The awareness on the privileges given to the white

The article “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.’ gives awareness on the privileges given to the white population. It shows how the author carefully words the factors and constructs faced by white privileges in society. The author goes into great detail to show the daily life privileges he is provided with for being white, which he ties in later showing how the social constructs of being white privileged is carried out.

            As Peggy McIntosh says in the beginning, “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” What she means by this is that everyone has been taught to see racism as something that is affecting the society, but never been taught to look at how or why society has been affected the way it has. She also makes another great comparison by saying “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” Her statement helps show the difference between individual and institutional racism because she separates the two, institutional being a racism form that is expressed in social groups, and individual being an act of racism that can occur at a subconscious level.

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

This statement relates with me because I am of Asian/Indian ethnicity. In some neighborhoods, there may be underlying worries about how people of color will be treated. This may be due to the fact of certain areas containing like-minded races disliking other races.

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

This statement also relates with me because the truth and reality of the matter is regardless of what sympathy and realities we may have, we will always be loyal to our own race. It may not represent the person’s mindset, but it justifies the invisible knapsack placed under white privilege.        


McIntosh, P. (1990). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School, 49(2), 31.