Last Updated 02 Apr 2020

The Invisible White Privilege

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White people, from birth, automatically benefit from their light skin color, enjoying the privileges relating to child care, education, hygiene, careers, politics, etc. Compared to white people, people of color are at a distinct disadvantage. They are treated differently than white people, and they are the ones that suffer, not having this same privilege. In Peggy McIntosh’s article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, McIntosh describes how whites carry the invisible privilege.

In society, white people are treated better than non-white people since segregation, beauty trends, political power, social connections, and street crime seem to be better for them. According to McIntosh, White Privilege is an invisible package of unearned assets granted to white people (McIntosh 1). They can enjoy special advantages that are beyond common advantages of people of color. White privilege is a social constructed phenomenon. Besides physical appearance, there is no biological difference between white people and the non-white people.

It is society that distinguishes whites from people of color, and it tends to recognize all races besides those who are white. Living in a society of white dominance, whites are carefully taught to ignore the fact that white privilege puts them at an advantage. This is because, according to McIntosh, deconstruction of white privilege threatens the myths and ideas about this nation, and it challenges the notion of equal opportunity and meritocracy (McIntosh 2). There are many ways that white privilege still exists today.

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Here are five examples of white privilege I find out in my life. 1. White parents do not have to be worried about their kids being scared at school. I learned from the news that at Delavan-Darien High School, the American Diversity class divides students into whites and non-whites, and tell non-whites students, “you have been oppressed and you are still being oppressed”. 2. White women represent beauty and lead the trends. Speaking of this, why don’t we take a look at the proportion of white models in the 2013 New York Fashion Week?

An official statistic shows that out of the 5,000 styles in last New York Fashion Week, around 80 percent were modeled by white women. Fewer than 1,000 styles were given to women of color (Dries 1). 3. White people occupy Congress. In Congress the total is 87 percent whites, which is divided into 85 percent in the House and 96 percent in the Senate (Portero 3). The voices of politicians of color are often drowned out in the politic sea of white dominance. 4. White people are able to achieve success more easily by using their connections.

Because of belonging to the dominant group, white people have more connection than people of color do. Based on this, they are more likely to succeed. 5. Whites do not have to be worried about being shot one day on the street. A well-known example can be the Shooting of Trayvon Martin. Making a run to the store to get some refreshments for his brother and himself, Martin was shot and killed by the neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman because, according to Zimmerman, “he was very suspicious.”

I think if Martin were a white guy, Zimmerman would not have seen him as a “real suspicious looking guy”. In society, people regard whites’ lives as morally neutral, normative, and ideal. Whites are elevated above people of color. Although I believe all racial groups are harmed in the long run by racism, white privilege still exists as a daily reality throughout every part of the structure in the United States.

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