White attitude privilege and religion
‘White privilege: A history of the concept’ by Jacob Bennett is a paper that discusses in detail the emergence and spread of the term ‘white privilege.’ Originally the term was coined in the 20th century by Peggy McIntosh. The paper basically explores how the term white privilege evolved in American history and how the meaning has changed from its original context. Also, the research in the paper is aimed at understanding the use and popular conception of the term in all academic fields as well as popular culture. The meaning of the phrase has changed drastically from what the scholars in the past intended it to be. Daniel T. Rogers writes that white privilege is defined as a paradigm in which the world particularly works, but even this has changed. (Bennett, 2012). It happened so that before public discrimination was made illegal by the Civil Rights Act, white privilege was annotated with the discrimination that was spread and promoted by the government. McIntosh’s journal was released when the discrimination was declared illegal. After this act, scholars and writers changed the context of the term to explore and demonstrate why discrimination was still prevalent in the society. McIntosh propagated the idea that the white privilege was a term that was present in the American subconscious and even after it was ruled out; it still existed very clearly. Hence, a psychological understanding of the term would better help understand the term’s meaning. (Bennett, 2012).
The term itself was used exponentially in American literature in the mid 20th century. At
that, however, its concept was all about explaining the structural systems in the country that spread discrimination via segregation. David Roediger reexamined the concept of white privilege in the early 90s. The term white privilege was used differently in the 1980s. In the 19th century, the white citizens had certain laws that gave them an edge over those who were born with a darker skin color. White privilege then, meant the right to vote, to own property and enjoy certain other perks that people of the opposite color of skin could not. Thereafter amendments were made, and laws were passed that granted somewhat equal rights to the African American race, yet they were still far from getting rid of the ideology that was so deeply ingrained in the minds of the people that they could not overcome then even after a century had passed. Therefore, writers tied the white privilege to a time when the white race was held superior, but the clash was going to be eliminated soon enough. At the same time, issues, like getting admitted into a white majority school and not being denied entrance, were debated as well. In the 20th century, the scholars of the time noted that white privilege was related to the social and economic functioning of the America academic system which still had its ways to hold back black citizens and entertain whites. (Kendall, 2002). After the 1980s, according to McIntosh, the term white privilege was actually an accountability check for the whites to understand and realize the privileges they had and to calculate their importance. It also made the whites realize all the advantages they held over the other races. She also defined the word privilege. According to her, it was something that was too positive. Later in the 1990s, the term white privilege was coined with male privilege, by McIntosh. (Bennett, 2012).
Another writer, Ahmad, A. Rahman wrote about white privilege in his article. According to him, it was a term that described the organization of the American society. He said the reversal of the term was only possible if the privileges were taken away. (Kendall, 2002). Even the anti-discrimination law talks of the white privilege; what matters is the intent of the white, not the impact it has on the black. Even today, the example of Hurricane Katrina and the reporting in New Orleans such as the black citizens looting the food while the whites were looking for food reveals that white privilege cares about holding white prestige and demeaning that of the other races, particularly African American. (Bennett, 2012).
Bennett, Jacob. (2012). “‘White privilege: A history of the concept.’” Georgia State University.
Retrieved from http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1051&context=history_theses
Kendall, E. Francis. (2002). “Understanding White Privilege.” CPT.org. Retrieved from