Peggy McIntosh’s article on White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack* is very important and essential in bringing awareness to the racism that million peoples face every day because of their origin and the way they look. I believe, and this is my opinion, that it is an oversimplified article on race and race issues and the focus was only on American citizens and race. One can write an encyclopedia about race and race issues without really understanding the matter. I try to stay away from topic that are related to race because I think it is a distraction. As Toni Morrison put it “the function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”
As an African of Guinean ancestry, white privilege can mean million things to me. White privilege is being born in a country in which you speak and write your own language, and work in your own language; it is being born in a place where you don’t have to go through lot of psychological stress to learn 4 to 5 languages as well as a colonial language. White privilege is talking about other race with confidence like you know really how they feel or what they need, rather than giving them a plateau to voice their own opinions. White privilege is moving into a place without the landlord increasing the rent, doing a criminal record check and asking to see your last paycheque and yearly income tax. White privilege is being able to move freely across six continents without a visa, while Africans die on the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe illegally. White privilege is not getting a high school diploma in your own language, but working with migrants who have degree in all kind of fields.
White privilege is blaming the migrants for a dire situation while there are loads of studies supporting the fact that immigration is an asset for the Western world (US, Canada and western Europe). White privilege is Trump, Matteo Salvini, Marine Lepen, leaders who encourage nationalism and hate toward migrants and minorities without fearing the consequences of their acts. White privilege is thinking about going to the Moon or Mars while in Bangladesh, people think about their next meals. White privilege is swimming in the deep ocean in Thailand destroying marine ecosystems in the name of vacation, and individual pleasure. White privilege is keeping an empty yacht in Monaco and paying millions dollars for insurance and parking fees while kids don’t have shoes on their feet in Benin. I can go on and on about white privilege. The advantage associated with white privilege date back hundreds of years. It is the result of slavery, racism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism… etc. I agree with Peggy when she says “to redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions,” for me, there is no point of talking about rational choice and existential philosophy or meritocracy if “freedom of confident action is there for just small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already”.
* White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack source: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED355141.pdf?utm#page=43