Monday, November 29, 2010

White privilege

49. My children are given texts and classes, which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choices of domestic partnership.

Whether or not this statement shows one of many truths directed at the idea of dominant white privilege in this country, McLntosh’s 49th statement pointed out more of my discomforts and provoked more thoughts than any of her other statements. I feel that there is more than one way to interpret this statement, whether it be by targeting sexual preferences, the acceptance of the absence of a parent, or the ability to have an alternative family structure as a white privileged person. I think that the most striking thought that I had was based on the idea of a single mother and the impact that her race has on her being approved by society.  The scenario set up in children’s literary texts and educational settings looks down upon women getting pregnant before marriage, suggesting that having a partner (male) is important to fundamental growth and nurturing of a child. I feel like there is this unspoken criticism towards non-white single mothers while, in the white community, it is the male partner who is looked down upon and the single mother who is given support from children’s texts, and other sources. She can be seen as brave and, sometimes, even heroic. Even if single white mothers are not accepted as the dominant structure of family unit shown in “children’s texts and classes,” the children of white single mothers are not taught to be ashamed of their structure of family unit in the same way as children of non-white single mothers. What is taught in school and read in the texts supports the life style choices of white people, implying that white people set the standards for what is normal. 

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