Facing her own race

Peggy McIntosh helps educators understand privilege and make schools more effective for all children.

Racial inequity is as much about the injustices that are shielded from white people as it is about the adverse consequences faced by people of color. Or as Peggy McIntosh puts it, “My subconscious knew perfectly well what my advantages were relative to my African-American friends…I had always been thinking in this way: how terrible for them! I had never thought, how exempt for me that I don’t have those run-ins.”

Starting from this premise, Peggy founded the Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity (SEED) Project at the Wellesley Centers for Women in Wellesley, Mass. SEED is a professional development program that prepares teachers to lead their own year-long seminars in public and private schools on making curricula, teaching methods and school climates more gender-fair, multicultural and international. Twenty-five years of this work has created a network of educators who say that they handle with more confidence and competence the challenges of creating equitable learning opportunities for all children.

Peggy believes, “Everybody will be benefited if we lessen privilege systems in the curriculum, the teaching methods and the whole school climate.”

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