The essay by Peggy McIntosh really gave me a lot to think about. Even though it was written in 1988, some of the conditions listed in her essay entitled White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack still have some merit today. Out of her fifty conditions, I chose to focus on three.
#20 I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race. I have however been called a credit to my sex but found it equally insulting and ignorant. I think that part of the reason that I have never been told that I am a credit to my race is because I have had little opportunities to be in conversations with people who are unlike myself. I also feel that by today’s standards such a comment would be socially unacceptable.
#21 I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. Why should I? All of my social and employment opportunities are among the Anglo-American sect. I couldn’t imagine being singled out like that or that someone would actually thinks that I would know how everyone else in my race feels or thinks.
#46 I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin. I have never seen bandages sold in stores in my neighborhood that would accommodate and African American’s skin tone. I went to my medicine cabinet to see for myself if there is a color listed on the package but there wasn’t. However, the picture printed on the box clearly showed that the bandages were for light-skinned customers. I wonder if stores in predominantly black neighborhoods sell darker bandages?
I plan to share this essay with family and friends. Society as a whole seems to be trying to address the larger more obvious effects of racism and discrimination but there are still many small issues that most folks don’t realize still exist.