Monday, February 8, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack 
By: Peggy McIntosh 

The author, McIntosh, argues that white privilege is everywhere, but white people do not see it. One of McIntosh's stronger points was made in paragraph three when she says "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege." She is arguing that whites do not see white privilege because whites are taught to not see it. This is where the "invisible knapsack" is seen because whites have it and benefit from it, but cannot see it.  Another strong argument she makes is under the "Elusive and Fugitive" section of the article. In the very first sentence she proves her own point by discussing how she had to write down ways that white privilege effects her or else she would forget. I believe here she was saying how it is so common for these white privilege events to happen, that she doesn't even notice them in everyday life. Another good argument that Peggy McIntosh makes is when she says " If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own." This quote is very similar to what Kristof argues in his article. They both say how things are available to some people, while they are not available to others; regardless of how hard someone works. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

While reading this article I came up with a question. McIntosh focuses on women's studies, and that's where she started researching. My question to the class would be, "What do you think is more relevant; Male Privilege or White Privilege?" I'm really not sure where I stand on the question which is why I wanted to ask the class and she what arguments could be made. Also, another thing I wanted to discuss was how this article had many connections to other things we have read this semester. I only pointed out Kristof, but I think there was a connection to every other article we read this semester in this one. 


  1. I think that asking what privilege is more relevant white or male is a relevant question to ask although I think it is the wrong question to ask. We are not reading these articles and collecting this information to build an argument of who and what is more relevant, but how can we see the problems presented and work to eliminate their dominance on society. I feel like asking which is more dominate as apposed to which is more relevant would get you more intellectually stimulating response.
    I enjoyed your use of picture in this blog though, bringing facts into your blog in the right way!

  2. I love the picture you posted that definitely ties your whole blog post together! The one thing that I really liked about McIntosh article was that she admits that white privilege does affect her. This is also the same with Johnson because he also admits that he is a white, heterosexual man. I feel like that since these author know this they can see the bigger picture and the problem revolving around this.