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White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Author Peggy McIntosh explains, “I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.” Proceeding from her studies on male privilege, her list outlining the “daily effects of white privilege” is a starting point to help people understand how this dynamic shows up in our lives regardless of intent and without our conscious participation. She asserts that this process of realization is necessary in order to create a more equitable society; “[t]o redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions.”