Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peggy McIntosh and the invisible knapsack of doom: Part I

Today we are going to take a look at one of the most influential writings when it comes to the issues of multiculturalism and diversity. This essay is to multiculturalism what Vogue is to fashion, what The Art of War is to business students , what Playboy is to pictures of boobies. It is one of the go-to writings, and if you read it you will be way ahead of the curve compared to most of your peers.

Allow me to present to you, Peggy McIntosh White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. In order to avoid any potential copyright infringement, I am going to link to the essay where you can read it on another site. I also found a youtube video that actually has a brief interview with Ms. McIntosh, and the list of privileges she describes in video form. So depending your favored way of receiving information, you've got some options. Although I will say, I am a pretty fast reader and I thought the list on the video was moving a little too fast for me.

Ok--the link to the essay is here. Even if you have read this essay before, I would encourage you to read it again to see how it affects you this time around.

And here's the video:

So here are my questions for you:

What are your reactions (thoughts and feelings) to reading this list?
What does it mean that the list was written by a white person?
If you've read this list before, how are your reactions this time different? How are they the same?
What items on the list are most significant for you? What do you think are the reasons for this?

Like I said in the title, this is going to be a multi-part discussion. For today, I would strongly encourage you to leave your comments and let the information sit in your brain and marinate. We will continue the discussion tomorrow.

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