COLUMN: White priviledge sparks hall talk

For those of you who don't know, I'm a multicultural advisor, and I live in LaFollette's Woody/Shales. Every month, I create a bulletin board. This November, I decided to be creative.

The first board I did was about Blacks, the second was about homosexuality and the most recent was about white privileges.

For those of you who don't know what white privilege is, it's a series of statements that whites have special favors towards them, and they don't realize them.

Well, Peggy McIntosh did. In the Jan/Feb 1992 issue of "Creation Spiritually," she wrote "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack: White privilege."

Here are a few statements that I put on the board and I want you to think of them.

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

*I can go shopping most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

*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.

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

*I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color, who constitute the world's majority, without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

*If a traffic cop pulls me over, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

*I can go home from most meetings or organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

Now, minorities, can you think of a time when some of those things actually applied to you? White people, have you ever noticed any of those things? Here are some are some of the responses that I got on my board by members of my floor community. Now, so everyone knows, my floor is majority white.

Here they are:

*"Great board! Makes you stop and think."

*"I think it's sad...but true!"

*"Umm...still wasted your time!"

*"If people weren't so narrow-minded, it wouldn't matter."

*"I wish that so much wasn't focused on race!!! I just wish that

everything was looked at equally!"

*"I think it's important to look at people with equality, but we shouldn't be color-blind. We are different races for reasons, each with separate cultures and histories."

*"I think a day in the inner city would open people's eyes. If it is possible for a white person to be black for a month, I think there'd be a new perspective that would come out. I recommend watching "Remember the Titans" for a good lesson on this."

As you can see, people do think of issues such as race seriously. Hopefully, this little section in the paper has just made you aware of you some things that you don't think about.

Write to Moses at


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