Privilege is like an overstuffed backpack on a crowded subway train. Those who carry it rarely realize that just by going about their business without paying attention, and gently turning towards one way or another, they’re actually knocking over people behind them. Educated white people carry this privilege, and sometimes knock people over, whether they know it or not. Some who know what they carry choose to be extra careful not to bulldoze. Others enjoy hefting that weight around and taking up as much space as possible.
I’ve likened privilege to a backpack that knocks people over, but looking for an image to go with this post I came across the works of Peggy McIntosh who said “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”
Read her 1989 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”