Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White Privilege or More Racism?

After reading the essay "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", I realized how ignorant and focused on race the author, Peggy McIntosh really is. She equates "white privilege" with the idea that men in society do not realize that they have privileges over women. She fully believes that just because she is white, she's inadvertantly being racist. Does this mean that she also believes all men in society to be sexist? Racism is a choice that a person makes. White people cannot be held accountable for what their ancestors did and neither can they be held accountable for what other people in society do. Yes, one can make a stand if they, as a white person, gets a raise when another co-worker who is African American deserved the role more. However, getting that raise does not make that white worker a racist or more privileged. It merely shows that racism is still alive in today's society. How can one person's decision to not give someone of another race a loan yet give a loan for the same thing to a white person make that white person who received the loan a bad person? It just doesn't make sense. I am not fully disagreeing with McIntosh in the fact that white people are more privileged, but I competely disagree with her in the fact that she claims it is all of white people's faults.

The other essay, "Defining Racism" also made me quite angry. It is true that there are many communities in the United States that are segregated, and this needs to be changed. I'm happy that teachers are bringing up the subject of race more and more to students because they do need to learn about differences in race. They do not need to be going off of just what they've heard or seen about other races through media. For example, in the essay "Defining Racism", the story of the girl who was surprised to hear that Cleopatra was actually a black woman and proceeded to say, "That can't be true. Cleopatra was beautiful!" I'm not sure where this student was or what time period this was, but she obviously had never thought of black women as beautiful. This is horrible!!! You can't decide whether or not someone is beautiful based on race. I've seen tons of black women who are ten times more gorgeous than I could ever hope to be. Students should be presented the differences from a young age and taught to accept them.

There is racism in society, but we cannot place the blame on the entire white population. These essays are just pushing the idea that we are all guilty when one person or a group of people do wrong. It seems to me that these two authors are turning the racism around onto their own race in order to be "politically correct" and not in any way helping to correct racism in this country.

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