Saturday, September 20, 2014

White Privilege - McIntosh

     "White Privilege Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh was considerably eye-opening for me. The article discusses the issue of white privilege, something that most white people are unaware they even have. McIntosh examines the skin-color privileges that she has for being white and how they effect her every-day lifestyle. The privileges range from anything from her being able to do well in challenging situations without being called to a credit her race, to choosing blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color that matches her skin, or speaking for all of the racial people in her group, etc. I found reading these examples listed by McIntosh particularly interesting because I found them all to be identifiable to my own life and it made me realize those were privileges that I have been ignorant to having myself.
       My best friend, Thomeeka, happens to be from African American decent. For years, I saw our lifestyles as being equal but as I read this article I saw there are numerous privileges I have that she does not because I am white. One example that stuck out in my mind was the idea that the media considers "flesh" color to mean white. From my friendship with Thomeeka, I would often see her frustration with lack of make-up choices for her skin tone. Most foundations and powders are dominantly designed for women with pale skin, with many make-up brands having numerous colors for white skin tone and only one or two shades for a black skin tone. Some brands have tried to fix this and add more variety to their foundation shades and sell darker colors but it is still obvious when you go into the make-up aisle that the make-up is predominantly made for pale shades. This could also be said for band-aids and gauze, that most of the bandages I buy at CVS I can assume will blend with my skin-tone as compared to Thomeeka's. In addition, many crayon companies created a "flesh" color crayon that was beige, which certainly does not fit the whole definition of "flesh" color.

  examples of the white privilege of "flesh" color

In addition, I found "For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend" by Pat Parker very interesting. I found it very relatable again as a white-privileged female with an African American best friend. I often find myself doing some of the things mentioned in the poem unknowingly. I often make assumptions based on her race or am sometimes afraid to make a comment because I don't want to offend her. I was able to relate my own personal experience to the quote, "If you really want to be my friend,don't make a labor of it. I'm lazy. Remember"(23). I found that to be humorous because of how sincere and true it is. White people, including myself, are quick to make racial stereotypes and also feel that they have to act a certain way around their friends of color. In reality, we should not over-think all of our reactions with our black friends, or any people of color. We should not "make a labor of it",it should just be natural. 
      Pat Parker, Writer of "For the White Person..."


  1. I really liked how you pointed out the crayon colors of flesh skin being for white people, there was a black kid in one of the preschool classes I worked at and when he would be asked to draw his family or himself he would use those colors to draw him and I would never stop and think about it!

  2. I enjoyed you're response. I feel that many people never really think how products are catered to people with light tones rather than darker. It does make things difficult.

  3. I like how you incorporated real life examples to illustrate White Privilege. Finding make up that actually matches your skin tone is hard. Not only concealer but lipstick too. Whenever I walk into Sephora, I know that there are maybe two types of concealer that will actually match my skin. This illustrates that there is White Privilege not only in schools, and employment opportunities but also in the business enterprise.

  4. I really enjoyed all of the pictures you added in your blog. I wonder how black people feel that their are no bandaids and crayons and markers and makeup their "color"....