I’m not in a position to assert whether Dr. Peggy McIntosh is “great” but she wrote a highly influential essay. Yes, it’s not a research paper in the most conservative meaning of that term, which is why it contains no statistics. What she’s writing about is not exactly quantifiable, so I don’t know whether computational methods of any kind are relevant here. You can’t exactly measure a person’s privilege with a scale or yardstick. (BTW nothing I’ve ever published contains statistics or any other form of math. That doesn’t mean those publications are illegitimate.) The essay employs a classic form of feminist scholarship and research: it examines the author’s own personal life experience to illuminate larger truths about society (aka “the personal is political”).

And no, you’re wrong, her essay was precisely about White privilege, which is why those words appear in the title of the original and many of the variants she subsequently authored. Yes, many of the ideas in that essay apply to other kinds of privilege and advantage but she was specifically writing about White privilege in the essay’s first iteration. You can read that original HERE.

Also, history has been very kind to Dr. McIntosh. Since its first presentation in 1986, her essay “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies” (or some variant thereof) has been routinely included in textbook anthologies and readers and taught to students around the country in a wide variety of courses. Searching that title in Google Scholar or WorldCat yields hundreds of hits. Not bad for “borderline aristocrat.”

Finally, describing Chinese people as “yellow” is racist, as is the notion that there is such a thing as a “Chinese face.” Both evidence your unconscious privilege (you aren’t required to think critically about the difference between race, ethnicity, and cultural representation, etc.) Your comparison is spurious because there is no such thing as “yellow” people or “yellow” culture, where there very much is such a thing as self-identified “White” people.

Professional homosexual. Professor. Writer. Scholar. Activist. Husband.

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