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Published On: Thu, Mar 28th, 2019

Wisconsin: Viterbo University’s Alyssa Gostonczik lectured students on intersectionality, their white privilege

It’s an age of postmodernism in America and a panel discussion held at Viterbo University on Tuesday night involved a lecture on white privilege, as Alyssa Gostonczik, the intern and employer relations coordinator at Viterboas, told students that being racially colorblind is the “epitome” of their white privilege.

photo Marcus Werthmann

“Saying that you’re colorblind, or that you are race blind, or you just see people for people and not whatever color they are is the epitome of white privilege,” said Gostonczik during the panel, called “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”

“It means that you are denying hundreds of years of oppression to a group and then expecting them to be on the same level as you are, or saying things like, ‘Well, you can anything, you just need to try harder,’ or ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you got this,’ when that individual is not even close to being on the same playing field as their white counterpart is,” Gostonczik said.

“As long as good people keep doing nothing, racism is going to continue,” she added.

The “Invisible Knapsack” refers to a term coined by feminist Wellesley Professor Peggy McIntosh to describe the tools of “unconscious oppression” whites carry with them at all times.

Gostonczik argued “socioeconomic privilege” allows wealthy people access to health care, education, and the ability to take an unpaid internship to better one’s job prospects.

Gostonczik also mentioned those with “Christian privilege,” meaning holidays you celebrate are always recognized, you get days off from work and school, the decorations around campus and town fit your holidays, and you get to hear Christmas music playing in stores and on the radio. Christian privilege means politicians likely share your faith and your views – “anti-abortion laws, for example.”

Male privilege, she said, means you are “likely compensated for the work that you’re doing.”

Yet Gostonczik said one of her favorite privileges to talk about is “‘heterosexual cisgendered privilege,’ which means if you are not on the LGBTQQIAP spectrum, you’re privileged.”

She noted that “if you don’t know what the letters in that acronym mean, you’re privileged.”

 

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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