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White Privilege and Awareness

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 11, 2006
Latest Update: February 11, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site White Privilege and Awareness
I went looking for an old file on Peggy McIntosh's article on white privilege from
"From:

Mary L. Ertel, Associate Professor, Sociology
Central Connecticut State University

I'd like to call your attention to a 1996 version of Peggy McIntosh's all-important work on privilege, published as "White Privilege, Color, and Crime: A Personal Account," published in _Images of Color, Images of Crime: Readings_", edited by Coramae Richey Mann and Marjorie S. Zatz ((Roxbury).

This version continues the insights of the original article, as well as some marvelously nuanced and perceptive comments relevant to the criminal justice system. Peggy also discusses the need to empower, not just divest oneself [sic] of privilege. She as well has some insightful comments about "being oppressive through privilege and being oblivious to one's oppressiveness, again through privilege."

The copyright of this article, as of her previous one, is (as Michael has noted) Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley, MA. 02181. Tel: 781-283-2520, fax 781 283-2504.

Mary L. Ertel, Associate Professor, Sociology Central Connecticut State University From Women's Studies Online Resources Joan Korenman's Homepage at n Honors University in Maryland.

Women's Studies Online Resources File Collection.

Race: The Power of an Illusion PBs Lesson Plan. Refers to materials that deal with white privilege. Very helpful if you want to introduce this topic in illocutionary discourse on issues of race.

Review by AJ of Literature Lost : Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities by John M. Ellis. AJ, the reviewer says:

"The book ,however, is not without it's problems. The fringe ideas of the likes of Peggy Macintosh, whom Ellis refutes are hardly mainstream, and his dismissal of Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon( while perfectly sound) are hardly neccessary- as these thinkers are scarcely dominant in the field of liteary studies. At times it would have been nice to see Ellis look at the more moderate and sound scholarship of the various critical schools under attack.

"Nonetheless, this is very worthwhile book, and ought to be read by all of us who care not only for Literature but for what is happening in our culture and society in general.

Poor AJ, the reviewer, sounds almost as upset by the Peggy McIntosh idea of white privilege as I am by the refusal of many to consider it. So I figured I'd try to find out what Ellis said to refute the idea.

I explored Ellis book on Amazon.com, and found an excerpt from the first chapter, The Origins of Political Correctness. Ellis attributes Tacitus' idealized description of the "naturally moral" tribes of Germania, as naturally good, unlike the corrupt and greedy citizens of Imperial Rome in the First Century after Christ. Ellis patiently explains that in our frustration over the shortcomings we see around us, we idealize the "noble savage" in the same simplistic fashion as Ellis claims Tacitus did.

Although Ellis seems to cite Peggy McIntosh at length, according to his index, I don't find his argumentation compelling enough to order the book. Tacitus may have used the device of comparing his own peers to a "primitive" tribe on purpose, to make criticisms that some is often not permitted to make for they are not "socially acceptable." Montaigne did this to good effect in 16th Century France. Maybe someone would like to find the book in the library, and tell us about Ellis' refutation of Peggy McIntosh's description of white privilege.

My search then led me to Critical Mass: Brewing Can't remember exactly how I got this, but it's a pretty sane discussion of the problems of labor in academe. Made more sense when I searched to discover who was posting Critical Mass: Erin O'Connor.

Undergraduate References:

Advanced Undergraduate or Graduate References:

  • "Seiler, Naomi "Identifying Racial Privilege: Lessons from Critical Race Theory and the Law." The American Journal of Bioethics , Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2003, pp. 24-25. The MIT Press.

    "Excerpt

    "Catherine Myser (2003) urges bioethicists to note and destabilize the whiteness of the central values in bioethics. For reasons discussed below, many bioethicists will likely resist a head-on critique of the field's "fundamental" values (e.g., Baker 2003). More significant change, however, may be brought about by identifying how white status and privilege function as "neutral" baselines in bioethics. Such a move will draw bioethicists' attention to problems that currently go too often underanalyzed and might even, in the end, stimulate the sort of ethical shifts that Myser advocates. In this commentary I draw on examples of Critical Race Theorists' legal scholarship and suggest how bioethicists can similarly identify previously transparent racial privilege to reframe key issues in medicine and health.

    "Critical Race Theory (CRT) arose in the 1980s partly as a response to Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which argued that the important feature of laws is their application to conditions in the real world (Crenshaw 2002). Though early Critical Race scholars built on this foundation and on other liberal thought, they criticized the traditional liberal scholarship on race as over-reliant on a model of individual rights. Early on, Bell argued that this model is not a useful tool for understanding systemic oppression of African Americans. To understand the other interests that are often "balanced" against individual rights, it is necessary to recognize that these pre-existing interests—federalism, the "free market," institutional stability, and so on—are themselves functions of racial exclusion and privilege (Bell 1980). In essence, the fundamental institutions of white privilege must be acknowledged as such in order for the rights and interests of nonwhites to be fully recognized....

  • Christian Privilege Agnostic/Atheism Website. This does relate to white privilege, but you'll have to remind me to get lecture notes up on this. I just stuck it here so I wouldn't lose it. jeanne February 12, 2006.

  • A Curious Contradiction I think this source is opposed to the concept of "white privilege," but I'll need time to get up notes on it. Stuck it here so I wouldn't lose it. jeanne February 12, 2006.

  • Institute on Race and Poverty University of Minnesota Law School. List of recommended reading, that includes Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992).
    Mission of Institute on Race and Poverty: ". . . our mission, which is to identify and address problems caused when racial and economic discrimination combine to create barriers to opportunity for low-income communities of color." One of their "long-term strategic goals" is to "[d]efine racialized poverty and its implications". Unfortunately, the last update on education was in 2001. The updated website: Institute on Race and Poverty, but I can't find a way to search for "racialized poverty."

  • The National Research Center for the Healing of Racism. Excellent resource. Check it out. February 13, 2006. jeanne
    white privilege Lots of online articles that will help you understand. jeanne

  • Let's Keep the Dean Afterall. I haven't read all of this yet, but it looks like a good piece. Check it out. jeanne



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