white privilege

or white skin privilege or check your privilege

What does white privilege mean?


White privilege is a term used to describe unearned rights and benefits afforded white people in Western society because of the color of their skin. It’s sometimes also referred to as white skin privilege.

Examples of white privilege


Examples of white privilege
Whites often come to us to be absolved for slavery, internment camps, Latinx kids in cages, the Trump regime, their racist uncle, the theft, removal, forced assimilation, and genocide of First Nation people, for white guilt, for white privilege.
@grollman, August, 2018
White privilege is you thinking you can disrespect me and then demand an answer from me on something that google has explained quite clearly. Good day, sir.
@MsPackyetti, August, 2018
This white girl has a firm understanding of #WhitePrivilege. She knows it has worked in the past and still does
@rolandsmartin, August, 2018

Where does white privilege come from?


The first usage of white privilege is believed to have been by Peggy McIntosh, a women’s studies scholar and founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum. In 1988, McIntosh wrote a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies,” in which she likened the phenomenon to “an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.”

Her paper outlined 46 different examples of white privilege, including:

 1 I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2 I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3 If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4 I can be reasonably sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5 I can go shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be followed or harassed by store detectives.

A year later, McIntosh wrote an essay titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which was published in the Peace and Freedom Magazine in the summer of 1989 and is often referred to as a white privilege primer for those looking to learn more about it.


In the years since, the term white privilege has come to be used to explain power structures inherent in American society that disproportionately benefit white people while putting people of color at a disadvantage.

The phrase check your privilege is often used to remind white people of those power structures; however, it is not a phrase that is without controversy. Some scholars say the use of the term white privilege makes use of whiteness as a proxy for class and ignores other power structures and inherent privileges that come with a range of societal identities.

Legal scholar Kimberlee Crenshaw is credited with coining the term intersectionality to address those multiple identities that affect how one is perceived and treated by the rest of the world.

WATCH: Do You Know If Intersectionality Affects You?

Who uses white privilege?

Brigitte Fielder

A Science Enthusiast

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.