Sunday, February 22, 2009

Privilege Beyond Single-Issue Oppressions

In confronting racial injustice and the authorizing discourses of white privilege, Peggy McIntosh openly admits that she was "taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group." Consequently, she assembled a popular list of the fifty odd ways in which white privilege saturates daily practices and language in our society. Her project, "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," comes to life in this video:

While we are slowly coming to terms with the realization that white people are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, just as males are taught not to recognize male privilege, we still struggle to acknowledge the multiple forms of heterosexual privilege and the oppressive dominance of heteronormativity. Johnny Durham poignantly illustrates this third manifestation of privilege, as Rev. Tittle points out, in his pseudo-spoof, "Are you straight?"

It is a useful exercise for all of us to spend time considering the multiple oppressions we suffer ourselves and create for others.

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