Please explain what links you are making between this idea of privilege and paradigms. Can you draw on your own experiences of your own privilege here?
In the article “White privilege:Unpacking the invisible knapsack”, the author explores numerous ideas and aspects of white privilege and suggests how the ‘white’ paradigm that white individuals hold is restricted in a way that the privilege is seen as a norm. I find it very interesting that she compares racial inequality to gender inequality as she says how men are unwilling to “grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged”. This leads me to think that perhaps the shared paradigm held by those who are privileged is what exactly is stopping change from being made. As we think that it is a norm for us to have privileges, then the perspective of empowerment is different as it revolves around making those who are disadvantaged “more like us”. However what the author is perhaps suggesting is that lessening privilege is equally as important.
The article definitely revealed many of the things that we take for granted as a result of our paradigm. I think what is especially significant is the fact that we cannot control our paradigm because our brain and understanding only knows about the one that we live in. For example, in the daily effect section, the author lists the many restrictions black individuals face but it would be impossible for us to understand as we simply lack the paradigm and the collective experience to really feel the impact of white privilege.
These paradigms that we hold suggest that we can really understand those from another paradigm as paradigms are what we base our reasoning and understanding of the world off of. Perhaps that is where empathy comes into place to try and bridge the gap between different paradigms. The restrictions of paradigms the article highlights mainly illustrates how the ‘white paradigm’ is perceived as the norm and people of colours are perceived as ‘disadvantaged’. Such restrictions steers our thinking and interpretation of the world in a way that is subjective and almost ignorant to those who are different from us, and as the article points out, such ignorance is what is stopping change from happening.
Personally, I have never felt white privilege as it is not a part of my paradigm. However, through working with numerous services, the word ‘disadvantaged’ comes up very often. After reading the article, this has definitely made me reflect on what that word really means. Perhaps we should focus more on the over-privilege of ourselves rather than the underprivileged communities as power is a distribution that isn’t infinite.
Being able to study at UWC, I am definitely more privileged than many people in the world and have felt this in numerous ways. On the other hand, being Chinese has definitely made me have a different paradigm to the one described in the article as well. The worry for racist comments or even violence in college is one that many do not anticipate.