Motives, part 6: Peggy’s knapsack
Mar 24th, 2012 by Unamused
Besides the shallowest, most biased possible look at racial disparities, the Un-Fair Campaign cites Peggy McIntosh’s venomous propaganda piece “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1990), which in some versions lists as many as fifty ways Peggy claims she has “benefited from white privilege.”
Looking over Peggy’s experiences with “white privilege,” I find myself — well, increasingly bored, for one thing, but also wondering what strange parallel universe this woman hails from (probably one with a lot of zeppelins, where everyone has a goatee) and how she will ever manage to find her way back. Because we definitely don’t want her here.
Let’s look at a few examples. No, they don’t get any less stupid than these. Yes, they really aren’t worth my attention. But if any readers want to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment.
- “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed” and “If a traffic cop pulls me over, or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.”
Remember, stereotyping is rational. So here, “white privilege” means black and Hispanic crime rates — and yes, that includes white collar crime rates and Peggy’s tax returns. Maybe instead of blaming white people, she should blame black and Hispanic criminals.
- “When I am told about our national heritage or about civilization, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.”
“What it is”? You mean awful and racist? Full of “white privilege” and impoverished minorities? Of course, there are a few good things about America, but obviously those are due to wonderful, magical People of Color, not those awful, racist white people who ruin everything.
At least, that’s what I hear when I’m told about “our” (whose, exactly?) national heritage and civilization.
- “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.”
But you are blamed for the failings of every other racial group. See: this very series.
- “I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.”
Right, because that would be crazy. It’s not like the purpose and principal effect of affirmative action have always been to take jobs, promotions, college educations, and other opportunities away from white applicants who deserve them and hand them over to undeserving non-Asian minorities who couldn’t qualify on their own merits.
- “I can choose public accommodations without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.”
Wait, what country and century is this, again?
- “I can be sure that if I ask to talk to ‘the person in charge’ I will be facing a person of my race.”
Not if you’re talking to an employee of the federal government.
- “I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.”
In this case, “white privilege” again means too many white people.
Put it back in the invisible knapsack, Peggy.