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Peggy McIntosh's ''White Privilege'' - Book Report/Review Example

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Peggy McIntosh's ''White Privilege''

Skin color not only becomes an unknown privilege, but makes the white population (at large) curb colored races and their privileges. This assumption though is quite ideal and superficial also needs deeper classification and considerations about what constitutes whiteness- is it only skin color or is it also a certain way of ideological progression or point of view Is race an unified monolithic division based on skin-color Is whiteness or privileges that it bears excluded from all members of its race and vive versa
Peggy first discusses the "interlocking" system of "unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon" which helps to maintain the status quo of the hierarchy. Also this privilege is meant to be an attached "weightless knapsack" that brings in a world of comfort and unaided or unasked advantages for the white man. But her main argument is just not about underscoring this whole phenomenon, but to call for an end to it. But the challenges are many; since defeating the whole purpose also means fighting an unknown, unacknowledged and oblivious privilege and also to gain awareness about the ways in which it is invisibly "conditioned" to become a part of a the white skin color. She then adumbrates the effect of a "white" schooling that necessarily teaches the "White" students to think it normal, that they are the centres of a moral and ideal world and that they must try to make others more like them. The "us" and "them" parallel epitomizes the centrality of their view that immediately makes everything outside it, the periphery. Schooling is not just classified to white and racial politics. Infact schooling also initiates the whole process of inculcating various imbalances in the society. In that case not only is the race subjugated, but the degree of subjugation imposes greater concerns. Like the subjugation of a single colored economically weak female (working mother say) will yield a host of hostilities both in society and her workplace, which necessarily has not been just set into motion just because a white man/or woman has unknowingly cashed in on his/her unbridled freedom of whiteness. Again her immediate subjugators may be a colored man of the elite class who may be her boss and choose to sexually harass her. On the other hand a colored man may be sexually harassing a white woman and here the balance is quite not right in the basis of gender prowess and racial slander might not be quite the right way of addressing the situation. What I want to reflect is that she overemphasizes the complications between different races on the basis of their skin color. To assume that power structure is uniform is also an oversimplification. One must consider gender and economic probabilities that combine with such inequality of power play.

Peggy then counts the "daily effects" of being benefited for her skin color, and the ways in which she remains under its thrall too, to mistrust and derive unnecessary advantages from the sheer ignorance. Instead of listing the rights denied to a person of color or the ways in which their skin color make them marginalized in a supposedly free society, Peggy remains disturbed about having amassed undue and unearned privileges. The simple ...Show more


Peggy McIntosh published her prodigious article, "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work on Women's Studies." in 1988. A shorter mode of this inquiry was then published in1989 as, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," which again raised her contentions about the unfair balance that rests within the American society and its attitude (that of privilege) to gender, race, and sexuality…
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Peggy McIntoshs White Privilege essay example
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