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.