Reading Response 1
University of Regina
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
This weekly reading brought up many popular and controversial topics in main stream media and society. The first topic I would like to discuss and expand on is ‘’Male Privilege’’ and how it affects us all. The argument that males have an easier time in society with higher paying jobs and less stipulations placed on them is hard to argue if you read articles, watch tv and examine studies done by professional institutions. The article that I am responding to, ‘’White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’’ does an excellent job of explain how women are at a disadvantage in society while male privilege is present. The problem with the article is the proposed solution they offer. The article suggested that men should give up some of their power to women to establish an equal footing. Now this idea sounds great and would be amazing if it came to fruition as men and women should be equal and get paid the same. However, asking a person to give up power, which usually means money or an asset to their lively hood is never going to happen. Now this is not suggesting that males do not want to see women paid the same and share the same privileges but if you asked a man to gave up power or money to help fix this situation, I can almost bet his answer is no. The problem with todays society and one of the factors I think plays into male privilege is people only care about themselves. Of course, they show compassion and say they wish they could help but asking that same person to relinquish a little power or salary is going to do nothing for the greater good of society. The only solution that I can see working is have a system in place, like teachers have for income and gaining employment. Teachers are paid the same regardless of gender or what they bring to the table. The only pay difference there is lays in number of degrees one has, years of service and depending on if they are in administration or not. Even with the opportunities for pay raise, gender does not matter as long as that person fits the criteria. Another thing that impresses me about the education system in our province is the wide array of different gender cultures and races that are represented as teachers. Another topic I would like to briefly touch on is the list of white privileges the author made and how it connects to like here in Saskatchewan. One of the points brought up is that as a white person, I can choose to be in the company of other white people as much as I want. I think this attitude still holds true for many people in Saskatchewan as we have an aging population that has not had the exposure to people of different races and cultures as younger people have. Twenty or thirty years ago in Saskatchewan you would find a predominantly white society with an Aboriginal minority. So, the attitude of people back then was as the majority, anything we say or want goes. As the influx of immigrants come in from around the world, and Canada becomes one of the most culturally diverse nations on the planet, we should change with it. I think for the most part, people in Saskatchewan and Canada have responded accordingly to the change of culture in our country. But as our ‘‘knapsack’’ some things are just inherently easier and we are more privileged then visible minorities. As one of my classmates pointed out, as she happens to be a minority, many of the points listed in the chart of privileges work against her favour. The question I have and the problem I would like to see solved is how we can limit the effects of our privilege and make it a fairer and better system for all people to enjoy and thrive.