White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack


Was there anything in your “knapsack” that you did not necessarily think about until today? How do you feel about the author’s idea of “unconscious oppressiveness”?


  • Complete the quiz in the article.
  • Check your baggage/privilege, and encourage self-criticism.
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  • Yes my list is long too I can even add a fascinating experience of moving from the UK (where my accent identified me as stupid and not worthy of attention) to Canada where “You speak like the Queen” is a common comment and people “love my accent” – this tiny experience of a reversal of prejudice and so of the dislocation of experience as an immigrant has led me to reflect on the fascinating history and subtly of power. My longest held understanding is around my sex and size and these 30 days of reflections have been great to get me to reflect. But when it comes to action and actually ceding power – especially because I feel I have “fought hard” to attain it – that is a much harder and in some cases less easy to understand path. If I step aside to just be replaced by someone who does not value or spread the benefit of privilege then what have I achieved?

  • It’s remarkable that a) this article was written in the late 1980’s and b) how very little has changed.

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