Greybnk48 Apr 2012 #56

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:44 PM

1. THANK YOU!! The economical reasons listed are enough and not disputeable

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:46 PM

2. Excellent!

Makes the point very well.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:47 PM

3. Perfect!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:49 PM

4. Excellent list. Could also add registering to vote and voting to it.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:50 PM

5. some incorrect statements on this list but don't let that get in the way lol nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:51 PM

7. Such as...?

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Response to msongs (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:57 PM

11. Pink is blue...lol!! see, we call can make unsubstantiated claims and run

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Response to msongs (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:09 PM

58. Still waiting for the incorrect info.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:51 PM

6. I have the privilege of being unaware of my white privilege.

The first step in breaking down institutionalized racism is acknowledging your own unearned and invisible privilege.

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Response to JackBeck (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:04 PM

13. I would argue that "institutionalized" racism isn't broken down primarily by individuals

 

changing their beliefs.

For example, the continuing attacks on public sector workers and public education disproportionately affect black workers. Ironically, the attacks on education are being sold as 'the great civil rights issue of our time' by people like Jeb Bush. These attacks are being directed from the highest levels, not by the beliefs of random white individuals.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:08 PM

14. Historically this the case, to protect the society against "isms" of all type laws have to be...

...enacted and enforced

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #14)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:16 PM

18. Unclear as to your meaning. Historically what is the case?

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #18)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:47 AM

51. That individuals don't break he "isms" of human nature its usually a group of people enacting

...and enforcing laws

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:10 PM

15. The intent of identifying privilege

is not to strip privilege away from those with privilege, but rather to identify that privilege exists.

Once all members of society enjoy the same privileges, there are no longer privileges, but rather equality for all members of society. This is a commonly held belief by individuals who work in any social justice movement.

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Response to JackBeck (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:15 PM

17. I don't think there are many people who would deny the existence of privilege. But I don't think

 

privilege disappears just because the average joes recognize its existence. That would imply that the average joes directly control the reins of power and are the direct instigators of the system of privilege. They don't, and they aren't.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #17)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:17 PM

19. I said up-thread that identifying privilege is the FIRST step. (nt)

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Response to JackBeck (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:40 PM

21. And I'd say that *first* step was taken long ago.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #21)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:46 PM

23. Looking at some of the discussions currently on the first page of GD

I'd say that there are posters here at DU that have some catching-up to do.

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Response to JackBeck (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:52 PM

25. That may be. Or perhaps you're misunderstanding some of them. Be that as it may,

 

the fact that everyone in the country doesn't accept the concept of white privilege or privilege generally doesn't mean that it hasn't been identified and widely acknowleged.

The idea that *everyone* must agree for things to change is one of the things I find problematic about the discussion of white privilege.

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Response to JackBeck (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:44 PM

22. Also, I'd add that so long as there is a system of privilege, some will be privileged. The

 

privilege can be granted by race, ethnicity, religion, "merit" as defined by the already privileged, caste, any number of things.

Systems of privilege exist to reserve most of the privilege to a narrow fraction of the population, however privilege is defined.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:52 PM

8. My life is EXACTLY opposite of what is listed here. Wil, by posting this here, you've set out what

makes the difference between people who look like my husband and people who look like me. It's shame and although many people, (black white, brown, yellow, blue or polka dot), don't want to admit or even acknowledge the disparity that exists and has ALWAYS existed in America, the facts are that if someone who is white were to be given the option of changing places with someone like me, there's not enough money in China to pay them enough to do it.

I grew up with my mother pounding into my head that in order to attain the things I wanted to, I would have to 250% where a white person would reach the threshhold at 75%. She had experienced it herself and began to prepare me from the moment I could understand. How many white children are told that?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:53 PM

9. Yep... K & R !!!




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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:54 PM

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

Unless I'm visiting the White House.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 03:58 PM

12. +1

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:10 PM

16. Win

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 04:22 PM

20. I have an African American boss!

yes INDEED

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)


Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 05:26 PM

26. K&R

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 05:40 PM

27. I had a fellow DUer tell me in another thread that White Privilege doesn't exist

Of course, he is white...so...

Thank you for this

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 05:48 PM

28. OK, Will.

I have snarked, insulted, and ridiculed you a thousand times for some of the drivel you've written here.

But this is EXACTLY right.

You have this EXACTLY right.

Thanks.

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Response to cliffordu (Reply #28)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 05:50 PM

29. Um...

Thanks...I think.



The wild part is that this was originally published in 1990. I first read it during a training seminar back when I was teaching.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #29)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 06:04 PM

31. Aw, crap.

didn't see the link -

I thought YOU wrote that.

Ah, well.....As you were.



Anyway - great post and the absolute truth.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #29)


Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 06:02 PM

30. You know, when I read these "privilege lists" posted on DU, I want to call bullshit

I mean, it seems over-the-top and cherry-picked to make the case.

But...






then I realize that this is a problem of my ego, and--like it or not--I need to accept that I benefit from the listed privilege (and many more) even if I don't bother to realize it.

That was a hard lesson to learn.

There's a strong temptation to say "yeah, but..." about any or all of the entries on the list, but a little honesty allows one to see the truth of the list as a whole, unpalatable though it might seem.

The additional and underlying lession is that even if should have a bad day or some sour experience or another, I need to remain conscious of the fact that the same experience would be that much harder if I were Latino or African-American or female.


Like I said, a hard lesson to learn. It has to overcome ego and aesthetics and the simple failure to see from another's perspective, and it's easy to see why so many resist the meaning of the checklist.

But once learned and truly accepted, it greatly improves one's ability to understand how profoundly and fundamentally our society maintains its tradition of inequality.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:22 AM

39. i worked with a chinese co-worker, who told me about the cultural revolution

 

in the 1960s, where relatives woudl be taken away to re-education camps, with endless public self-confessions

'it's easy to see why so many resist the meaning of the checklist. '

he made it easy for me, i'll give you that

and by the way, what you just went through was called an 'encounter group' in the late 1960s and early 1970s

you know what they called their graduates? ---> 'fool'

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Response to Orrex (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:37 AM

48. Is it easy to see why so many resist?

Maybe if you're white or male.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #48)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 01:30 PM

59. That's my point exactly!

It took an embarrassingly long time for my eyes to be opened on this, because it was so easy to convince myself that the perks of being a white male were actually due somehow to my own efforts or accomplishments. It's a seductive trap, because who wants to find out that they benefited from an accident of birth rather than from their own hard work?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 08:16 PM

32. Kick !!!


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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:01 AM

33. Kick

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:07 AM

34. Get that white man. This is for Trayvon ... Trayvon lives- Kill that white man

 

http://www.wokv.com/news/news/local/beating-victim-attackers-said-trayvon/nMLFb
Beating victim: Attackers said "this is for Trayvon"

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Response to Zax2me (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:31 AM

44. Your point?

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Response to Zax2me (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:50 AM

52. Why did you post this? Thx in advance

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:12 AM

35. these endless 'white privilage' threads on this site are starting to remind me of hotel rwanda

 

and it's radio endlessly going on about 'the cockroaches'

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Response to bart95 (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:21 AM

37. Are you saying you're white and somehow feel threatened or intimidated by these threads?

BTW, kind of sloppy form to mis-spell "privilege" when it's correctly spelled in the title of the OP.

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #37)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:25 AM

42. no, just noting some eerie similarities

 

and i apologies for the misspelling, mr spelling cop

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:16 AM

36. 27. I can find countless threads daily on DU telling me that my race is unjust nt

 

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Response to bart95 (Reply #36)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:21 AM

38. Way to miss the point completely.

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #38)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:23 AM

41. back at you nt

 

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Response to bart95 (Reply #41)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:30 AM

43. Thanks for kicking my thread

four times.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #43)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:34 AM

46. you're welcome

 

i'm becoming convinced that sunshine is the best disinfectant

far more effective than any argument i could ever make

go ahead and alienate a part of the base (you rightly or wrongly believe) has the most power to help

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Response to bart95 (Reply #46)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:00 PM

54. Five times

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #54)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:02 PM

55. now six nt

 

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Response to bart95 (Reply #55)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:05 PM

57. Sweet

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Response to bart95 (Reply #36)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:45 AM

50. Seems that the truth is quite upsetting to you.

Don't worry, the way that you are going, you will not have to read it for very much longer.



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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:23 AM

40. 27. Blend in


Implied in the above but not explicitly stated is the simple act of sitting in a room of other people and just blend in without calling attention to your self.

I was a hyperactive kid and was in constant trouble as a kid for talking in class a lot of the time. I guess I was trying to get attention.

When I lived in another country and spent extended periods as the only white person in the crowd I became aware that when you look different, even when there is zero animus, you are always on display. Some people are always noticing you.

Now this was Thailand and the Thais are very kind to outsiders so it doesn't appoximate the kind of pressure someone would experience when the attention is either hostile or potentially hostile, but simply realizing that you are always on display and that you must always be cognizant of your posture, your speech, your dress, and so on is really exhausting.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:35 AM

47. Published in 1990... the concept around for years before that...

and yet so many people STILL don't get it, and take any discussion or mere mention of white privilege as a personal affront (well I'm poor! I sure don't feel very privileged!)

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Response to redqueen (Reply #47)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:45 AM

49. it was called 'Encounter Group Therapy' in the late 1960s and 1970s

 

where people would dish out venom and claim to be 'helping others'

a dark form of the passive/agressive fad of the era

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:59 AM

53. You get it

I'm hoping that all the discussion with week opens the eyes of alot more people.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:03 PM

56. I just taught this article by Peggy MacIntosh on Wednesday

In my Bus Ethics class. I use it in almost every class I teach (PHI)

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