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16 March 2008

Racism, Sexism & Privilege

Just came across two fairly old articles that are really worth reading:

The Male Privilege Checklist by B. Deutsch
This is a summary of the unconscious privilege to which able bodied white men are generally subject. This is not a criticism of white men - really it is just how they experience the world unless something intervenes to reveal their own privileged situation.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
This is the 1990 article that sparked the Male Privilege Checklist - it looked at the unconscious privilege to which white people are generally subject. Peggy McIntosh says, "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group".

This is all very interesting because the other day I was listening to Jackie Huggins talk about her life and her family. It was a long drive so there was nothing to distract me. As I listened it became clear to me how hard it must be to become a successful aboriginal woman. So many unconscious freedoms that I take for granted were and remain blocked to non-whites in Australia.

I've studied sociology, philosophy and anthropology so I've known intellectually about these phenomena. But it was listening the Jackie talk on the radio that humanised the whole thing.

It behoves us as a nation to bring to an end this unconscious privilege and the associated unconscious discrimination. And it behoves me as an individual to think about what I can do. This post is the first step.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire


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