Diversity and Culture

White privilege is described through the perspective of Peggy McIntosh’s revolutionary work titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” This essay states that there are some white privileges enjoyed by people from the white race in most western societies. For many people, these privileges enjoyed by the white people are not visible but it is high time people start recognizing the fact that society does not treat all people equally (McIntosh, 2014).  A person with white skin is able to walk into a store and he/she is treated with courtesy while people with other skin color are treated with contempt or just ignored as if they were not there. A white person is able to turn on the television and they are able to see people from the Caucasian race widely represented in movies, news reading, the government, and many other institutions in society.

When moving from one place to another, a white individual can walk without any fear because they understand they will not be harassed or profiled in any way (Steele, 2006). These are some of the privileges the black and the Hispanic communities cannot enjoy in the United States. There have been some arguments regarding the socio issue of white privilege and the roles it plays in advancing one’s career and life opportunities. The first argument states that white privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions such as career advantage where white people are more likely to be hired as opposed to the minority groups such as the blacks and the Hispanics (Steele, 2006). The second argument is more thoughtful in that it states that even though there might seem to be a white privilege in society, it is a privilege that favors the dominant culture and not necessarily the dominant race. 

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Personally, I would argue that both arguments are true to some extent but the modern world has been changing and more acceptable to the multiculturalism of the world today. The first argument applies in many social issues such as police officers profiling against black men in the streets or an Arabian man at the airport; something that will rarely happen to a white individual in the same scenario (McIntosh, 2014). The second argument takes effect when it comes to career advancement and advancing one’s social and economic standing in society. A number of factors have historically helped the white race advance their social and economic standing in society. Education is one of these factors. Data from official websites show that people from the white race are more likely to enroll in school and go all the way to college levels than people from other races. People from the black community, on the other hand, are the least likely to attain college-level education in the country. 

Another factor that helps people from the white race to advance in their careers is that they have strong family ties and networks that offer strong support systems to all members. This kind of love and support enables even the weakest members of the family to advance their careers and develop a strong foundation for their careers and future. McIntosh (2014)  argues that children from families with both parents and with strong family are more likely to advance far in their education, have better career paths, and be able to repeat the cycle when they have a family of their own. This cycle is bound to inculcate the discipline of hard work, strong family support and thereby, be able to develop success over many generations in the family.

From the above explanation, one can clearly see that there is privilege ingrained in the white culture in the United States. This privilege has been ingrained in the culture because of years of hard work and discipline that has made them develop strategies that can guarantee the success of their people (McIntosh, 2014). For this reason, it is very important for the less privileged races to start emulating the white people and tap into their success strategies. For instance, they should start by having strong family ties where children are brought up in families with both parents (Steele, 2006). This will create a sense of security and love. The second is for them to start investing in education. Education is one of the factors that can help an individual have a better future. With education, one can get many employment opportunities, which can help in improving one socio and economic status in society.

Personal Experience of White Privilege

I have experienced the issue of racism in real life. During one of the long holidays, I got an employment opportunity to work as a clerk in one of the courthouses in the state. I saw the judges and the prosecutors dispense justice fairly in many occasions. However, there was a case involving a white woman and a black man where the black man was accusing the white woman of assault. In dispensing justice, the judge dismissed the black man’s accusation against the white woman by casually stating that it is unheard of for a black strong man to be assaulted by a white woman. In most cases, it is the other way round. I was dumbfounded by this comment and I thought it would have been fair for the judge to use the facts before him to make a ruling.      


McIntosh, P. (2014). “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. pp177-182. 

Steele, S. (2006). White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the

Civil Rights Era. New York: HarperCollins.

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