Invisible Knapsack – Privilege (Online Writings)

Peggy Knapsack on pages 34-36 provides a list of privileges. Continue this list, adding examples of race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, nationality, age, etc. privilege.  You should give at least 10 examples and diverse examples, providing specifics examples with detail and depth.  Conclude with a discussion of these privileges as they relate to your own experiences


300-400 words

Last Day, February 19


11 thoughts on “Invisible Knapsack – Privilege (Online Writings)

  1. These are some examples about how I have been truly privileged to be a white, heterosexual female, from an upper-middle class family. These privileges have all allowed me to become the person I am today, without them, its hard to know how I what my physical, emotional, academic, or economic status would be like.

    1. Being white and in a relationship with a white man, I am privileged to be able to go out on a date with him or travel alone together without getting judged or rude looks/comments from strangers.
    2. At makeup stores, I am privileged to be able to choose from 20+ shades of “light skin” colored makeup in order to guarantee I will find one that will match my skin tone exactly.
    3. I know that I can go almost anywhere in public without having to worry if I will be the only person of race present.
    4. Being a heterosexual white female, I feel comfortable going to social events and parties with strangers of mixed genders without having to worry about what they will think of my sexual orientation.
    5. When I go to hotels I can guarantee that the shampoos and complimentary cosmetics will compliment my hair texture and skin color.
    6. When filling out official forms and paperwork, I don’t have to contemplate which boxes I should check off and worry about what it will mean for me depending on what I choose.
    7. If I don’t dress well or don’t look put together, I don’t have to worry that someone will relate my laziness or incompetence to my race.
    8. As a woman, it is more acceptable for me to show a wide range of emotions in private or in public without being put down or made fun of for my actions. For example, if a woman is crying, she is likely to be asked what is wrong, or helped then men are.
    9. Being a white female I am privileged to know that I do not usually cause any fear or suspicion in other people for my actions or behaviors.
    10. I am privileged to have parents of a good enough economic standing that I have college paid for me. I do not have to be burdening with having a job while in school or paying off loans when I graduate.
    11. Living in a largely white neighborhood, I never felt unsafe in my neighborhood, even as a young child.

  2. 1. I don’t have to worry about being able to find a partner of the same race.
    2. I can easily find hair products in the store that work for my hair type i.e. Caucasian hair.
    3. I don’t have to worry that when I get my make-up done at the mall, they won’t have the right shade for my skin tone.
    4. I can dye my hair any of the natural colors (blond, brown, black, red..) without getting starred out for looking different.
    5. When I’m browsing through a store, security does not take a second take or keep an eye on me while I’m in the store.
    6. I can move into almost any neighborhood without wondering if most of the people will be my race.
    7. In job interviews I never have to worry if I am being judged unfairly because of my race.
    8. I can travel to any main city in the world and easily find someone of the same race as me.
    9. As a woman, I am expected to be more emotional and a display of such emotion is deemed natural and normal.
    10. Growing up I never had to worry about being made fun of because of my race or ethnicity.
    11. Being a white, heterosexual female, I have never had to worry about being ostracized for my sexuality.

    All of these examples illustrate how being a white female has granted me privileges up to date. I never really have to question my race and how people view me, even when I travel abroad. Society had been built to cater to white individuals economically, socially and culturally. This framework is so integrated in everyday life that I rarely notice my privilege even though it is constantly starring me in the face.

  3. There are so many different ways and examples in which I experience white privilege and don’t even realize it. After reading Peggy Knapsack’s long list of privileges, I began to relate and think about other unearned privileges that I have as a white female.

    1. I play on a Pullman rec basketball team and am one of only two girls in the entire league. When it comes to playing aggressively, males don’t quite know what to do and how rough they should get because girls are considered to be weaker, smaller, etc. In this way, sometimes scoring and attacking the rim are made a little easier because males don’t interfere to the extent they do when defending other males.
    2. The genes my parents passed on to me contribute a fair amount to who I am and what I look like today. Being healthy in general, I too am healthy and don’t need to worry as much about developing any certain diseases, etc. Although, there’s always a chance no matter the genes one has, to develop a chronic disease. Overall, I am thankful and privileged to not have any permanent health defects because of the safety and healthiness of my parents.
    3. Attending college is a huge financial obligation and with tuition increasing, it’s very difficult for many to cover the entire cost without having to take out loans. I am privileged in this area due to the fact that my parents have had my college money saved up for me even before it came time to apply for colleges. This reduces a lot of the stress that comes with trying to pay for college because I won’t be in debt afterwards. I’m thankful to my dad who made it a priority to save up for my brother and I so that we could later attend college.
    4. When visiting a hospital or nursing home, it’s easy to be thankful that you are not in the position that a lot of the patients are in, mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. Instead of having to spend night after night in a hospital or rehabilitation center, I am able to go home and sleep in my own bed without having to share a room or be distant from my loved ones. Whether the patient is youthful or reaching the end of his/her years, living in such a place wouldn’t be enjoyable. Having good health and a family and home to come to is comforting and definitely a privilege.
    5. Living in a small town allows many benefits. One of them being a higher level of safety. I can go on runs basically any time of day (although nighttime is not quite as safe because of the lack of visibility) and know that I am relatively safe, knowing the majority of the people in the town and places to where I could go if something were to happen. I realize how different these circumstances are for those who live in large urban areas because there is greater crime rate, etc.

    6. Filling out surveys, forms, and the like, I don’t stop to realize just how easy it is to complete them in a timely manner. Check-marking my sex, filling in my age, and that I’m an American citizen. Citizenship is a privilege indeed, provided me when my ancestors made the decision to immigrate and dwell in the United States. I have had no such decision or impact on where I was born or where I grew up. I haven’t had to worry about expressing my opinions and beliefs in a society, where doing so in other countries is denied and frowned upon.

    7. Being the ripe old age of 19, I have few financial, domestic responsibilities of my own. Thanks to God’s providence and my parent’s preparation for me as a child, I have all that I need, too much it seems. I am able to receive an education without having to hold a part-time or full-time job. I enjoy working, however, and do so in order to be responsible for things I need and how I spend my money. The few responsibilities I have are directly related to my age.

    8. Being physically active is very important to me. Living in a country where running doesn’t involve avoiding something or running away from others or animals, like it often does in other parts of the world, I can simply enjoy and relax in the sport. Location certainly affects peoples’ way of life and what they can and cannot do. I am grateful to live where I am and not have to worry about when and where I can go for a run or whether I have to because of reasons outside of fitness.

    9. I am able to go to a grocery store and receive assistance in taking my bags out to my car mostly because I am a female. Most box-boys/girls assume that females probably need more help in doing this because it is polite and females are notably less physically strong compared to their counterparts.

    10. For years, whiteness has been considered superior for whatever pointless reasons exist. Furthermore, applying for jobs comes with a greater probability that I will receive the job over someone of a different race who even may have had more experience than me. In class lecture it was discussed that being white is the equivalent of having eight years of work experience, eight years more than those minorities who may have also applied for the job (even if this isn’t the case).

    These are just ten of the many examples of privilege that come to mind. It is astounding the many different privileges that we experience. Pondering them helps me to realize and become more aware of society and the positions of others around me. By this, I do not mean the judging of others, but simply the awareness and interactions between human beings. I have come to better appreciate what I have – God, a healthy family, a roof over my head, and so much more that I am not worthy of but attain.

  4. 1. As a male I’m not stereotyped as weak, unable to do certain things such as rough sports, stuff that has to do with labor, or subject to sexist comments.
    2. Because I am multicultural being Korean and American, I feel that I am exposed to more things that a person of one race might not know about the other.
    3. As an Asian I may not be discriminated or be subject to prejudice as much as African Americans or mexicans because Asians don’t have such a controversial history in america and don’t seem to be as much of a target to those who like to discriminate.
    4. Coming from a middle class family, I didn’t have to worry about starving for a meal, or not being able to get the general necessities such as food, clothing, toys, etc. as a child all the way up until now.
    5. As a boy I don’t have to worry as much as girls when it comes to clothing and how much of skin I expose. For example, a girl may be judged on what kinds of clothes she wears because she has more areas on the body that are sensitive to the public than guys. ie. Guys are able to wear just swimming trunks when girls have to wear one-piece swimming suits or bikinis. (There’s a chance that they may be discriminated for even wearing a bikini because some may consider it to reveal too much.
    6. Having a healthy body enables me to engage in all of life’s normal activities such as sports, doing chores, or simply getting around from one place to another when people who have disabilities may have trouble with transportation or not even be able to get around to places.
    7. As an Asian-American, I have the privilege to feel comfortable in two different kinds of settings, Asian and American.
    8. When I travel, I generally don’t have to worry about communication because being bilingual opens up more chance for me to be able to communicate with others in places that some might not be able to.
    9. As a male I may be more favored by employers who are looking to fill a position in their company.
    10. Being from a family that is a little above middle class, I have a sense of security where if my family were to be in financial trouble, we could depend on getting help from others in our family.

    Being Asian, I do feel at times that I am at a disadvantage from people of other race. But setting that aside, I do feel very privileged to be who I am and glad to be a descendant of my ancestors. Other than race, I definitely feel that my gender, class, and physical ability gives me advantages over others.

  5. 1. Being heterosexual, I don’t have a fear that I won’t be able to find my significant other. There are so many straight men to choose from, whereas if I was homosexual, I would have to look a lot harder to find a partner.
    2. Being white, I am not questioned or followed in stores for suspicion of theft. Store clerks and managers tend to watch people of color more when they are shopping in their stores
    3. Being middle-class, I was able to go to school with all of my needed supplies and school clothes and never had to be uncertain as to whether I could afford what I needed in terms of educational supplies.
    4. Not being mentally disabled, I don’t have to take medications, go to therapy, and live independently. My brother is mentally disabled and every day is a fighting battle socially and he will not be able to handle living on his own in adulthood. I will never have to be questioned when I have emotional outbursts for fear of violent behavior.
    5. Being a woman, my sexual orientation will not be questioned if I chose to do masculine activities whereas if I were a male choosing to do feminine activities, people would assume I am gay.
    6. Being a white female, I will not get pulled over for no reason or for a ‘sting’.
    7. Being heterosexual, I will not have to deal with the uncomfortable situation of asking people what sexual orientation they are for dating purposes. It would be uncomfortable to ask people if they swing the same way as you do because it might imply you are saying something about that person’s appearance, mannerisms, etc.
    8. Being white, when I am shopping for makeup, I will never have an issue finding my color because there are over 20 shades of light colored skin.
    9. Being American, I never get stares at the airport or get picked for a random check.
    10. Being a woman, I never get condemned for dating a much older man and it is not unusual to be interested in older men.
    In my own experience, I have had a pretty easy life. I don’t really have any extreme obstacles to overcome in the world, because things generally work out for me. I don’t know really think of these privileges very often because it is something that I just live without any kind of adverse hardships. Privilege is truly an invisible backpack with unlimited supplies.

  6. 1. Although I am a asian, I can sure that my neibors will treat me well and pleasant to me.
    2.I can not feel prejudice as much as African Americans, and I think I can shopping alone any time if I want.
    3.I can feel a little bite prejudice when I play basketball with the people in the USA. Some of them think you are not as good as they are.
    4.When I play basketball on the rec center, I can feel that most of males think girls are probably weaker and worse.
    5.I have a healthy body and I do not have to worry about the work that I an not do, such as exercise and walk to school.
    6.Thanks for my parents, I do not have to worry about the payment when I study abroad.
    7.As a male, I think I can earn more respects and attentions when I speak in the group.
    8.Because of I am a international students, I am much difficult to get a job.
    9.I do not have to worry about I can not get any help because of my color and race.
    10.I feel appreciate that I can live in other country and do not have many problems in my life, no matter, race, color, sexual and age.

    Sometimes I feel some disadvantages because I am a asian, I have to work harder than people who are study in their first language. I have to prove my abilities and what I got to earn others respect. However, I still proud that I am a Asian, I can feel that I can do as good as other races in every parts of life.

  7. 1. As an Asian, many people think I am smart, and ask me many study questions. They trest nice to me, even though I am not very good at study.
    2. As a male, I can do any sports and walk st night alone. I have more free time than many Asian female, because male always can protect himself.
    3. I am not American, and I only caome to America for half a year. All the people can know that from my accent, so teachers and some classmates help me a lot about my study, I really appreciate these.
    4. I am only 19 years old, my parents always tell me I can do many new things, try many things and feel many new things. They want me to grown up in America and use these years to make meself different.
    5. I am Chinese, I have my own culture. I think it is a good thing, I can do things in my own way and Americans understand why I do that in different way. I am pround of my culture.
    6. Being heterosexual, I can do things just like any one else. I don’t have to deal with some awkward situation, like ask some else sexual orientation or can’t go to bathroom when some one in there.
    7. Although some Americans have racism to Asian, in fact, many people treat me nice, just like my neighbour. They even ask me if I need something to eat while they are eating, because they want me to try American food.
    8. Being a man, I have more responsibility in a family or in a relationship than woman. Some times, I can do things in my way and see if it’s work.
    9. I am a Chinese, so I can cook delicious chinese food. I can eat selocious food every day and cheaper than ouside.
    10. I can speak two languages and I might have chance to get a better job in the future, because I am a Chinese but I study in America.
    These are 10 examokes I thought about myself, maybe it is not good ecample, but in fact, I really don’t think Chinese have very big advantages in America because of race. However, that’s why Chinese company think American universities have much better Chinese students than Chinese universities.

  8. As a white heterosexual male of the upper middle class there are several aspects of life in which I will be blind to the racism occurring around me at various moments in my lifetime.

    1.) As a white male I will never be expected to do well in a particular sport solely based on my racial background.
    2.) As a heterosexual male I will never have to be concerned about going on a date with my significant other in public.
    3.) As part of the upper middle class I will have less stress during my interviews due to my position within my society.
    4.) As a white male I will never have to worry about stereotype threats during exams and therefore will most likely perform better than If I had the additional level of stress.
    5.) As a white man I will never have to fear the threat of being looked down upon simply because of the color of my skin.
    6.) Because of my societal standing and where I can choose to live I will never have to worry about gang violence or the threat of being mugged on the way home.
    7.) As a white man I will never be deemed as a potential threat or a thief when I walk into a room full of members of different races.
    8.) Generally speaking I will never have to worry about being pulled over by the police simply because they believe that I am committing a felony or that I am an illegal immigrant.
    9.) Because of my middle class standing I will never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or where I will have to sleep the next day.
    10.) As a white male I will never have to worry about being discriminated against while filling out a job application
    11.) Finally as a white male I will be able to remain relatively free of various stereotypes and racial jokes that define so many other races and cultures.

    These are just some examples of the invisible knapsack I carry. However I still believe that there are also aspects of being a white male that can work against me. If we are to eliminate racism and discrimination we must be able to identify our own invisible advantages.

  9. 1. As I am a women, I don`t have to serve as a soldier when I`m graduate from school.
    2. In most countries, female can get more respect from male.
    3. As I am an Asian, wherever I travel, I always can meet people who speak the same language as me.
    4. I can ask to leaves when I have monthly period; because sometimes it`s not convenient and comfortable for girls to go to school or for women to go to work.
    5. When I am pregnant, I can ask for maternity leave, preparing to give birth to babies; I also can ask parental leave for taking care of my babies.
    6. Most products like perfumes, bracelets and so on are designed for women, then we can have more choices on shopping.
    7. Girls can wear skirts, not just can only wear pants like men.
    8. Some heavy works that need strong men to do, women can do easier jobs.
    9. Many activities or festivals usually have discounts for women in some countries, like Taiwan.
    10. In Taiwan, the government usually provide free health examinations for women.

    • In terms of #5, men can also get parental and maternity leave; while this is not the case in many countries, in the US this is unpaid leave so think who might have the ability to take advantage of this

  10. 1. When a teacher calls role in the classroom, he or she does not stumble over my name.
    2. When i apply for jobs involving childcare, I am the same race as many of the families, making them more willing to trust me and allow for me to play with their children.
    3. When i travel, it is much more shocking if people don’t know my language vs. me knowing their language.
    4. When i perform well on a test or in an athletic event, it is attributed to my abilities instead of my race.
    5. I have the ability to someday be a stay at home mom and for people to not wonder how i am affording to have a child.
    6. Because of class, i never have to wonder where i will sleep or how i will find a meal to eat.
    7.Wherever i go, i can find someone with the same race as me. I don’t feel awkward.
    8. Being a white female, Police officers or law enforcement in general are more likely to “let me off the hook”.
    9. When in an airport, most signs are in English or at least translated into english. I cant get to where i need to be easily.
    10. Being a white, heterosexual female, i am seen as “normal”. I never have to worry about what people think of me or how they view me.

    When creating this list, i realized just how privileged i am. Although i have had hardships and struggles, they don’t stem from the way that i look, my culture, or my class. Instead they stem from life just happening. Until it’s written down, it isn’t always obvious to me just how much has been handed to me. I hope, that one day i have the opportunity to be a minority. I feel that until i am really in the position that some are, and feel the way that they feel, i will not truly understand privilege.

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