"The idea of 'privilege'—that some people benefit from unearned, and largely unacknowledged, advantages, even when those advantages aren’t discriminatory —has a pretty long history. In the nineteen-thirties, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote about the 'psychological wage' that enabled poor whites to feel superior to poor blacks; during the civil-rights era, activists talked about 'white-skin privilege.' But the concept really came into its own in the late eighties, when Peggy McIntosh, a women’s-studies scholar at Wellesley, started writing about it."
By: Joshua Rothman