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?