White Privilege is Real


I can just about predict exactly how this thread will go, but like I told someone else on an unrelated topic: Just because it’s futile doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for.

I have snipped portions of Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh to demonstrate that White Privilege is real.

The article is now considered a classic by anti-racist educators. It has been used in workshops and classes throughout the United States and Canada for many years. While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topics.

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 which 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 checks.

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white
privilege on my life. I have chosen those conditions which I think in my case attach somewhat more to
skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can see, my African American co-workers,
friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

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

  2. 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.

  3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

  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

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

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

  8. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

  9. 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.

  10. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

  11. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

  12. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

  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 easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s
    magazines featuring people of my race.

  16. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

  17. I can choose bandages in a color and have them more or less match my skin.

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

In unpacking this invisible backpack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily
experience which I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the
holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some these
varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be
ignorant, oblivious, arrogant and destructive.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions which were
passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I
was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways, and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male
advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, themyth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

All emphasis is mine, and much of the article has been snipped.

Thoughts? Please, be specific. Address the numbered points and why you disagree with them, don’t take the intellectually lazy way out and just say I’m full of it.

Let the pile-on begin…

  1. No, because it is illegal to have “White groups”. That has been “racist” for a long time.

  2. Yes but this has nothing to do with my race. It has everything to do with the hard work I put in to creating my company.

  3. No I have a lot of horrible people where I use to live but I still loved the area. It was safe but had some very annoying people and some VERY racist minorities.

  4. IF you look at statistics white people are more likely to be attacked by a black people and all races are more likely to be attacked by blacks than by any other group.

  5. Yes and I can see other races as well.

  6. When I’m told about my heritage I can trace back to my family being slaves in the U.S. I can also trace it back to being called “Ape” and that is my “Irish” heritage.

  7. No my skin color has nothing to do with it. When I use a Credit Card it is based on my credit rating not my skin color. When I use a check it goes through check systems. Not my skin color. When I use cash its the same as every other race that uses cash in this country. So not based on my skin color.

  8. Not really. As you can see in many of the school shootings it was done by “White” kids.

  9. When I see a bum on the street I really don’t look at his skin color or wonder if he can read or not.

  10. I have never seen any speaker who put his “Race” on trial except for personal reasons. Sharpton, Jackson, BLM.

  11. No. If I do well I’m called a racist because of my skin color. If I give a white somebody a raise without giving black somebody a raise I can be called a “Racist” because of my skin color.

  12. No because I probably would not be the best to speak for one racial group since I make up many different European races.

  13. Not really. I worked in a very hispanic area. most of the businesses I dealt with were owned by hispanics.

  14. So when I was driving through a primarily black part of Los Angeles a few years back and got pulled over do you really think it had nothing to do with my skin color? Also, the IRS does not know your race. so that would not be a factor in being audited.

  15. Yeah and any other race as well.

  16. I could also be passed up for a job that I’m very qualified for because he gave the job to somebody of a different race.

  17. So now band-aid is a racist company?


@Rick thanks for having the courage to post this here. I’ve thought about posting it but wanted to avoid the frustration from the deniers. This article is dead on and will be until things change.

The single best thing a person can do to give themselves the best chance of success in life, is something they neither earn… nor have on iota of control over.

Being born a white male.

I crack up watching those who act superior or somehow think they’ve done something to earn being lucky in the birth lottery.


I would really like to have this discussion but it is long and has many moving parts… and at the end of the day, talking logic or anything remotely appearing to be logic to liberal progressives is like pounding your head into a steel door and not expecting any pain. I started a response that became longer than most people attention span when it comes to such issues. While I certainly believe in ‘white privilege’ the ways that it has manifest itself would be more than uncomfortable to you as it points all lot to inept government and misguided progressives… don’t think you would want to dissect that kind of stuff. We saw with the Benghazi question just how serious you FUD friend was in hearing what others thought…


Bump , ?


Bottom line is that all people are racist to a point and that seems to be human nature not to like what is different. I don’t believe in “white privilege”. All people have the same opportunities but some choose not to take advantage of those opportunities. The thing that gets me is how minorities have their hands out because they think they are owed something, well, i call BS on that. If a person wants something, they need to work for it and if they choose to steal instead of working, then they can go to jail or get shot at, then if the person happens to be black, everyone can cry about how blacks are oppressed. If the person happens to be white, then its not talked about. There is no color when it comes to doing right or wrong, nobody said life was easy. Privilege is an overused word and nobody is privileged except in that person’s mind, we all have to do the right thing to get what we want no matter skin color


It has nothing to do with privilege and everything to do with acting civilized. Half of those original bullets wouldn’t be applicable to poor whites in Appalachia, or your random poverty line living redneck, or even urban white trash. If you act like an animal society treats you as such. I don’t welcome or tolerate saggy pants wearing thugs of any kind in my neighborhood, but I would gladly welcome someone like Ben Carson or Sherriff Clarke. Nothing to do with race and everything to do with character and class.


DNC featuring Trayon Martin’s, and Michael Brown’s mothers this evening at the Philadelphia cook out.

Get ready for your head to explode you white trash!


I encourage you to listen to the words of these mothers closely tonight and try your best to understand them. This is the narrative than most of you here haven’t been listening to. It’s the narrative of America and should inspire all of us to strive for equality for ALL.


Did you listen to Sean Smiths mother?


I don’t know who Sean Smith is specifically by name but if he was unjustly killed by police simply for being an African-American then I am sure that I have come across his story in the past.


Rather narrowly focused I see… more like an agenda than a philosophy… all lives matter unless of course … “at this point… what does it matter!”


As Hillary says, what difference does it make, who cares anyway.


Blacks “commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime” in New York City, even though they consist of 23 percent of the city’s population.

12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers.

According to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed that by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.


Rick… You wanted to talk about white privilege and yet you don’t seem to want to engage. I mean you gave this big long list pointing a crooked finger at whites when some things are little more than a matter of economic and demographic circumstance that is in play everywhere in the world (ie - Japanese people, for as wonderfully hospitable as they are, cater to the tastes and wants of Japanese people). As the subject is so broad in scope I would like to suggest that we stick to narrow topics… bite size chunks so that we can understand the problem from each others perspective.

I would like to start by asking you what responsibility the people who created, in the name of the Great Society, and as the self proclaimed purveyors of black care, feel they have in the long term harm they have done in taking a huge portion of the black population and putting them in low income, low hope, poor education and low economic areas called ‘projects’. Keeping in mind of course that they were conceived, designed, funded and union built predominately by whites?


Humm… don’t want to talk about the projects… lets see here… … How about we talk about the white privilege that helped take care of little black children. The one where you got all benevolent and took money from one family (by force) and gave it to another family. It would have been a truly altruistic act if you had actually dug into your own pockets to make it happen… like what happened before charities got destroyed and people get arrested for giving food to the homeless.

Of course there was a hitch or two in the ‘program’. In their worldly ‘white’ wisdom, they (Progressives) decided that a family that had both parents shouldn’t need that money regardless if say, the father was working or not… and because of the last little program we talked about, the likelihood of his even being able to find work was slim…

So like any good manipulator with infinite wisdom, ‘they’ decided that if the father was in the home, the children would get no money for food and cloths. So now a family has to decide between a hungry child and a father or a fed child and a broken home… well, parents who love their children will do what is necessary.

Now what I can’t work out is if this is the result of Progressive White Privilege or is it Feminist White Privilege? Oh well, either way, the results are the same… A child without a father and an unemployed man without his family… Brilliant. If it’s Progressive White Privilege it’s typical and if it’s Feminist white privilege its pure cunning.

So what has happened… we now have black women who are the largest demographic of single mothers… and of course men who have been designed out of the roll of being a father with the calming influence of a wife and children to help guide him or a home for stability. Now, one has to wonder why they(Black women) just didn’t take advantage of that other progressive program… planned parenthood… could it be that they actually love their children and future generations more than they value ‘living their own life’?


Well… Strike Two… seems we aren’t interested in the subject of fatherless black children at the hands of White Privilege… I know!.. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about education… lets talk about the ivory tower whites who created the monstrosity that is … School Busing… yes.

Lets take poor black children out of their neighborhoods and away from their schools and in the case of Hispanics even breaking up families between schools and get them up early enough to put them in a bus to be carted across town to an strange school. They are now dislocated from their parents who have no ability to be involved in their school or interact with their teachers nor participate in the local PTA should they choose.

At the same time, like sacrificial lambs, white children (we will say white cause it was really white and all others) are gotten up early and forced to make the same journey in reverse only to be placed in schools that by all accounts were underfunded and lacked teachers good enough to educate the children in the first place.

In some cities like Boston the effect on education was so acute that the public school system lost students because of the lack of choice and the poor educational effects created by busing. Charlotte NC considers it a qualified success… black student test scores are up but school segregation has gone up dramatically in recent years as people demand that their children be schooled locally. But then again, this was nothing about education or welfare of the children… as a matter of fact, it really did not care about the long term effects on the children involved… it was about social engineering… talk about a white privilege power trip…


@Rick - too scared to defend your assertions?


I’ve got a long list too…:grin:


Rick nailed it. You know it and I know it.

There are so many misrepresentations from the deniers here I don’t know where to start.

Lets begin at the beginning first White Priveldge is REAL friends it is alive and WELL NOW.
Second welfare is not the problem welfare was put in place as a safety net to slove a symptom which is lack of good jobs for minorities esp blacks. You don’t blame aspirin if your headache doesn’t go away do you? No. Welfare is the aspirin. Someone mentioned welfare benefits go down if the father is there well if YOU want to PAY for it I would gladly support expanding them. so are your for expanding them or not? Which is it because you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth if I have you right side up I cant tell.

Third we need welfare because our system has FAILED. Why do blacks commit so many crimes? It is easy but very short sighted to suggest that is the reason they are left behind that they somehow DESERVE IT that is the kind of ignorance that holds this nation back that is what Trump supporters would say. And they would be dead wrong!

Desperate people commit desperate acts and if we improve education and inclusion and job skills programs give these people something to live for we will see welfare needs REDUCED.

Blaming the symptoms and the victims is about as backwards logic as one can have.

This is why your side is going to lose badly again in the national elections. Denial. It is not a river in Egypt.