white privilege response..

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It has been four days since our class discussion about Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege", and after taking some time to step back and think more about the topic at hand I realized white privilege will not fade. This whole idea that "If it ain't White, it ain't right" is here to stay. And while that may seem like a grim outlook on society's progression, it is fact, white privilege is a staple in American society. It is the basis of American society. There are too many aspects of life in America that give its white citizens an unfair advantage over all other ethnic groups. And I firmly believe that while Peggy McIntosh is an exception to the rule, White Americans will not forfeit the privileges that have been embedded within.

I work at Nickelodeon Universe. The amusement park that is in the middle of the Mall of America. I am a ride operator and work primarily with the smaller children that come to the park. I am fairly new to this position, yet I have already seen rather interesting displays of white privilege. For example, offering cash to allow their children to ride rides that are not designated for them (i.e. height, physical ability, etc). I feel as though it is assumed that I can be "bought" or "bribed" into breaking the rules JUST for their child; no one else's. Forget the fact that the rules about which rides certain children can ride are in place for safety and quality of experience while at the park, that does not appear to matter. Yet, if some ill-fated occurrence were to happen on a ride that was not for their child to begin with I would be at fault and they would be appeased.
It tickles me to know that there are people who believe that they are the exceptions to the rules, period. However, I have noticed that this belief system is at the core of white privilege. And while it is more apparent in some people than others that belief of being the exception to the rules is embedded in white privilege and will not be forfeited.

4 Comments

I agree with you when you say that white privilege has become the norm and is evident in almost all aspects of American society and that it most likely wont go away. But I don't think that it is such a lost cause, or at least the way you make it seem.

As in the case of biological evolution, racial differences take time to morph. The racial divides that exist today were created relatively recently. Through travel and trade in earlier centuries, Africans bought and sold from Europeans who traded with Persians and none was declared a "superior" group- only different. Perhaps in this way they were closer to the ideal that Dr. Young suggested of different but equally respected groups.

This isn't to say that things will just change on their own. In order for this stratificiation system to be undone (and not just racial, but socioeconomic, gender, sexual orientation based, etc.) we are all going to have to work at it. Just as injustice has always existed, so does it continue to exist; the only thing that changes are the names of the oppressed and the names of the oppressors. My personal battle is to better the lives of undocumented Latino immigrants and to ease the oppression, marginalization, and extreme violence they are met with here in the US.

I guess my point of all this is that yes, the situation does look grim because it is the only situation we of this time period have ever known... Injustice, oppresion, discrimination and exploitation abound... But that doesn't mean that life will always be this way. Feminism has changed the status of women enormously, at least in so-called "developed" nations. Race continues to present more challenges for a number of historical reasons, namely slavery. However even these racial divides must blur and morph with time, just as our socially defined "races" themselves will do.

I don't disagree with any point that you have made thus far; in fact I doubt that you and I disagree with anything on this matter. My only point was that I was trying to look "big picture" and realize that time alters everything, and that although we need people to "be the change they want to see in the world" that change IS INEVITABLE and that there is hope for a different and better world for all groups of people. I was feeling a bit philosophical at the time I wrote my response, which is why I used the example of biological evolution as a metaphor to represent changes over the course of time.

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This page contains a single entry by weath086 published on September 12, 2011 5:23 PM.

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