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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

By Crystal Jenkins

Special to CSMS MagazineIn reading Peggy McIntosh’s article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” it brought many things to my attention. My experience as being a student of the 60’s and 70’s, I find that Peggy McIntosh’s views to be valid in some ways, for my era. Peggy McIntosh, associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women, has touched some serious nerves in raising this pertinent issue, and when I read Dr. Isma’s review of WE.B. Dubois’s book The Souls of Black Folk, I could not help myself. I had to go in retrospect to remember my childhood.When I attended school, all the children were Black Americans.  You didn’t know there was a difference between Whites and Blacks because you only saw them (Whites) in your schoolbooks.  The neighborhood had all black businesses, and the teachers were also all Blacks.  I found out very quickly that there was a difference when the schools became integrated. This was when I found out how different Blacks were treated then Whites.Because my teachers really knew the struggles that Blacks had to go through, they made sure that you received the same education that students of other races were getting at their schools.  Yes, the books were worn; but the knowledge was still the same. When I began school with other white children, there was a difference between us.  They had been taught that they were better than Blacks, and they expressed it.  As early as elementary school, I was being trained by my white teachers that being white were an honor.  Therefore, because of the era I was brought up, I agree with Peggy McIntosh article. Whites have been taught that they have privileges that my culture, which happens to be black, does not.             Even though time has evolved, and Blacks as well as other cultures have now better opportunities, there are still some privileges that Whites can still claim to have that others don’t have. Peggy McIntosh names some daily effects of white privilege, and I would like to address some of them. “I can turn on the television or open up the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented”.  This is a true statement because the media only has 3 blacks that have been consistent in being in the front giving us daily news; the others are behind the scene.  It is consistent that you mostly see crimes committed by Blacks in the news.“I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented”.  If you go to a music store, there is a larger range of music that is mostly by whites.  Usually, in a music shop they combine R&B, Rap, and Gospel in a smaller section.  Usually, the salesperson does not have much knowledge of the music from the black culture.“When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization” I am shown that people of my color made it what is”.   When reading the history of our country, Blacks were omitted, but we built our national heritage together—Whites and Blacks. We had to take a black history class to find out about the Blacks that were there when history was being made. Our culture is different now then it was a decade ago, but there are still people of authority that continue to see themselves has having white privileges and will continue to explore the privileges that others will not have.Note: Crystal Jenkins is a student at NSU (Nova Southeastern University). She majors in education.Also see Creating culture diversityMake our society a better placeWhat we need to teach our ESOL students about Nonverbal communicationIndian Culture: Vibrant and thought-provokingRole of alternative languages in our society

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