‘White Privilege’ Lesson In Delavan-Darien High School Class In Wisconsin Draws Ire (participation)

‘White Privilege’ Lesson In Delavan-Darien High School Class In Wisconsin Draws Ire

Posted: 01/16/2013 4:05 pm EST  |  Updated: 01/17/2013 12:21 pm EST

White Privilege Class

A Wisconsin high school is under fire after a parent accused a diversity class of promoting a critical race theory, alleging that students are being taught that minorities are disadvantaged by white oppressors, Fox News reports.

Delavan-Darien High School’s “American Diversity” course aims to help students “better understand oneself and recognize how feelings, ideas and beliefs interact with the ideas and beliefs of other individuals and groups,” according to the school’s website. By studying American society through the connections among culture, ethnicity, race, religion and gender issues, the course seeks to “create a more accurate picture of modern America.”

But an unnamed parent tells Fox News that assignments and class worksheets seem like “indoctrination.” A handout gives students a definition of “white privilege,” which appears to be taken from a book by the same name:

In critical race theory, white privilege is 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.). Theorists differentiate it from racism or prejudice because, they say, a person who may benefit from white privilege is not necessarily racist or prejudiced and may be unaware of having any privileges reserved only for whites.

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

Click over to Fox News for more on the outcry and the school’s response.

Another worksheet published by The New Guard, a blog on conservative youth organization Young America’s Foundation, is an excerpt from Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” listing examples of racial privilege. Among them: “I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color” and “I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race”

Yet another assignment asked questions of a lecture by anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise, inquiring, “Why is the colorblind model of American ineffective,” “Why is it important to talk about whiteness in America,” and “Explain the irony of the phrase ‘United We Stand.'”

To apply the lesson to the real world, students were allegedly told to go to a Wal-Mart and count the number of dolls in the toy section that represented blacks versus whites. Superintendent Robert Crist says there is merit to parental concern.

“A lot of red flags go up in my mind when I look at the materials,” Crist told Fox News. “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 … now you have a well-rounded discussion, in my opinion.”

The course will not be offered at the school again until the district evaluates the curriculum.

In Portland, Ore. last September, Harvey Scott K-8 School Principal Verenice Gutierrez drew national attention for tying the peanut butter and jelly sandwich to white privilege during equity training in district schools.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez said, according to the Portland Tribune. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

To be sure, the U.S. Department of Education recently examined racial inequity in a survey of 72,000 schools. Findings revealed that minority students tend to face harsher disciplinary actions and are more likely to be taught by lower paid teachers with less experience than white students.

Clarification: A headline elsewhere on the site has been amended to reflect that the controversial subjects represent only a small part of the class.


2 thoughts on “‘White Privilege’ Lesson In Delavan-Darien High School Class In Wisconsin Draws Ire (participation)

  1. White privilege is very evident in our society today, I am white and recognize that. The privilege is there, one of the easiest ways to look at it is from a words of comedian that go something like this, as a white person, especially male, I can go back to any time in the world and be perfectly fine race wise. Now could other minorities say this? Black, Latino, etc. No. This article shows how depending on where the information is coming from people still are not educated on how to approach race and how to talk about it.
    In this situation the teacher could be a minority or someone with a past of being oppressed due to race or the author of the materials used could have been. Those possibilites reflects how people want to gain what they need from race talks. Such as white guilt and the minorities have been oppressed with a continued oppression today. This article proves the point that we need more education of race in our education system and not only at the college level. Kids deal with race issues all through growing up. Properly classes need to be interested into the system of education. However, it needs to be done smartly unlike this article shows. From bad teachers, bad material, or over reacting dramatic parents, it need to be done right.

  2. This article is based on students taking a course based upon becoming educated about racism. Is that not what we are doing as students in a CES 101 course? It actually pained me to read this story just because it is once again parents getting upset over what their children learn in high school. Of course, everyone has their own opinion on what should and should not be taught in a public schools and not everyone will be happy regardless of the final decision. In my opinion, when parents get heated about a culture course being required, it irritates me. Like I said in my first post in the “Does Race Matter” online writing assignment, this subject is part of our history. If we shy away from it, there is no way to make it better.

    I am sure the parents have the best intentions trying to prevent the course to be taught at the school, but they are missing the point. Trying to eliminate a subject by making a big fuss over it kind of ruins the point of the argument they are trying to make. In class we talk about the best way to resolve this “issue” of racism is to understand it and talk about it. These parents disapprove of the course because they are afraid of what is being taught will send the wrong message to their kid. The truth is, that is very possible. However, I would rather my kid learn that lesson and work through it in a classroom setting at a younger age than have major problems as a “racist” when they are in their mid forties.

    So my final word on this subject is: parents, relax and trust that the public school system is going to create a safe environment and structured curriculum that will educate the students on multiculturalism. Making a big fuss and crying about the topic shows that you may not want your kid to get the wrong idea about race, but in reality, they are surrounded by it every day. Taking it away in school leaves the outside world to teach your child the ins and outs of the topic. You might want to think twice about taking it away at school.

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