A Peek inside the Invisible Knapsack 25 Years Later

It’s been 25 years since Peggy McIntosh penned her famous piece on white privilege.  To commemorate I thought I would go over her list of invisible privileges to see if we could take any of them out of the backpack.  You know, since we’re post-racial and all.   But not only can we not remove any of the privileges in the name of progress and all-hail-to-our-first-black-president, we actually need to ADD some privileges to the pack.


Here are 15 more privileges I would add to her already thorough and extensive list.

  1. I can expect the “Sponsored Posts” in my Facebook feed to feature my own skin color most, if not all, of the time.
  2. I can browse Netflix, HuluPlus & AmazonPrime and be certain that my “suggestions” will include people of my race.
  3. When the fellow parents at my son’s preschool are aloof and unfriendly, I don’t wonder if it’s because of my race.
  4. I can be with my mixed-race nephews and everyone will assume I adopted them whereas when my friends of color go out with their mixed-race kids most people, at best, assume they are the nanny.
  5. I can assume that if my race is going to be portrayed on screen or on stage, people of my race will play those parts.
  6. I can visit potential schools for my children and find my own race well-represented among the faculty.
  7. I can go to a yoga class assured of finding other attendees who are white.
  8. I don’t ever worry about whether I’m being white enough.
  9. I don’t ever worry about whether I’m being too white.
  10. I have never had someone question my immigration status.
  11. I am not afraid of being arrested when I get pulled over.
  12.  I can wear a hoodie without being thought a “thug” or a danger to my community.
  13. I can crash my car and walk up to any house I choose to ask for help and not worry that I will be shot in the face.
  14. I can play my music as loud as I want while stopped at a gas station and not worry about being shot by man who doesn’t like my music.
  15. I can be approached by police and not wonder if one of them will end up choking me to death.

McIntosh went on to ask, and it’s a question we need to keep asking,

What will we do with such knowledge?  Will [we] use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems?

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