Understanding White Privilege

Understanding White Privilege

What Is White Privilege? Privilege, particularly white or male privilege, is hard to see for those of us
who were born with access to power and resources. It is very visible for those to whom privilege was not
granted. Furthermore, the subject is extremely difficult to talk about because many white people don’t feel powerful or as if they have privileges others do not. It is sort of like asking fish to notice water or birds to discuss air.

For those who have privileges based on race or gender or class or physical ability or sexual orientation, or age, it just is- it’s normal. The Random House Dictionary (1993) defines privilege as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.” In her article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” Peggy McIntosh (1995) reminds us that those of us who are white usually believe that privileges are “conditions of daily experience… [that are] universally available to everybody.” Further, she says that what we are really talking about is “unearned power conferred systematically” (pp. 82-83)

Read the entire article here.