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    White Privilege : The Invisible Knapsack Essay

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    America is a presumptuous country; its citizens don’t feel like learning any other language so they make everyone else learn English. White Americans are the average human being and act as the standard of living, acting, and nearly all aspects of life. In her essay “White Privilege: The Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh talks about how being white has never been discussed as a race/culture before because that identity has been pushed on everyone else, and being white subsequently carries its own set of advantages. Gloria Anzaldua is a Chicana, a person of mixed identities. In an excerpt titled “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” she discusses how the languages she speaks identifies who she is in certain situations and how, throughout her life, she has been pushed to speak and act more “American” like.

    McIntosh’s idea of whiteness as a subconscious race that carries its own advantages can enlighten why Anzaldua feels like she needs multiple languages to identify who she is as a person. McIntosh points out that “whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal” (352).Because of this standard that has been so widely accepted throughout society, people coming to the US experience a feeling of needing to belong, of needing to become the typical white family. Anzaldua and her fellow Chicanos’ experience of being “required to take two speech get rid of their accents” supports McIntosh’s idea. When students go to school and they have some trait that isn’t “American,” they are often required to put in extra effort to either change or get rid of that trait, whether it be an accent or belief.

    Their special traits aren’t celebrated or accepted; they are shunned and frowned upon. ., and those she is talking to shouldn’t feel embarrassed if someone talks to them in a language other than English. There are other inhabitants of this planet we call home. Being white is a subconscious realization; it doesn’t stand out like being black or Asian. The languages spoken by cultures and races around the world help them identify as a group, and whites aren’t always accepting of that.

    McIntosh addresses that subconscious thinking, and makes the reader think a little harder about their position and how they got there. Anzaldua discusses how language helps her identify as a person. She also touches on the ways she’s been pushed to be either more American or Chicano or Spanish. As today’s world becomes more global and relies more on speaking the same tongue, the core identities the languages represent are becoming less prevalent and more of an added bonus.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    White Privilege : The Invisible Knapsack Essay. (2019, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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