Just as the last few readings we were assigned, as I was reading Peggy Mcintosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” I constantly kept saying to myself “I’m so lucky.” Being a white person in society, I never really considered just how lucky I am until I enrolled in this course. There are so many things I do on a daily basis that black people can’t do that I often take for granted. One of those things is having a fair shot during a job interview. Unfortunately, black people automatically have a huge disadvantage going into a job interview just because of their race. On McIntosh’s list of things that black people cannot count on, but white people can is #22, “I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race” (McIntosh p.3). Most white people can go on a job interview confident that they will get the job without being judged or stereotyped, however, most black people cannot. In “Data Shows Racial Bias in America” by Salim Muwakkil, he speaks of many studies that were conducted to show that racial bias is still present today. One of the studies had sent in resumes, each resume was sent in with either a really white name like Emily Walsh or a really black name like Lakisha Washington. The study showed that the more white sounding names were 50% more likely to get the job than the black sounding names, even if they weren’t as qualified as the black sounding name resumes. I just find it really unfortunate that black people who are much more qualified than white people don’t get the same opportunities as white people who aren’t as qualified. It just shows how some people are so stuck in the past that they would go as far as to hire someone who isn't qualified for a job rather than a black person who is beyond qualified.
In her piece, McIntosh states, “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, the myth 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 oft he same groups that have most of it already” (McIntosh p.6). In her own words, she is stating Lisa Delpit’s fifth aspect of power, “those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge – its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence” (Delpit p.26). Both are saying that those with power don’t want to bring it up because it may result in the loss of power. However, this absolutely needs to be done in order to solve the problem. As McIntosh, Delpit, and Johnson all state, “To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions” (McIntosh p.6), “I contend that those with the most power, those in the majority, who must take the greater responsibility for initiating the process” (Delpit p.46), “and if people in privileged groups don’t include themselves in the solution, the default is to leave it to [the people who are not in the culture of power]. But these groups can’t do it on their own, because they don’t have the power to change entrenched systems of privilege by themselves” (Johnson p.10). The first and largest step in order to create some kind of equality is to speak up. When I mean equality, I mean fair opportunities for all, as I think these authors do as well. I don't think any of them want people too look at black people and totally disregard their skin color, but notice that skin color and embrace it and make it a norm in our society just as white skin is.
Questions/Comments/Points to Share
My biggest question is how can we fix this!? It is honestly crazy to me that it is 2014 and we are still learning about inequality and race and even crazier that I have to take a course in this in order to teach. I am just the type of person that loves everyone no matter their color, shape or size. I just hope that as an educator, I can help break the cycle of white privilege and help create equality.