White Privilege

Data Analysis Investigation Introduction Research Question: Do individuals in the Midwest experience the affects of white privilege? During this investigation I seek to explore the differences in privilege that males and females, of different race and ethnic backgrounds, experiences in their daily lives. My fellow Sociology of Race and Ethics classmates and I will conduct Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege survey, in hopes to find any differences in privilege felt by individuals of varying age, gender, race or class membership.
My hypothesis is: According to Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege survey, she suggests that white people are privileged with what she describes as “an invisible package of unearned assets, which I (Peggy McIntosh) can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks” (McIntosh, 1988).
I suggest that with the changing of times, and ever growing equality that this distinct idea of white privilege is no longer prevalent. I believe that, McIntosh’s view of white privilege is no longer applicable in today’s Midwestern society and culture. I hypothesize that age will have more of an effect on responses to the survey than that of gender or race. I predict that younger people (below 20) are at a greater risk of feeling “underprivileged”.

For my second hypothesis, I suggest that overall people in the Midwest feel privileged versus not. I believe this because I feel that the social stratification in the US, especially in the Midwest, has declined creating a more equal environment for all. Data Collection I will receive my data though the use of Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege survey. First I will take the survey, while recording my answers, and then give the survey to ten other individuals, recording their answers in the same format.
My fellow classmates will do the same, then all of the information will be then collected and charted accordingly into cross-tabulation tables. Each survey participant will be asked to rate their responses on a 1-4 scale: 1 = Strongly Agree, 2 = Agree, 3 = Disagree and 4= Strongly Disagree. The date responses can than be interpreted as answers of Strongly Agree, and Agree indicating a greater response of “privilege” – which McIntosh believes suggests members in a majority group.
The data will then be organized into cross-tabulation tables. Each table will contain only two variables – one independent variable (gender, age, race, member of the class or not) and one dependent variable (each statement from the survey). After collecting the data a few changes were made: age was recoded into groups of ages, while also recoding all responses of ‘Disagree’ and ‘Strongly Disagree’ into one value for each variable, both to make analysis easier. Race was also recoded into ‘White’ and ‘All Other Races’ to expedite analysis.
Also the ethnicity variable responses were found to be unreliable, so that variable was removed before running the data. When reading a cross-tabulation table it is important to remember that in order to interpret the data response, you must look for the differences in the percentages of responses not in the difference in the number of responses. Also, the needed information is, if the independent variable (gender, age, race or class membership) seems to make a difference in how a person responds to the dependent variable (the questions).
After all the data has been gathered and charted, I will then compare the findings to my hypothesis. In order to discover whether my hypothesis is true or false I will evaluate the cross tables of age, gender, race and class completed from the collected data. Exploring the Data – Younger ages (less than 20) have a larger affect than old age in feeling “underprivileged”. After analyzing the data, I believe my hypothesis that the ages 18-19 feel underprivileged as compared to the older ages, was correct. This is represented in the findings, that of the en questions surveyed, exactly one half the questions (five of ten) the age group 18-19 had the highest disagreement percentage compared to the other age groups. No other age group had close to the equivalent outcomes, the closest age group being groups 24-34 and 45-50 both with two. The findings show that in one half of all situations this age group is presented with, they feel as though they are underprivileged as compared to other age groups, but by examining just the 18-19 age group or age as a whole, the majority feel as though the ‘Agree’ they are privileged.
This finding is universal through all independent variables. While comparing all independent variables, of the 10 survey scenarios no matter what the independent variable is 70% of the time the participants feel they ‘Agree’ to being privileged. Exploring Data – Midwesterners overall feel “privileged” versus “underprivileged” no matter the independent factor. After analyzing the cross-tabulations, I feel as though my hypothesis about the Midwestern society is spot on.
The data show’s that across any independent factor (age, gender, race and lass membership) a large majority of the participants surveyed feel as though they ‘Agree’ to being privileged. This is an overwhelming statistic that is constant throughout all independent variables; of the ten surveyed scenarios people agree 70% of the time to feeling privileged. In only, one scenario do people as a whole feel as though they are underprivileged. Overall Analysis and Personal Findings I found the collective results very interesting, especially in the age category.
I thought it was interesting that older adults feel less privileged more than or equal to that of middle aged adults. I had assumed, that in our society much like that of the Native American societies that respect and privilege comes with age. I found the data surprising that the age group that tended to feel most privileged was ages 20-21. In four of the ten scenarios, the 20-21 year olds surveyed felt the most privileged or ‘Strongly Agreed’ to the situation as compared to all other age groups. I did not expect this, as the previous age group had felt the most nderprivileged in half of the scenarios, and in only an addition 1-2 years, the surveyed participant went from feeling the most underprivileged to the most privileged. I had guessed that the feeling of privilege would gradually increase with age groups, leaving the oldest age group (50 and older) with the highest feeling of privilege. I thought this, not only because society often deems wisdom with age, but also because the older participants surveyed may have grown up in a more dominant white privilege society, and those same feelings and thought processes would still be relevant to the way they feel they fit in society.
All in all, I found very interesting facts from the data collected in every category. Things that I had thought would hold true, often did not. Such as, when considering the independent variable of gender, I assumed that women would primarily feel as though they were underprivileged as compared to men, but the data shows other wise. From this survey, men felt more underprivileged as compared to their female counterparts 100% of the time. Another fact that I found shocking was that when considering race as the independent variable.
My hypothesis that white privilege was no long prevalent in the Midwest was incorrect. Participants of the ‘Other’ race felt underprivileged in half of the scenarios, and the other half they only ‘Agreed’ to feeling privileged. As compared to their ‘White’ counterparts, feeling privileged 100% of the time. I do believe that in the Midwest, things are moving close to equality as this is seen in at least half or more of the situations both the ‘White’ and ‘Other’ race group feel as though they ‘Agree’ to being privileged.
No one group stands out as ‘Strongly Agreeing’ to be privileged for the majority. This tells us, that although there are still instances of white privilege, the Midwestern society is moving away from that and more towards social equality. Works Cited: McIntosh, Peggy. “Daily effects of white privilege. ” White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1988. Tues. 19 Feb 2013. .

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