chapter  8
Too Much History Between Us: Peggy Mcintosh
WithPEGGY MCINTOSH
Pages 10

When African American and White women work in higher education in the United States, we are working in institutions which were built on the exclusion of all of us. But we were excluded to different degrees, and those differences in degree persist no matter how much we all may appear to be “in,” now. Women of Color and White women want to get and keep jobs and gain institutional power and respect, but the contest is not equal. Our different histories of exclusion affect our day-by-day relations to the institutions we are in, and to each other. Our different histories affect pay, promotion, press, praise, prizes, publications and the power of tenure and job stability. Whiteness gives me an undeserved edge in the competitions of the academy as in the society as a whole. Being persons of Color usually gives my colleagues an undeserved disadvantage. Allying can feel personally workable but the deep impediments to it are systemic, psychological and historical. I cannot assume that if I have a friendship with a woman of Color I am truly allying with her. Our systemic histories work through us still, and the white social structures around us relentlessly pressure us toward different locations in life and outcomes within the academy.