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May 28, 2014

"Liberal Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Valise"

I like the phrase "Liberal Privilege". Let's make it happen.

McIntosh argues that white privilege is “like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks."

Her essay lists 50 statements, as might be spoken by a white person, that demonstrate the structural advantages of being white and suggest the structural disadvantages of being black.  One example: “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.”

As I surveyed the items in this invisible knapsack, a thought occurred to me.  Were I to swap the words “political identity” or “political ideology” for “race” and “color,” much of the list could easily apply to conservatives.  Thus was born the notion “liberal privilege.”

With this in mind, I have created a knapsack of invisible items that make up liberal privilege – what I call the “invisible valise,” as it’s a little bit bigger and sturdier than a knapsack.  Don’t expect the phrase “liberal privilege” to catch on right away, but we can all dream about the day when students feel comfortable telling their peers, “Check your liberal privilege.”


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This is awesome and quickly sent on

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