White Privilege Reflection

After having read Peggy McIntosh’s paper, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1988), I couldn’t help but feel really empowered but hopeless at the same time. As a white person myself, I think it’s super important to know the extent to which our privilege extends, and use that for good. McIntosh made some really good points though, “systemic change takes many decades” (pg 7), “invisible systems conferring unsought
racial dominance” (pg 6), among many others. Even though it has been many decades since McIntosh wrote this paper, white privilege is still very much present in our common day society. You’d think that since people are more accepting and open, it wouldn’t be like that, however, it goes along with the point she made about the “invisible systems”. These invisible systems still challenge people of colour. They still work to maintain the whiteness of our world. It appalls me about how much of this privilege is still ingrained in our (white peoples) heads, no matter how open and accepting they are. Even I, who I think has changed a lot of my thinking around to be less biased, more inclusive of others, have a long way to go in my process of thinking because this white privilege is drilled into my head and has been since I was born, without really knowing about it. This article was inspiring for the fact that I will start using McIntosh’s way of thinking and list to view it and reflect on it in my own life, to put it into the perspective of my life and the times right now. The disheartening part is that I don’t know what to do with that information other than continuously remind myself that others aren’t getting these ‘chances’ in situations just based on their skin colour and I will do my best to give people of colour the opportunity to have these chances by my own will, but sometimes it’s really out of my control. What do we do then? How do stop white privilege in big corporations? How do we fix the underlying effect it has on our society if not everyone wants to fix it?

Unfortunately, I am left with more questions than answers as it’s still a huge part of our daily lives still and this article was written in 1988. I will continue to reflect and research the topic as I am very passionate about removing that privilege so that everyone is treated how they should be, with utmost respect, given the same opportunities, accommodated for if something stands in the way of these opportunities.

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