The difference race makes


Peggy MacIntosh
Focus on Adoption magazine

In 1983, Peggy MacIntosh, a white university professor, wrote a now famous essay on some of the hidden privileges that, as a white person, she enjoys. Here’s just a sample:

  • I can shop alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of racism for their daily physical protection.
  • I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
  • I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge,” I will meet a person of my race.
  • If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled  out because of my race.
  • I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  • I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  • If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
  • I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting hostility in those who deal with us.

Peggy MacIntosh listed 50 examples of daily white privilege. Google her name to find the full list.

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