White Privilege – Understanding and Dismantling

White Privilege – Understanding and Dismantling


Over 20 Years ago Peggy McIntosh (among others) coined the phrase ‘white privilege’ in her brilliant paper Unpacking the Cultural Knapsack https nationalseedproject.org


Since then, and in no small part because of the presidential election ‘white privilege, white fragility and white tears’ have become part of our vernacular. Recently many marginalized groups, particularly people of non-Christian faiths and people of color have voiced their frustration that White America has finally woken up. Beyond the conversations and tensions around affirmative action and symbolic moments like Black History Month – few of us have really engaged on a deep level the institutional racism that exists in our homes, places worship, schools and businesses. Diversity is not a marketing tool; it is an anti segregation action that has to move past clichés and bumper stickers.

Understanding that dismantling privilege is a difficult and challenging process that involves self-examination, brutal honesty, personal acceptance and a good dose of humility-it  is no easy thing. Living with oppression, racism and injustice is so much harder.


My understanding of my own privilege is evolving, as a British white, woman I have benefited from privilege on many occasions. I meet people almost on a daily basis who LOVE my accent, and others who experience prejudice because of theirs. So, given my background, my research and my work as an educator and advocate I am speaking up and stepping out – working with students, commentates, organizations and businesses on this long journey to dismantle privilege. Please join me.

Published by Jane Bleasdale PhD

Jane.Bleasdale, PhD is Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Leadership Studies in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco (USF). Dr.Bleasdale has lived and taught in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas and the United States, Her career as an educator now spans three decades. Dr. Bleasdale previously served as a high school administrator focusing on equity and inclusion through personnel and student development Her doctoral research focused on equity and inclusion in high schools and specifically the experience of Black, Latino and LGBTQ students. She has recently conducted research on social and emotional wellness of students, the impact of school leaders on creating inclusive communities and critical feminist perspectives on leadership.Current research focuses on the experience and impact of women leaders with intersectional identities. Dr.Bleasdale is the principal investigator on a participatory action research project at USF collaborating with 10 doctoral students on a new paradigm for equitable leadership focused on critical feminst perspectives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: