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In White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by McIntosh, racism takes a center stage. There has been a perception that whites have been clearly advised on how white privilege can be ignored. Racism takes a very high level stance in discrimination. The issue presented here is an oppression based on racial grounds. The issue of white privilege has eaten into the fabric of the society that holds people together. This kind of a privilege is an unjust position that benefits people at the expense of the other races. People normally get access to things they did not work for due to the white privilege predisposition. The menace has gotten to great heights and it appears as though it is a right thing to practice. Racism and the so called white privilege have taken root in the society and left the members of the society in dire predicament. People have remained ignorant to this effect. The author compares white privilege to the invisible weightless knapsack of special maps, visas, tools, passports and tools among other things.
The nature of racism in white privilege is also comparable to gender discrimination as highlighted by McIntosh (par. 3-7). Indeed, the privileges of men are also so evident in each and every society. Women have time and again expressed concern on their male counterparts. It has been their desire that men could give them some space in their power. Everything apparently has been bestowed upon men and the women do not seem to have a part in it. Thus, women face oppression from men who for some reasons regard it as their right. It has been conceived and perceived that men are superior creatures and that women are subjugated under them. There is indeed some sense in what McIntosh talks about white privilege. It is merely a making of the society. It is not enough to talk about it but action is required to implement the changes that are being advocated for. White privilege is an oppression that has affected other races and that will continue to have detrimental effects if it remains unaddressed.
Oppression in the society takes very different forms. At the same time, it is accelerated by other factors that emerge from the society depending geographical setting and location. For instance, women have generally faced oppression to the men based on gender. However, the case turns out to be worse when this discrimination is realized in a cosmopolitan society. While women have realized discrimination from men, matters of ethnicity and race have taken the issue to great heights. In Mapping the Margins as written by Crenshaw, women of color do not only suffer to their fellow men but more in particular to men of a different ethnicity and racial background. Women normally experience extreme subordination both structurally and politically. They are placed a little lower in the society’s hierarchical system. Women of color can only be housewives and “child bearing machines”. This is a high level oppression that has proved to be challenging for women of color in America.
Intersectionality as highlighted by Crenshaw provides proof of the kind of oppression that women have undergone (pp. 21-27). Being a woman of color as perceived in the American society is a show of poverty. The women of color therefore cannot be treated with the respect with which they deserve. The plight of women immigrants is relative depending on class, ethnicity and race. These interlocking systems present different challenges for different women in the society. The immigrant women of color have been more subjugated to physical battering than would be the case for other different women immigrants based on racial grounds. These kinds of oppressions have been occasioned by the infringement of women rights based on their racial background, ethnicity and class. The factors of race, gender, ethnicity and class work interchangeably in depriving women their rights. Women of color have been denied the freedom of speech and expression. They have little to say on the issues that affect their daily lives. Violence against women of color is a very inhuman perception and action.
Another kind of oppression is a situation in which the society adopts an absolute compulsory able-bodiedness whereas there are critically disabled individuals in the society. Working with queerness and/or disability oppresses those that are challenged on various aspects including gender. Such propositions promote queerness/disability instead of working to do away with it. Compulsory able-bodiedness imposes oppression on people and more especially on grounds of gender. For instance, those that are not heterosexuals will face a kind of discrimination that infringes on their rights. Taking heterosexual as the only sexual inclination that must be respected by people of all gender presents some challenge to a number of people in the society. Compulsory able-bodiedness shows mild actions but can be very consequential on sexual matters. It should be known that compulsory heterosexuality is not applicable to all people. Coming up with ideologies which interfere with the efficacy of other people in the society is a serious issue that amounts to oppression to such people.
McRuer gives this comparison of the normative assumption that the only acceptable sexual attraction is between people of opposite gender (pp. 23-31). Considering other sexual relationships as mere options does not auger well in the society. It is a subject that has drawn a lot criticism in the society. Sexual attraction between people of the same gender is an emerging identity and should be accorded the respect it deserves. Compulsory heterosexuality promotes queerness whereas compulsory able-bodiedness amounts to disability to some people in the society. It is thus important to respect other people’s ways of life and ethnicity in general. Oppression can be worse if it is carried out on grounds of customs and ethnicity. Endeavoring to achieve uniformity in ethnicity is a suppression of other people’s customs. Any form of effort that is made towards washing away the customs and the ethnicity of a particular group is equitable to oppression and a deprivation of people’s rights and freedoms.
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