What is unearned privilege, and why are people so reluctant to admit that they have it? How can we use our privilege to do good? What does the existence of systems of power and privilege say about the United States’ focus on meritocracy? Peggy McIntosh is Associate Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and author of the renowned essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.
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Peggy McIntosh is Associate Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She is Founder and Co-director of the United States S.E.E.D. Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). She consults widely in the United States and throughout the world with college and school faculty who are creating more gender-fair and multicultural curricula. In 1988, she published the ground-breaking article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work on Women’s Studies.” This analysis and its shorter form, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” 1989, have been instrumental in putting the dimension of privilege into discussions of gender, race, and sexuality in the United States. McIntosh has taught at the Brearley School, Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), the University of Denver, the University of Durham (England), and Wellesley College. She is co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute and has been consulting editor the Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women. She has consulted with women on 22 Asian campuses on the development of Women’s Studies, and programs to bring materials from Women’s Studies into the main curriculum. She has consulted frequently in China and Korea. In addition to having two honorary degrees, she is the recipient of the Klingenstein Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.
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