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White Privilege, Black Power
Two Authors Sound Off

By Around the Web
Friday, 14th August 2009

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In her piece White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Dr. Peggy McIntosh writes, "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?" Her list is below:

Daily effects of white privilege

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

6. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

7. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

8. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

9. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

10. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

11. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

12. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

13. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

14. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

15. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

16. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

17. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

18. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

20. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

21. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

22. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

23. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

24. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

25. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

Author and blogger Jewel Woods writes, "Male privilege is more than just a "double standard", because it is based on attitudes or actions that come at the expense of women. Just as white privilege comes at the expense of African Americans and other people of color, gender double standards come at the expense of women," in his piece for The Renaissance Male Project. His list is below:

The Black Male Privileges Checklist (the list has been truncated)

1. I don't have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.

2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.

3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.

4. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.

5. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.

6. I have the ability to define black women's beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.

7. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the "money shot.”

8. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.

9. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.

10. I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.

11. I have the privilege of not having black women, dress up and play funny characters- often overweight- that are supposed to look like me for the entire nation to laugh.

12. I can easily imagine that most of the artists in Hip Hop are members of my sex.

13. I can easily imagine that most of the women that appear in Hip Hop videos are there solely to please men

14. I can hear and use language bitches and hoes that demean women, with virtually no opposition from men.

15. I can wear a shirt that others and I commonly refer to as a "wife beater" and never have the language challenged.

16. I have the privilege to define black women as having "an attitude" without referencing the range of attitudes that black women have.

17. I have the privilege of defining black women's attitudes without defining my attitudes as a black man.

18. I have the privilege of believing that a woman cannot raise a son to be a man.

19. I have the privilege of believing that a woman must submit to her man.

2o. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.

21. I have the privilege of believing that the failure of the black family is due to the black matriarchy.

22. I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will.

23. I can spend endless hours watching sports TV and have it considered natural.

25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where the mutilation and disfigurement of a girl’s genitalia is used to deny her sexual sensations or to protect her virginity for males.

26. I have the privilege of not having rape be used as a primary tactic or tool to terrorize my sex during war and times of conflict.

27. I have the privilege of not being able to name one female leader in Africa or Asia, past or present, that I pay homage to the way I do male leaders in Africa and/or Asia.

28. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.

29. What is defined as "News" in Black America is defined by men.

30. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.

31. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.

32. My "strength" as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.

33. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

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Posted by: soulwriter
08-13-2009 , 14:52

It is mind-blowing to me that, in the 21st century, the mainstream still will go out of its way to deny the existence of White Privilege (yes, Black male Privilege exists too, but it doesn't impact a black woman's life as pervasively). The late, great James Baldwin once said, "you cannot fix what you will not face," and until this country recognizes how it affects people of color, those who benefit from WP cannot outright accuse minorities of abusing affirmative action, 'the race card,' etc.