Guess They Don’t Like The Truth: WI School Under Investigation For Teaching White Privilege Is Real

36 Comments
January 16, 2013 ‐ By

 

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

I thought white privilege was one of those indisputable truths of the world, like what goes up must come down, but apparently parents of students in one Wisconsin public high school don’t see if that way. According to Fox News, the “American Diversity” class at Delavan-Darien High School is now being investigated by its school district after parents complained that their children were being taught that minorities have been oppressed by white people throughout history. While for said minorities this probably sounds like an accurate relaying of history, one mother of an 18-year-old boy at the school, told Fox:

“They’re teaching white guilt. They’re dividing the students. They’re saying to non-whites, ‘You have been oppressed and you’re still being oppressed.’

“I felt it was indoctrination,” she said of the handouts her son was given in class. “This is a radical left agenda and ideology that is now embedded in our school. If you’re white, you’re oppressing. If you’re non white, you’ve been a victim.”

According to the handouts Fox obtained, the teacher of the class taught students about “white privilege,” which was defined as, “a set of advantages that are believed to be enjoyed by white people beyond those commonly experienced by non-white people in the same social, political, and economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc.” To explore this ideal, students were asked to visit the toy aisle of their local WalMart.

“They were told to go and count the number of dolls that were representative of blacks as opposed to whites,” the parent said. “It’s meant to divide and victimize non-whites and condition whites to feel guilty and to be more passive.”

 

When the parent brought her concerns to school officials and the new superintendent of the Delavan-Darien School District,  Robert Crist, he saw things from her perspective, telling Fox:

“A lot of red flags go up in my mind when I look at the materials. Her concern has merit.

“Ideally, you would want to present one theory that might be way on the left and another theory that may be way on the right and if you find one in the middle you can present that, too,” he said. “Now you have a well-rounded discussion in my opinion.”

With this issue now being looked into, the class will not be taught again until the investigation is complete. Even then, it may never be taught again at all, considering the same concerned parent also brought the class to the attention of the Young America’s Foundation. There, staff member Brendan Pringle called the course out as race-baiting.

“This course offers a snapshot of a larger trend that has plagued university curriculum for years and has only recent crept into high school classrooms,” he wrote in an essay. “Professors and teachers are increasingly telling white students that they are part of the problem of racism, and are telling black students that they are second-class citizens. This race-baiting technique is an attack on American values and can only breed bitterness and envy.”

Sorry, but while I think ideas always need to be presented in a balanced manner, to me, this entire argument sounds more like white people playing the victim themselves. Only those who benefit from white privilege have a hard time seeing it. This is why we get bombarded with this heroic American ideal of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and the assumption that everyone has boots, or at least an equal chance of getting a pair. White people need to understand the privilege they have in society so that they can recognize institutional racism and not unconsciously (or consciously for that matter) play into it.  It would be silly to try to make white teenagers feel guilty for things that transpired years before them and contributed to our current societal makeup. But it’s just as silly to act like this type of hierarchy doesn’t exist in our society.

What do you think about this class?

 

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Lee.Mia.Loan

    Having studied science, history and philosophy, among other things, at the college level, I attended classes with many “white” males. Many of them were actually
    socioeconomically worse off than myself however they were strictly forbidden
    the race and sex based scholarships that their classmates enjoyed. I know that at least a few of them lost out on subsequent job opportunities to objectively demonstrably less-qualified “black” and “brown” applicants. Why? Simply because of their skin color alone. To think “white” people of this generation have not experienced racism and poverty like every other “color” of people in this nation is ridiculous and racist in and of itself, and for
    academic institutions to teach “white privilege” as empirical fact is only testament to this truth.

  • Lee.Mia.Loan

    “The median income
    of Jewish Americans is approximately twice that of their non-Jewish countrymen.
    Additionally, while only about 40 percent of high-school graduates attend
    college, the rate among Jews is 85 percent. Jews also occupy positions of power
    at a rate greatly in excess of their two percent of the population. Yet should
    we speak of “Jewish privilege”? It would be more instructive to note
    a secret of Jewish people’s success: They place great emphasis on education and
    workplace achievement.

    And what about blacks’ dominance in mainstream sports? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous
    to talk about “black athletic privilege”?
    Selwyn Duke, 2011

  • Lee.Mia.Loan

    “Since 2000, the poverty rate among working-class whites has grown faster than among
    working-class nonwhites, rising 3 percentage points to 11 percent as the recession took a bigger toll among lower-wage workers.” (Hope Yen, Associatd Press, ‘4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work’, 2013)

    Guess they don’t like the truth!

  • Anonymous

    This is sad. I go to this school and, the teacher who teaches this class is the sweetest and nicest guy you will ever meet. He’ not raciest and teaches the class like its suppose to be. Now he could possibly loose his job because of this. I saw him crying in his class room for the first time ever because of whats going on now, and its sad to see such a nice person have to go through all this.

  • Pingback: Diversity? Let’s Call It Racism! | C h a r l e s O l i v e r()

  • get real

    I’m actually shocked that the women here agree with this article. I just new I was going to read “you shouldn’t be teaching this to kids”

  • Honestly

    White people aren’t used to being talked about. As soon as they are exposed to the truth, their feelings get hurt, and they want to yell racial discrimination and sue. Boo hoo. Cry me a river. They’ve probably never experienced racism, so as soon as the slightest thing makes them feel uncomfortable it is the end of the world &a petition is signed. I’m so over it.

  • Honestly

    White people aren’t used to being talked about. As soon as they are exposed to the truth, their feelings get hurt, and they want to yell racial discrimination and sue. Boo hoo. Cry me a river. They’ve probably never experienced racism, so as soon as the slightest thing makes them feel uncomfortable it is the end of the world &a petition is signed. I’m so over it.

  • HK

    I am a recent alumnus from Delavan-Darien High School. While
    attending I took this exact American Diversity course. Our school contains
    about 50/50 Caucasian and Hispanic descents. When I took part in this class we
    had quite a variety of students in my course. I am a white individual. Growing
    up in this area many of my closest friends are Hispanic. I noticed as many of us
    grew older we did set into our comfort zones with our racial groups. This class
    taught me many things about the diversity in America. I found that everything
    presented in this course was important and necessary to be discussed. As high
    school students we don’t always realize how we treat people, or why we treat
    them the way we do. This American Diversity course brought light to these
    topics. Our class room was never a place to feel guilty or punished for who we
    are or where we come from. Our teacher taught us our history of diversity in
    America and to be aware of our actions. Being in this classroom we were free to
    speak our minds without judgment. Throughout high school this American
    Diversity course was one that will stick with me forever. Our teacher taught us
    respect for others. I feel that every student at Delavan-Darien High School and
    other school districts should take this course.

  • HK

    I am a recent alumnus from Delavan-Darien High School. While
    attending I took this exact American Diversity course. Our school contains
    about 50/50 Caucasian and Hispanic descents. When I took part in this class we
    had quite a variety of students in my course. I am a white individual. Growing
    up in this area many of my closest friends are Hispanic. I noticed as many of us
    grew older we did set into our comfort zones with our racial groups. This class
    taught me many things about the diversity in America. I found that everything
    presented in this course was important and necessary to be discussed. As high
    school students we don’t always realize how we treat people, or why we treat
    them the way we do. This American Diversity course brought light to these
    topics. Our class room was never a place to feel guilty or punished for who we
    are or where we come from. Our teacher taught us our history of diversity in
    America and to be aware of our actions. Being in this classroom we were free to
    speak our minds without judgment. Throughout high school this American
    Diversity course was one that will stick with me forever. Our teacher taught us
    respect for others. I feel that every student at Delavan-Darien High School and
    other school districts should take this course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ngeri Ngeri Nnachi-Azuewah

    I love the class! We need more like it. I make reference to this on a daily basis and feel that it only gets discussed at the college level..imagine how many do not make it to college. This is ideal…if we have conversations of this nature going on where and when they should be (everywhere and all the time)..we can finally be on the right path toward progress and actually combating it.

  • life is about decisions

    Let’s take responsibility for our present decision. Minorities are a part of a culture that are trying to progress. So people stop encouraging negative – stop smoking pot, get healthy hobbies, get healthy attitudes. Let’s start talking proper English. Don’t do illegal things, live a humble life style. Be a saver not a spender. Invest see your money grow. Go get a profession. Be considerate to others, respect yourself and others. Stop popping kids till your well off. Stop hanging in the street. Stay focus, life is about balance. I’m not white and I’m doing very well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAI4SRENU2A5WKRTELXXYJPDSI Kayla

    Most of white people are oblivious to their white privilege The only time they notice is if they have a black friend and notices how they are treated.

  • http://twitter.com/@Mz_Undrstd Miss_Understood

    They’re saying to non-whites, ‘You have been oppressed and you’re still being oppressed.’

    That is because it is TRUE…if you want your children to not learn reality then maybe you need to home school them with some Mother Goose literature

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2015378 Katrina Anderson

    If education of white privilege is acquired through science (i.e. systematic knowledge of the world gained through observation and experimentation) there should be no debate about it’s existence. The students were given an assignment to personally observe white privilege in their world. We can’t and shouldn’t deny what we all observe with our own eyes. If parents wanted to discredit the class, it should have been with science that disproves what the class is teaching (but my guess is there isn’t any). Simply saying “The science makes us look bad” shows unnecessary guilt and a misunderstanding of the information. When people deny facts based on scientific observation, the world becomes a scary place to live.

  • Candace Kendall-Browne

    It’s called learning the history of this country. People are quick to point out the horrible history of other countries. Time to really look at their own.

  • hollyw

    Wow. I apologize, but I actually find this mother’s reaction, along with the District’s pacifying response. pretty comical. After all, it is Wisconsin…

    I grew up and went to school in Indiana, so we minority Midwesterners naturally learn to adopt a morbid reality towards Midwest politics, education, and religion (which are hopelessly one and the same) lol…The conservative foundation spokesperson was right, though; this is a movement that’s mostly seen in colleges…and students from my college reacted the saaame way when everyone was forced to take the Change and Tradition course as a gen’l ed course. It taught about how European colonization has shaped the world. Then asked for each student to have a ONE-DAY experiment of adopting traditions of someone of the Muslim religion. Our students boycotted! Smdh said it was against their “rights”, I’m like, this is a liberal arts school, ya’ll have none lol! But they spoke what their parents taught them…

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    Whenever white folks get called out on some negative stuff or faced with the reality of race relations, they love to play the victim and swear that people are out to get them. I swear, they can be so sensitive to the minority truth, smh. . .

  • Candacey Doris

    So they don’t want us telling them about reality? Sorry, but it happened, it’s still happening, and nothing changes if you don’t acknowledge the problem. It’s not just black people and hispanics, it’s almost everyone that isn’t white. Just look at Hawaii!

  • bigdede

    I’m not understanding why people feel it’s the school that should be teaching these things. In school I learned about slavery and jim crow but it was my parents that taught me about white privilege and how Blacks are treated and oppressed. That is the kind of stuff that should be taught at home. Parents are the best to teach young Black kids how to navigate through the racism while keeping your head up. Parents should be teaching pride, not schools. Blackness can’t be taught.

    • hollyw

      I think a whole lot more should be taught in schools, such as how religion has also shaped the world, and not left up to parents, as well. I’m originally from the Midwest, and it’s hard enough as it is even getting an unbiased education b/c of parents like this (and district staff who placate), let alone one that’s well-rounded. I don’t think Black parents should sit back and be content with the education system leaving out key parts of actual history (or current events) any longer. Our kids deserve the education our tax dollars are paying for.

      • bigdede

        That’s true that our tax dollars are paying for our children’s education but there are some things that just can’t be taught in schools. I am from Wisconsin. I went to school from 5K to 12th grade in the Wisconsin school system. Also Wisconsin is one of the most racist places ever. So a teacher can talk about white privilege until they are blue in the face, kids need to learn about that from their parents. Parents are the only ones who can describe their struggles to overcome white privilege with their children. Parents can relate experiences and help their children navigate through the struggles.

    • DTJ

      I don’t think its taught for the purpose of educating black kids about white privilege. Its taught so that white students can remove the blinders their parents placed on them

  • Kellz

    Read Peggy McIntosh
    She was a white woman that spoke truthfully on white privaledge

    • FAMURattler85

      Also, Tim Wise

  • Zettai

    Wow. Maybe that school will erase the Civil War, Jim Crow, and slavery from the curriculum too!

    • http://www.facebook.com/kahlijr Kahli Randall Small

      ironically they did exactly that in the state of Texas, believe it or not. perhaps WI is next lol.

  • kierah

    White privilege is something that should be taught so that whites can be aware of subtle racism in our society. The privilege of having representatives of yourself in media is HUGE!! The freedom from constantly representing your race is HUGE!! The ability to travel most of the planet without first asking, “How do they treat the white folks over there?” is HUGE!! Shoot, just being able to put on a Band-Aid that almost looks like your skin tone is HUGE!!
    No, many individual whites are not personally responsible for this, but they are personally benefiting. To say otherwise would be a gross miseducation.

    Conservative white America is still pissed that so many young whites voted for Obama that they are ready to spit nails! How dare this teacher pull back the curtain and make these students think about the status quo? How dare a teacher teach?

    • http://www.facebook.com/cocolipssugarkiss CoCo Sugar Kiss

      I completely agree! It’s ok, for a teacher to say rude and uncalled for things about religion and politics, but let someone speak out about White Privilege is unacceptable? Not in my eyes, I spent enough time in the military to see it come to fruition. To become aware is important, and it sounds like these teachers are afraid that the truth will come out about it. SMH all they are doing is showing exactly how important it is to teach kids this now so it wont hit them in the face like a brick later.

    • Kenedy

      Exactly! & if you notice, the mothers of the white children were saying that they didn’t want their children to feel guilty & apologetic for being white….well if you personally haven’t done anything wrong, then there’s nothing to feel guilty about…hmmm, detecting that these mothers are projecting some sort of guilt in their defensiveness

    • mac

      beautiful *claps*

    • Guest

      I’m sorry that I can’t even take your ‘band aid’ comment seriously. Ask yourself if
      you really believe ALL of our children should be taught that the “white” kids are “privileged” and “guilty” because you can’t find a “black” band-aid (even though they DO make them and I’ve seen them).

      “White privilege” is a myth used to divide and conquer, so long as we’re
      pointing the finger at eachother big business is free to buy ‘our’ government
      and milk us all like the cattle we’ve become.

    • Lee.Mia.Loan

      It is ignorant and
      racist to believe that just because there are “white” people in the
      media, that all “white” people are and/or feel represented. Furthermore,
      studies have shown that minorities actually make up a larger percentage of
      ‘media representation’ than they do of the actual population of the USA.

      The belief that “white” people and “white” people alone
      have, “[t]he freedom from constantly representing [their] race…” is
      also in and of itself ignorant and racist. Would a conversation about
      “black” athletic privilege be allowed in American academia?

    • Lee.Mia.Loan

      It’s also quite easily arguable if you look at interracial crime statistics, not
      only in the USA but across the globe that, “How do they treat the white
      folks over there?” is actually often a more relevant question than asking
      how they’d treat the “black” people. For example, in most
      “white” countries diversity is encouraged and ‘celebrated,’ you will
      not find these values present in “black” countries. A
      “black” person is generally much less likely to be assaulted or
      murdered, by a “white” person in Europe or America than a “white” person is in Africa.

    • Lee.Mia.Loan

      “Though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.” (Pat Buchanan, ‘Black America’s Real Problem Isn’t White Racism,’ 2013)
      These statistics have remained relatively steady before and since then. If I post links my comments will be ‘moderated.’ If you believe in this stuff enough to think all “white” kids should be labeled as “guilty” and “privileged” in front of their peers for things they have no control over then I encourage you to do your own research first.

    • Lee.Mia.Loan

      I’m sorry that I can’t even take your ‘band aid’ comment seriously. Ask yourself if
      you really believe ALL of our children should be taught that the “white” kids are “privileged” and “guilty” because you can’t find a “black” band-aid.

      “White privilege” is a myth crafted to divide and conquer, so long as we’re
      pointing the finger at eachother big business is free to buy ‘our’ government
      and milk us all like the cattle we ALL emulate so well.