ONTD Political

School under fire for class that teaches white people are oppressors

8:35 pm - 01/24/2013
A Wisconsin high school is under fire after parents discovered that the 'American Diversity' class taught students that minorities had historically been oppressed by white people.

According to handouts obtained by Fox News, 'white privilege' in the class 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.'

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

The parent became alarmed after seeing the handouts provided to her 18-year-old son, who was enrolled in the class.

The parent asked not to be named.

“I felt it was indoctrination,” she said. “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."

Also included in the course material was a paper from University of Texas professor Robert Jensen arguing that people do not have complete control over their fate.

"There is not space here to list all the ways in which white privilege plays out in our lives, but it is clear that I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased from society," Jensen wrote.

As a class exercise, students were told to visit Wal-Mart's toy aisle.

"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."
The parent complained about the material all the way to Delavan-Darien School District superintendent Robert Crist.

"A lot of red flags go up in my mind when I look at the materials," Crist said. "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."

Crist believes the class was being taught before he became superintendent. It is currently being evaluated.

"The class will not be taught again until that process is fully complete," Crist said.

He did not, however, believe the course was meant to brainwash students politically but only to stimulate 'the thought process.'

“I don’t believe he intended to indoctrinate anybody," he said.

He was, however, concerned.

"I’m out of an old-fashioned school," he said. "I believe in helping kids understand the basic objectives of curriculum and not use some radical material to get a student to support some kind of a special theory."

Young America's Foundation, which also overlooked the curriculum with the parent, called the course '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," wrote Brendan Pringle, YAF staff member. "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."

Still, Crist said schools should prepare students for the real world.

"There are a lot of radical people in our country and across the world," he said. "They need to be ideally attuned to some of the different thought patterns that different cultures may have."

Crist did not say that the teacher crossed the line.

"Ideally a teacher is not supposed to share their own viewpoint," Crist said. "With this type of class, the teacher looks for controversial items like that to stimulate the kids into discussing things in regard to cultural diversity."

That wasn't enough to satisfy the parent.

"This teacher has free reign to pick the material that he wanted to use," she said. "He chose extremely radical left thinkers. He didn’t give those kids alternative information."

She was especially upset because her son got a job washing dishes last summer.

"I was so proud of him," she said. "And then to have a teacher tell you that you have these unearned privileges – that because you are white somehow you infringe on other people’s rights. It’s really just awful."


So awful . . .
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chimbleysweep 25th-Jan-2013 09:33 am (UTC)
Every time I think of quoting something and boggling at it, there follows another quote and I can't pick.
unbridledglee 25th-Jan-2013 09:50 am (UTC)
Reverse racism :'''''(((

These people completely missed the point of the definition of white privilege. And American Diversity. And school. sigh.

"It’s meant to divide and victimize non-whites and condition whites to feel guilty and to be more passive."

ialmrnt5 25th-Jan-2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
It's just racism, reverse racism would be like the absence of racism
maryseif 25th-Jan-2013 09:58 am (UTC)
Oh for fuck's sake.
lastrega 25th-Jan-2013 09:59 am (UTC)
"Free rein" god dammit.
lastrega 25th-Jan-2013 10:03 am (UTC)
I particularly enjoy the part where they say that not teaching students about white privilege will prepare them for the real world.

victorialupin 25th-Jan-2013 10:36 am (UTC)
While the complaints are fucking bullshit, I must say I'm (pleasantly) surprised that this class exists. I'm especially surprised (and, again, pleased) that it's not just teaching about historical oppression but also about power and privilege today.
primeling 25th-Jan-2013 10:37 am (UTC)

I was in my mid twenties when I learned that I was an oppressor as a white woman. My life has changed since then, and I am bettered armed to try and be a better person. It needs to be taught to all white people.
muizenstaartje Re: 25th-Jan-2013 11:03 am (UTC)
Same here. Toy aisles are filled with dolls who are just like me: blond haired and blue eyed. It wasn't untill I heard other people complain that they missed having dolls like them and heroes in cartoons who are like them it got through to me how important this is and how much media and entertainment industry is focussed on people like me. I grew up with messages saying "It's okay to be you. It's good to be you." It's kind of sad that because I wasn't missing anything, I also didn't think that maybe someone else is missing it. That issue was never brought up when I grew up, because it was not in the media that reached me. I was not challenged to think when I was a child.
Classes like the one discussed are important.
xo_bumblebee 25th-Jan-2013 10:51 am (UTC)
I don't understand why this parent is complaining. White privilege does exist.

That being said (and I will probably get flamed to all hell for this):

I didn't choose to be born white at birth. So why should I have to feel guilty about it? I mean, minorities didn't choose to be born a minority either, but if they are taught that white people oppress them, then that's also teaching racism.

The issue should just be dropped.
dumpweeds 25th-Jan-2013 11:02 am (UTC)
are you saying that minorities learning about the history of being oppressed by white people is racist against white people
schmanda 25th-Jan-2013 11:00 am (UTC)
She was especially upset because her son got a job washing dishes last summer.

"I was so proud of him," she said. "And then to have a teacher tell you that you have these unearned privileges – that because you are white somehow you infringe on other people’s rights. It’s really just awful."

Sweet fancy Moses, I'm not sure numbers go high enough to measure the distance that she and The Point missed one another by.
rainbow_fish 25th-Jan-2013 11:39 am (UTC)
That example made me rage. I worked a restaurant in high school and college that had a system for marking the applications from POC so that even though they were kept on file, everyone knew to ignore those applications.

I quit once I figured it out, but I was too scared to report them. Now I definitely wish I had tho.

Editing to add:

So yeah. Moral of the story, that story is a PRIME EXAMPLE of his white privilege tbh.

Edited at 2013-01-25 11:40 am (UTC)
wimples 25th-Jan-2013 11:14 am (UTC)
fucking... white people LOL

also they don't get options being raised by their dumbass parents... so way to be dicks

mad because they giving kids REAL TALK
rainbow_fish 25th-Jan-2013 11:37 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm REALLY surprised that A) this class exists and B)that it actually seems to be teaching students about things like white privilege.

Before I read the second paragraph, I assumed that this class would probs just be teaching like... idek. historical perspectives?

But I certainly didn't expect this class to just take on these kinds of issues. Good for them, tbh!

I WISH this class had existed/been mandatory when I was in high school. It wasn't until I first joined ONTD (lol this is embarrassing, but it kind of shows how much the school system is failing on this front) during college that I learned the term 'white privilege' Since then I've made an effort to educate myself, and I think it's made me a much more aware individual.
ljtaylor 25th-Jan-2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
YES. ditto, lj taught me about white privilege.

but if I try to explain it to my liberal white friends irl they are like, "what, no, that's not a thing, don't be silly you." like privilege is a purely academic concept for masters level theses.
silver_apples 25th-Jan-2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
*gasp* Not the Wal-Mart toy aisle! That wretched hive of white guilt and indoctrination. Everyone knows they sell white dolls to make their customers feel guilty.

Okay, so...counterargument? Alternate viewpoint? Evidence that white privilege doesn't exist? (Hint: "Nuh-uh!" does not count as a valid argument. Neither does "I don't like this conversation" or "my son had a low-paying job for a summer".)

I like how they claim they want to protect the non-white students from being taught they are "second-class citizens" and "victims." Obviously, if we just say "you're all equal" and ignore everything else, everyone will be happy and there will be no problems at all.
harumi 25th-Jan-2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
Lol, as if non-white students weren't already aware of the fact every frickin' day of their lives.

God dammit white people.
sandstorm 25th-Jan-2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
You'd be surprised (or not) on how badly teens on tumblr need this class. I'm happy it exists and hope more people catch on.
rkt 25th-Jan-2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
oh god is this ever true
fragbert 25th-Jan-2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, telling the truth is a radical agenda, much like intolerance and fear are family values.
tilmon 25th-Jan-2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
People like that woman and her enabling school district official are the reason we can't have nice things. It's definitely why I never cared for teaching teenagers. You can ignore their natural whininess--they can't help being teens--but you can't ignore their stupid, stupid parents.
bleed_peroxide 25th-Jan-2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
The fact that this kind of class exists is a really good thing, I think. These are subjects that need to be discussed. Oppression of all types NEEDS to be acknowledged and discussed so it's not repeated.

The problem is that people (in this case, the parents especially, who are locked in their ways a bit more than their children) assume that saying white people have privilege means that "oh, well, that means that you're saying that all white people are awful people," when it isn't, and it all goes downhill from there.

No, having a job as a fucking dishwasher doesn't make you aware of what minorities go through day to day, you fucking dumbass. It means he has experience having a less than glamorous job. Good for you, welcome to the real world!

Edited at 2013-01-25 01:54 pm (UTC)
zhiva_the_mage 25th-Jan-2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
# "They’re dividing the students. They’re saying to non-whites, "You have been oppressed and you’re still being oppressed." [..] “This is a radical left agenda and ideology that is now embedded in our school.” #

soundczech 25th-Jan-2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
is the idea of white privilege really such a radical concept.............................................................
nikoel 25th-Jan-2013 03:11 pm (UTC)

Seriously, it's really quite obvious once you take the blinders off.
redstar826 25th-Jan-2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
You know what doesn't prepare kids for the real world? Growing up in a majority white area (google tells me that the county where this school district is located is around 94% white) and not addressing this stuff. Because those kids are going to be living in an America that is becoming increasingly diverse.
glass_houses 25th-Jan-2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
*raises hand* I'm still confused about white privilege. I learned what I know about it on this journal and ONTD.
molkat 25th-Jan-2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
The toy aisle activity sounds way more helpful and constructive than the bullshit lets give special privileges to the kids with blue eyes for an hour or two to teach about racism.
mollywobbles867 25th-Jan-2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
The fact that these parents are bawwing' over it shows how much it is needed.
silmaril 25th-Jan-2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
betray802 25th-Jan-2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
OMFG, my bestie's mother and the fucking pearl-clutching when it was announced that the CO of DS9 would be Avery Brooks. (My friend is like two ticks this side of Down Syndrome, her mother is still amazed she learned to tie her shoes, so she monitors every damn thing my friend watches/listens to. Neurotypical younger sister? Got away with fucking murder.) Mommy Dearest sat through every ep of DS9, picking it apart for dangerous ideas. She drew the line at Voyager, because women should be in the home, not starship captains.

My reaction? "Jeebus, 'bout damn time."
keeperofthekeys 25th-Jan-2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'm shocked this classroom is somewhere in the Delavan-Darien school district. I grew up there, and it's not exactly a progressive area (Walker graduated from Delavan-Darien, for example). Good on that teacher, I hope the class is allowed to continue.
sunnyolaf 25th-Jan-2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
I feel like white people need to look up white privilege before they start crying about how awful it is to say that we have it. It is something I have everyday from big things to little things. I am not really sure how to explain it but I think this class is a great one and one I wish I had been able to take.
dangomango 25th-Jan-2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
I have no problem with this class being taught, shit should be fucking MANDATORY
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