The Importance Of White Privilege In Society

Great Essays
Register to read the introduction… White privilege is ignored by whites in society because we live in a nation of white dominance. Whites most often ignore the fact that blacks and other minorities do not enjoy these advantages. McIntosh defines white privilege as the many advantages white people enjoy, often seen as normal, and are largely unnoticed by society. Peggy McIntosh describes white privilege as “an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.”(Calihealth). All of these things listed are seen by whites as the “normal” things that are available to all in society, ignoring the fact that Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and other minorities do not have ready access to or enjoy these privileges. White privilege, expressed by McIntosh, is the ability to be surrounded by those of the same race, not being subject to constant surveillance in public, being included as a positive part of history, being able to conveniently shop for “American” foods and hygiene products, dropping in at any barber shop for a haircut and someone working there having the knowledge to perform the cut of my choice, and the list goes on and …show more content…
This privilege creates an ease that other races do not have, nor will they ever have, until the white race acknowledges that privilege exists. The white race acknowledging their privilege would mean agreeing that racism exists, and the white man would have to give up his power, agreeing that the other races have been oppressed by the white race. The racial identity of a white male or white female seems to be hidden, underlying, and almost secretive. "White" people have been placed on a pedestal for a long time, leading to stereotypes about other races that perpetuate the inequality(Recupero pg 1). White privilege has existed throughout history and is still a touchy subject in white society today. White privilege exists in almost every function of daily life from education, housing, finances, and even healthcare. Education, no child left behind, a right for all American youth, none of these things advertise that the best educators are saved for the white students. Mortgage lenders request that the “race” box be checked, only to discriminate, offering higher interest rates to minorities, and approving loans only in “minority” neighborhoods, usually those with lower property values consisting of low quality education, high crime and poor environmental awareness. In these lower class neighborhoods, quality healthcare is unavailable or severely inconvenient, while the white neighborhoods enjoy highly educated doctors, hospitals and clinics at every corner. Somewhere in our cultural unconscious lies the image of the brutal, animalistic, sexual savage. This image was created long ago as part of the cultural work that was done to make whites feel better about slavery. But even now, with slavery long gone, the images are still part of our cultural system and they impact the cultural meanings of white and black

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    What is a privilege? Privilege is defined as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most” (dictionary.com). Privilege is different for everyone, and how an ethnic group chooses to see or act upon a certain privilege. White privilege in particular, is all around us; people who choose not to see it or are unmindful of its presents seem to be living in denial. Others in the white community feel that being white is not a privilege but a disadvantage, they feel that other ethnic groups are actually the more privileged group.…

    • 1443 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The extensive notion that white people have access to specific privileges; of which people of color do not, because of their “whiteness” declares the actuality of white privilege. It can exist without white people 's knowledge of its occurrence. If one does not believe it exists, it is probably because he/she is enjoying the benefits of these given privileges. These are the same people who claim that white privilege is fictitious and people of color or anyone else who point out social injustice are just lazy and complainers. White privilege is seemingly invisible to those who enjoy it and grants white people permission to experience these benefits unconsciously.…

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He in America you are different and unique and have equal rights. Yet, that is not the case at all and some have learned this the hard way. African Americans and other minorities have been racially profiled for a long time just because they are not white. In most cases white American’s experience less discrimination, sexual prejudice and less on our government laws. White, heterosexual men dominate the positions of power and women are still fighting for equality in this country.…

    • 1041 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    One other problem with the invisibility of whiteness is that whites tend to cater to other whites. Dyer explains, “ White people speak about nothing but white people its just that we coach it in terms of people in general ” (p.11). Furthermore, whiteness…

    • 1324 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    White privilege has to do with getting away with certain actions or being accommodated to for being white. It does not mean that all white people grew up in mansions while surrounded by gold bars. The reverse discrimination claims made by Caucasians are basically rude comments or affirmative action doing what it is supposed to do. It is in no way oppression or racism. In a different article one man stated that “‘whites have never really felt terribly secure in their majority status,’ he says.…

    • 2156 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Some white people believe that if they never said a racist slur or burn a cross in anyone yards then they do not benefit from the oppression of people of Color. What few white people understand is that their privilege stays with them as long as people of Color are being subjugated. Racism is a whole system and in deeply a part of society in the United States and that does not change because one white person decides not to be racist. Although is not the only harmful idea white people have about privilege. Another misconception is that being privileged makes one feel powerful.…

    • 1160 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    White privilege is real, white people have a much easier time progressing through life than people of color. To claim oppression or empathy would make you a bigot. We are not the United States, we are separate and unequal and denying racism is a form of racism just as well. As President Obama stated “Race relations have clearly improved in our lifetimes, but we are not cured of racism and it is not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***** in public. Slavery and discrimination cast a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.” Phrases like “white guilt” referring to people of color making white people feel guilty for being white are pejorative phrases, just “feeling guilty” does not help the problems and inequalities that people of color face every day.…

    • 920 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    First white people who believe themselves white. This is not about a white person being born white and thinking “I’m white”. It is about them thinking they are white because they do what white people do. They think the “white culture” is better than those of minorities and look down on minorities’ culture and way of life as being poor and uneducated. With this mindset people will build stereotypes that anyone who lives that way of life is not good enough to have what a white person has, like a nice house, car, or even a decent job.…

    • 2129 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The perspective of the white man has been put high up on a pedestal when it comes to what is right or wrong in society. From the evidence given in Women without Class and Black Skin, White Masks, it is obvious that the “white gaze” has an influence on minority groups and the way that they are able to live their lives. The consequences of this influence vary from hatred of the white community to the individuals in these minority groups actually believing that they are of less importance than the whites. The black men being treated as children and believing they were less than in comparison to the white men was a perfect example of Cooley’s Looking Glass Self (Smirnova 2015). The perspective of the white students and faculty in the discussion of Las Chicas was that the chicas were low class and they were not going to go far with their education (Bettie 58).…

    • 1291 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A person cannot stop being white; therefore, they will always reap the benefits of white privilege even if they feel they have done nothing to earn the privileges. Minorities on the other hand feel stuck in their lives because of disadvantages. Since most African Americans do not receive the same education as Caucasian students, they are not prepared for college in the same way. Less education leads to fewer opportunities. If African Americans are not provided with the same education, most likely they will not reach the same level of success as Caucasian students.…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays