Homework 6: a critical analysis of white privilege


In this assignment you will conduct a critical analysis of Forgang’s article “Why I’ll never apologize for my white male privilege”. This assignment is designed to help you critically assess the strength of an author’s argument, and to practice your writing skills in crafting a response.


Draft a letter to the editor of Time responding to Fortgang’s article and evaluating the strength of his arguments. Assume that your letter will be read by readers of Time who also read Fortgang’s article, but who may not have your level of expertise from having taking a class on Social Inequality (specifically, your familiarity with McIntosh’s classic description of white privilege, as well as historic US policies as covered in the textbook, blackboard readings, class lectures and videos).

For this homework, it is important that you support your answers by using references to class materials (the textbook, blackboard readings, class lectures and videos). In your response, you must address each of the following questions (devoting a minimum of 100 words for each question). You will submit the assignment on Blackboard. Be sure to include a title for your Letter to the Editor (one that will give readers an indication as to your argument). Also include your word count under your title (the word count should be 300 or higher. Do not re-copy the questions in your answer. The word count should only count your answers, not the questions).

How well does Fortgang address the privileges outlined by McIntosh in her article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”? Of the 26 items that she mentions – roughly how many do you think he adequately addresses? Use at least 2-3 examples from her list in your response.

  1. Fortgang notes that his “grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will.” Using your knowledge of historical policies (such as redlining) are there barriers that an equally hard-working racial minority would have faced at that time that were likely not faced by Fortang’s grandfather? Are there other policies or actions that may have made achieving the same level of success as Fortgang’s grandparents and parents more difficult for a minority family? (You must explicitly mention specific policies, and demonstrate your understanding of redlining)
  2. In your opinion, does Fortang adequately address the issue of white privilege? Are there any additional issues regarding white privilege that you feel should be discussed?
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