White privilege. What’s that? White people have choices and advantages simply because of the color of their skin. Many whites are unaware of it. Peggy McIntosh, a noted women’s studies scholar in her classic essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack,” wrote: “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”
Michael Eric Dyson, a globally renowned scholar of race, religion and contemporary culture, is the Centennial Chair and University Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. A dynamic speaker, he lectures widely. Among his many books are April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King’s Death and How it Changed America, Tears We Cannot Stop, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, and Jay-Z: Made in America.