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White Privilege


The article “White Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh highlights the issues of racism and prejudice in academic centers, particularly in universities and colleges. The author talks about the privileges that white people get compared to all the other races within the same universities. She compares the white population to the masculine population in the world, which does not accept the fact that they are privileged but are willing to accept the fact that women are disadvantaged. She comments by adding that the white population is willing to see the other races as disadvantaged but do not see themselves as being privileged at the expense of the other races.  

McIntosh explains the effects of white privilege by showing examples of daily activities that favor the white population compared to all the other races within the same community. She also highlights how this topic is being evaded by most people due to its controversial state and explains how her skin color has helped her in getting through her educational life with ease. She adds that some of the authoritative power was brought about as a result of conferred dominance and unearned advantage. According to her, racism is only seen as an act of callousness against people of other races instead of the act of discrimination. Therefore, in order to actually eradicate this prejudice, we ought to weaken the current systems so as to gain equality.

How Difference between Groups is Socially Constructed

Differences among groups are socially constructed and based on different aspects. For example, in the case of men and women, the society views women to be weak and vulnerable thus does not allow them to carry out challenging activities. Additionally, Caucasians in the society are treated differently due to their skin color and their population. The society is made up of a majority of Caucasians who have made it easy for themselves to receive fair treatment at the expense of the other races. Basically, the biological characteristics do not really define different racial groups, but rather it is how these groups have been treated socially from the historical point of view. The society allocates racial categories to people based on their opinion and experiences. This makes racial differences socially constructed.

There are also other minorities within the society. The society associate richness with honor and hard work, and rich people attach this form of honor to their names. The rich within the society receive different treatment compared to the poor in different occasions, such as attendance to schools or even social events. This is the similar case for the LGBT who find it difficult to express their sexuality without receiving discrimination from the society. On the other hand, their heterosexual compatriots live freely without any fear of being attacked particularly due to their sexuality.

How Power and Perceived Differences Contribute to Discrimination

People with power influence the way individuals are perceived in the society, particularly relating to the discrimination of the minorities within the society. Historically, these individuals ensured that management and leadership in an organization and even the country were generally led by the majority, which was the white population. Additionally, the laws and regulations previously inhibited people of color from owning property in the country. The right of suffrage was also limited only to the Caucasians in different states. For example in Oregon, the white citizens were warned against bringing in people of color into the state or even employing them. The laws in the state also prevented the white from intermarrying people of color.

Perceived differences combined with power greatly contributed to the way the minorities are being treated today. For example, the blue-collared jobs and other low-wage jobs in the society were principally left for the people of color. This difference ensured that the people of color did not get to climb to a higher social class and thus led to the increased differences between the Caucasians and the colored in the society. Being in a lower class also prevented them from advocating their rights without being arrested or even for vying for leadership seats in a particular geographical area. Eventually, the minority groups had to work under the white people and this perception was maintained even up to the current century.

Relation between Interaction and Differences, Power and Discrimination

Different people interact according to aspects that bring them together. For example, historically, women interacted greatly as a result of their sufferance which led to the creation of women suffrage. Similarly, people of a similar race interact due to their similarities, particularly relating to the aspects of culture and acquired traditions. Such differences make it difficult for people with differences to interact easily thus creating lines of differences. Eventually, discrimination arises from this. Additionally, the interactions of people with power affect the differences in the society. The people they interact with have an influence on the way the rest of the population views the minority in the society.


Unequal distribution of power has affected me both positively and negatively, particularly in relation to being racially discriminated and other privileges. When carrying out daily activities, it is easy to do so without fear of being discriminated against regarding my skin color or even my sexuality. However, it is quite challenging to access various facilities that have specifically been designated for individuals with positions of power and their relatives. Generally, in order to get rid of discrimination, the society requires making great effort and ensuring that individuals see each other based on the other characteristics rather than those that differentiate them. 

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