On Saturday's 'Passionate Justice' program I presented writer Barry Deutsch's sense of male privilege, based on Wellesley's Peggy Macintosh, her pieces about white-privilege first published in 1990. His full list may be seen at Democratic Underground. Here's an abbreviated list. Dr. McIntosh saw that whites here are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To make her point about these invisible systems, she wrote a list of invisible privileges from which whites benefit. She argued that men also tend to be unaware of their own privileges as men.
Here are some privileges I enjoy as a man.
. My odds of being hired, when competing against women, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the better my odds.
. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that may be true.
. If I’m never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.
. If I fail, it won’t be seen as a black mark against my sex’s abilities.
. I’m far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers.
. If I do the same task as a woman and if the measurement’s at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low.
. On average, I’m not taught to fear walking alone after dark.
. If I choose not to have kids, my masculinity will not be questioned.
. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
. If I have kids and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent.
. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.
. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.
. If I’m careless with my financial affairs or my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.
. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I’ll be called a “slut”.
. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability.
. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew, aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
. If I’m straight it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten by a spouse or lover.
. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I don't need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid or lessen harassment.
And while I've no doubt you could add items, most important is that I have the privilege of being pleasantly unaware of my male privilege.
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