Reflect: Key People, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection. You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking.

Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions —  that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

Key People & Groups

  • Sir William Blackstone
  • William Penn
  • John Woolman

Intersectionality and Whiteness

Although white people have predominantly benefited from discrimination throughout American history, many subgroups within the white population faced obstacles to voting at various points in time.

For instance, when the United States was established, voting was largely limited to people who were white, male and property owners. This excluded many white laborers who were not part of the landowning aristocracy  any class or group considered to be superior, as through education,ability, wealth, or social prestige. At least early on, wealth and economic status divided the voting population just as race and gender did

Similarly, many immigrant populations from European countries such as Ireland and Italy were widely discriminated against by other whites due to their ethnicity. This treatment made it difficult for these groups of immigrants to grow stronger in the United States, in part because of barriers faced in voting access.

While white people of various other social identities have experienced and continue to experience oppression and barriers to societal institutions, it is important to remember the ways in which white privilege will always benefit them.

For example, consider the ways in which barriers to voting such as poll taxes and literacy tests disproportionately impacted African Americans, despite the fact that they should have also disenfranchised many working-class white Americans who were not privileged with wealth or education. It was due to the provisions put in place by a racist system of government that allowed them to benefit from the color of their skin while African Americans still faced these barriers.

Intersectionality is the term we use to describe layers of oppression and dominance. Belonging to the dominant race is a point of intersection that benefits all white people, to varying degrees, at the expense of non-white people.

Discussion Questions: 
Did you know that "white" as an umbrella term was made up? Does it change the way you think about our society or the world?
How do you think the creation of "white" impacted the constitution? Voting rights?