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"Indigenous people know this. Black people know this. All people of colour know this. I remember my rage in my first year of my BSW studies, reading Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” in which she casually appropriated the collective pain of Black people, and rolled out excruciating examples of our experiences in an itemized list. Her article, largely in bullet-point form, highlights a number of ways in which Black people are treated differently from white people on a daily basis. The beneficiaries of this article are largely white. Peggy herself benefitted from becoming a central voice in anti-racist activism, and still charges $10 for a copy of her article, after doing nothing more than stealing our pain, putting it in her words, and becoming an expert in a struggle that is not her own.

She chose this route rather than working on being an ally by working alongside Black people who have been speaking their own truth forever, thank you very much. White people get to read it without having to feel the pain of racism; they get to see how lucky they are to have such privilege, get to assume that this article is unproblematic and pivotal in their own personal growth, and also feel a sense of self-satisfaction if they haven’t personally entertained all of the racist thoughts and actions listed in the article.


I fail to see how Black people get to benefit from this unpacking of the racist knapsack. Because the article was appropriative. Because it spoke on behalf of us without our permission. Because it highlights painful acts of racism that we have to read. Because it re-centres whiteness. Because it represents so much of the failures of modern white feminism."

Although, to be fair, you can google the article and get it for free.

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