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White Privilege

Peggy McIntosh’s article articulated what many people belonging to the White group have known at the back of their minds for a long time. The author is brave enough to define and talk about what she perceives as an invisible system that confers dominance to light-skinned individuals. It takes courage and real humility to accept and define how a person’s societal advantages would put others at a disadvantage. It is startling, yet refreshing, to read in black and white how skin color is viewed as an empowering factor to make a certain group more dominant over others.

As a white female, I have been raised to think of myself as neutral person, who is fair to other races by refraining from committing acts of meanness. Most of the realizations enumerated by the author can also be my personal experiences. My activities, like shopping and going to school, are done without thought of how it will affect my race in general. I can go to the malls and be with my friends without fear of being ridiculed or harassed. I agree with her on this aspect of the light-colored people having these natural advantages. On the other hand, I don’t agree that being white automatically makes a person oppressive and dominant.

McIntosh suggests that because of skin color, White people are naturally dominant and oppressive. Although I have a lot of advantages that are not vested on colored individuals, I do not think of them as over empowering me in any way. While the author believes this is so, I do not think that having this unasked for advantages would automatically make a person oppressive and dominant. As a thinking, feeling, and moral individual, I believe in right and wrong. Right and wrong does not distinguish between black, brown, or white. Ultimately, it is a person’s values that shape his character, behavior, and perspective in life.

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