The essay “White Privilege and Male Privilege” written by Peggy McIntosh was enlightening and controversial. It was enlightening because she shows you how certain groups of people can have privilege over other different groups, and be unaware or in denial over it. Peggy’s story was controversial because it talked about the privilege that very few have the courage to talk about. The white and male privilege and the fact that it is looming over our heads as a society. Throughout history there’s a superior and inferior race and sex.
The superior race is the white race, opposed to the African Americans who are considered the inferior. Additionally men are the superior sex opposed to women. Race is a sensitive subject when discussed due to the painful history of our country, most notably the plight of African Americans. African Americans have had a painful background of slavery and inequalities along with unjust rights they had to endure. They were not considered humans, but were property of their white slave owners. Racism has been social constructed for many decades.
It is possible that the racial hierarchy can control many aspects of the human life. It can control what kind of jobs you receive, politics, media, insurance, and even your place of residence; this is reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were not only anti black laws but a way of life predominantly for southern people. The Jim Crow laws were constructed to keep African Americans from climbing higher on the social ladder. Education, transportation and work were kept at a bare minimum for African Americans. Under no means necessary was any African American to act as if they were equal to the white race.
It ultimately controlled where they were allowed to go and what they were allowed to do. If for any reason this law was broken, consequences were normally enforced by physical force consequences for challenging whites and their authority. This was a way for the whites to maintain dominance and ensure the African Americans stayed at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. This was the cost for being born black. For being born into a society where your race was the ultimate factor in your social status, and rather than being born into a world of acceptance, you were born into a world of exile.
This portrays in the United States the black and white color lines that have been imbedded into our minds and enforced due to the dominance of the white race for so long. Men also have advantages over women, especially politically. Even though times have changed and women are able to vote, men still are the dominating force in politics. Women have to fight longer, harder and be three times more qualified than a man to get some positions or to even qualify for jobs over a man. When some women are appointed higher positions over men they get criticized and sometimes even degraded because of it.
Some men don’t even see or recognize when this occurs. Many white people are in denial of preconceived notions that they might have on a certain person or group because of their race. I myself have been a victim of racism at work. People choose to believe the color of your skin indicates your worth. Some expect you to fail and not succeed because of this. They expect you to meet the standard of the person they have seen on TV, in a movie, or on the radio. However, what they don’t realize is that these are stereotypes that the media portray of a certain group and that perception is not always accurate.
They also take a bad experience with one individual, and deem an entire race that way. No one knows why we come in so many shades sizes and variations. However, we do know that the social concepts of race deprives from the history that one has come from. Race as well as the sex of a person was once used as a tactic of fear, fear that was instilled in a person to make them powerless and inferior to another race. Although many things have changed for the better in our society, racism and the sex of a person is still a dominate factor.
Courtney from Study Moose
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