Controversial teacher conference focuses on ‘white privilege,’ crushing student resistance to radical ideas

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – More than 200 Wisconsin teachers and school administrators traveled to Green Bay last week to attend CREATE Wisconsin’s 2013 state conference.

EAGnews decided to join them, to get a first-hand look at what the program, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, is all about.

whiteprivelagelessonState officials contend the CREATE program is nothing more than an effort to help teachers better understand and serve minority students. But as EAGnews previously reported, CREATE appears to have a much more broad and progressive agenda than simply working to close the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts.

Many of the presentations focused on how public schools supposedly promote “white culture” and “white privilege,” to the detriment to students of color. Presenters called on educators to recognize and acknowledge their white privilege and encourage their students to do the same. Only then, presenters argue, can all students truly receive a multicultural education.

The conference also focused on teaching race-based topics in the classroom and how to respond to student resistance when talking about white privilege. The goal seems to be to crush dissent, convince white kids that they need to feel guilty about themselves and the society they grew up in, and convince minority kids that current American social structures are hopelessly stacked against them.

Who will ultimately benefit from such a divisive and negative approach? We wonder if anyone will at all.

Teaching ‘white privilege’ to children

In a workshop titled “Establishing Critical Thinking and Multicultural Education in Rural Wisconsin Schools,” Dr. Marguerite Parks discussed the importance of multicultural education and how to create culturally responsive classrooms.

Of course the concept of “white privilege” was near the center of the discussion.

Parks, an associate dean for the College of Education and Human Services at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, said educators are often ignorant of their own “white privilege” or do not know how to broach the subject in class.

“What we often discover is that teachers don’t have the resources or don’t know what books to use,” she said.

To deal with that perceived problem, Parks included a list of “authentic multicultural books” for elementary school-aged children.

One of the recommended books is “The Jacket” by Andrew Clements.

The story centers around a young white boy named Phil. After wrongly accusing an African-American boy of stealing his brother’s jacket, Phil must confront the truth about his privilege and what it means.

It turns out, unbeknownst to Phil, his mother gave the jacket to the African-American grandmother. Phil later learns that was the case.

Phil asks his mother why she never told him he was prejudiced. His mother, clearly confused by the question, asks Phil if someone accused him of being prejudiced, at which point the boy responds:

“No, but it’s true. I know what it means because we learned about it on Martin Luther King Day. It means you don’t like black people.”

What exactly is the point here? Would Phil have reacted the same way if the boy wearing the jacket had been white?

Does being suspicious of a black person, or even mistakenly accusing that person, make one a racist?

Parks praised the book as a way to have an honest discussion about “white privilege” in the classroom.

“I start with this book because first [students] have to understand who they are as whiteness and the white privilege issue before they can move into multicultural literature,” Parks said.

Another book recommended by Parks is “My Name is Maria Isabel” by Alma Flor Ada.

The fictional book recounts the story of a young girl, Maria, who moves to a new school. On her first day the teacher suggests Maria be called Mary to avoid confusion with the two other Maria’s already in the class.

“I had a second grade teacher who read this book, she was doing this multicultural stuff, and she’d been teaching for 32 years or something and her comment was, ‘All I can think of is how many kids I’ve hurt over the years by saying their name wrong or by changing their name so that I could say it.’ So when you talk about issues of privilege, this is a wonderful book,” Parks said.

Aren’t we promoting oversensitivity a bit here? There are a lot of things in this world every person of every race could be offended by. Life is a lot easier when we learn to avoid emotional devastation over every little slight.

Dismantling student resistance

Another conference session labeled “Power, Positionality and Identity in the Culturally Responsive Classroom: White Privilege and Dismantling Student Resistance,” addressed challenges that may arise when teaching white privilege to upper level students.

A description reads, “This session centers on teaching dynamics that stand in the way of student learning and create resistance especially when the teacher’s position places them at odds with their students. Issues to be dealt with include examining those painful contradictions that arise while teaching White Privilege.”

Dr. Bola Delano-Oriaran, one of the presenters along with Parks, expressed her frustration at student resistance.

“I’m not trying to confront my students, but day in, day out, I keep getting that resistance,” Delano-Oriaran said. “I don’t even know how to describe it. You know the pain that goes through my mind as I keep talking about it, about this resistance, because for me the intent is not for my students to get annoyed with me.

“I would like to move my students beyond guilt and anger. And what I’m trying to get them to understand is we have to walk together. Now we wouldn’t have all these issues we’re having right now in present day society if we talked about it.”

Parks also discussed her experience with student resistance.

“Rather than hitting them in the face – because I was verbally hitting them in the face, you’ve got white privilege, you’re middle class, you’re white – I [realized] I need to back off,” Parks said. “So that to me was an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I’ve got to change my tactics. Not, not do it, because I still do it, I still hit them in the face quite a lot… But there is a better way of which to do it than just blame them, because that’s what I was doing. [I was] blaming them for the fact that they grew up in a small white town…”

Neither presenter acknowledged that students might have some valid criticism of the “white privilege” concept. Instead, they believe resistance is due to student ignorance, and that ignorance must be crushed.

There is an ironic humor involved in this sort of radical teaching. According to Parks, “multicultural education is about critical thinking.” Yet, both women only allow their students to engage in “critical thinking” when they are in agreement with the lesson at hand.

Establishing a revisionist history

Presenters at the conference also took issue with how American history is taught.

They claim students learn American history from a “Eurocentric” (or white) point of view, minimizing the role of people of color. Moreover, they believe teaching the idea of America being “exceptional” stems from institutionalized privilege.

They recommend books like “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” by James Loewen and “A People’s History” by Howard Zinn. Neither author is very fond of the United States, and they want students to share their dim view.

“I very early on give my students an American history test that I took from the book ‘Lies My Teacher Told Me’… because I want them to have a background understanding of how much their education has left out,” said Parks.

Example test questions from the book, according to Parks, include:

“What freedom was the Alamo fought for? How many times has the United States tried to kill Fidel Castro? What U.S. President since the Civil War segregated the White House? How many Europeans did the Black Plague kill? How many Native Americans died of disease in the Northeast following the European settlement?”

What is the point of such “lessons” other than to inspire guilt and anger? And how do such lesson plans help to close the achievement gap?

Wouldn’t the time and money spent on the CREATE conference be better used hiring individual tutors and additional instructional aides for struggling children, regardless of their race? Wouldn’t afterschool programs focusing on reading, math, and science do more to close the achievement gap?

But maybe the achievement gap is a secondary concern for CREATE Wisconsin organizers.  Perhaps the real goal is to undermine the American narrative.

Wisconsin parents would be wise to monitor the “lessons” their children are receiving at school, particularly if they have concerns about kids being doused in the philosophy of “white privilege,” or being taught that America is a racist nation with a corrupt and shameful history.

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16 Comments
  1. Corrinne Worden says

    Recognizing that white privilege exists does not mean that you should feel guilty about being white. The existence of white privilege does not invalidate the struggles or misfortunes you’ve had in your life. It does not mean that you can not experience racial discrimination as a white person. It does not mean that you must enjoy a life of rainbows and sunshine just because you are white. Recognizing that racism is prevalent in American culture and that America’s history is not always glorious and good does not mean that you hate America. As I see it, recognizing the existence of white privilege gives you the knowledge and opportunity to work towards ensuring that ALL people have the same advantages you do. You do not get profiled or seen as suspicious by police/government officials because of your race. You do not have to constantly deal with racial stereotypes. You can turn on the TV and find a whole host of complex characters and positive role models of your race. You do not (provided you are a white male) systematically earn less money for the same work as another person. These and most other white privileges are so basic that they shouldn’t even BE privileges. If you do not desire for ALL Americans to enjoy these advantages, then perhaps you are more racist than you thought.

  2. LBR says

    Just wait till McShame’s and Rubio’s Amnesty is in effect and we awful whites have to pay off Mexicans for their illegaliness. It “ain’t” even started!

  3. $5708171 says

    It’s not about “teaching” at all. It’s about pulling down the United States and making her into a third-rate also-ran. Meanwhile, our children are being beaten senseless by a continual barrage of racially skewed false guilt until they have no idea what they believe.

  4. Morduin00 says

    It amazes me that no one is hitting a particular nail on head on this one. Why is it the schools are concentrating on teaching behavior and not the basics needed to succeed, such as english/reading, math and sciences. Schools have gotten way out of control for their “political indoctrinations”. To the teachers: if you want to be respected as teachers, teach. Do not indoctrinate.

    No wonder our kids are lagging behind the rest of the world.

    Did it ever occur to the “teachers” in this article that the students are resisting because they don’t want this fecal matter shoved into their heads?

  5. $13614178 says

    In other words , teach them to be progressives . Talk about deluded fools , the progressives apparently have a lock on that and want to pass it on to ALL white youth and destroy any chance for them to excel in life . Now THAT is REAL racism . I am white , I have NEVER had any privilege , I am now retired only because I lost my leg to an old war wound , but I started working at age thirteen on a dairy farm milking cows and shoveling manure and worked at various jobs but was never out of work or on welfare . I served nine years in the Marine Corps with two and a half in Vietnam to get two years of college on the GI bill . I raised seven children , none of which I could afford to send to college , but all are making a living today , except one , my youngest , that was born with ” spina bifida ” from my exposure to agent orange in Vietnam . Now THAT is white privilege .

  6. Bob Hauser says

    The Superfly from Kenya openly gloats that he is the first black prez of a “post racial” America….well, first of all, what sort of street drug did Obama have jammed up his schnozz to hallucinate him into believing that America is “post racial” or anything like it? ….And furthermore, even if it could justly be said that racism died in America…rest assured, the Obama baboon tribe and all their jewish handlers, by their sociopathic and neanderthalian antics, have breathed life eternal right back into it

  7. Bob Hauser says

    Well, you know what?….I’ve most likely been accused of being a “racist” more than anybody on this thread…know what else? I don’t flat give a fiddler’s and in fact and quite frankly have long since come to respond to these “flaming liberals” thusly: yeah, I am and damned proud of it and so damned what?…spread that on your PorterHouse rolls. Whether anyone likes this or not, it was Whitemen of European gentile ancestry who gave us all of our Freedom Charters, the Mayflower Compact, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordinances of 1787, Federalist Papers, Constitution and Bill of Rights…it was White men of European gentile ancestry that did far more to make this the once greatest nation on earth just so a bunch of jewish skanks and god damned clam bumpers in the public fool system could skull-rape our kids into a “politically correct” state of oblivion. Now—go ahead and call me racist or “insensitive”…I’d just love it. Go running off on one tennis shoe whimpering to yourselves to Moron Dees of the Southern “Poverty” Law Center and file a snivel rights complaint against me and maybe when he can find enough time to get out from behind the wheel of one of his fifteen Rolls-Royces, he’ll take your case….Jesus H Kayrist….this country is beyond just brain dead.

    1. Andy says

      Bob,
      The Kenyan or Obama’s handlers are not Jewish they are Muslims. His so called marriage is a sham dog and pony act which is one of the reasons his wife slipped up declaring on TV that “she being a single mother.” There was only a One Day Media skirmish on that. Obama this seems to be well documented is a gay Muslim which in itself warrants death in their occult. I wish his handlers were Jewish because then he might have at least some common sense. He is neither Christian nor Jewish he is a member of the most dangerous occult on or off of this planet, he is a Muslim.

  8. cvxxx says

    This is stupid. I ‘ll bet it does not cover class discrimination at all! let alone watersheds like the enclosure in England, Bacon’s rebellion in the colonies etc. All this does is create more ignorance.

  9. Helen says

    Promoting hatred in America. Of course as long as Obama can make you hate each other he wins. Lets make a vow not to fall for this crap. Watch what you do so as not to get caught in this trap! I do not hate hispanic’s, negroe’s, or any other race, color or creed. Everyone was created by God, that is good enough for me. I believe that until we proclaim that we are “One Nation Under God” and put a stop to bigotry we will continue to decline as a great Nation.

    1. cvxxx says

      This is beyond Obama and more the work of Political Correctness.

  10. Andy says

    White what? I have never seen “white privilege” anywhere in the United States! Since the 1960’s to present day I being partially white in Southern California have been the “victim of multiple anti white, anti white male, anti heterosexual and anti Christian discrimination.

    In 2012 a black woman with a (909) area code stating that her name is Mrs. Mary Gibbs turned in approximately 200 plus complaints against me. These complaints were groundless and her ONLY obvious motive is that I am a white man.

    These complaints came in on average of two or three or more per day everyday appearently seven days per week! This was including on days that I was Not at Work taking my now 86 year old father to the doctors. Days that I was normally off work Saturday & Sunday and not there and in the afternoon even though I only work early a.m. hours, also on Christian and/or other holidays that I was off work, and for my two week vacation these complaints continued to pour in by telephone and by email. I was pulled out of service at 8:00 a.m. on my first day back at work from my vacation to answer for these complaints that she made against me even through I was not at work. I was told, “You cannot say you have no knowledge of this!” My first words back, “I Have No Knowledge of This! I was on vacation!” Which meant less then zero.

    The list goes on and on allegedly including the Mayor of Los Angeles Mr. Villaraigosa and his number one Alarcon were both demanding they find a way to fire me or to make me quit. Supposedly this Mrs. Gibbs if this is her real name is politically connected so I have a camera with a microphone stuck in front of my face at work so they can target me anytime or place for any reason to use against me, whatever it is.

    Is this the “white privilege” they are talking about? The fools in Wisconsin are trying to force much of the same onto the White Children in that state only because they are white. I went through this kind of crap in the 1960’s in California schools, this is another reason why we need to keep the 2nd Amendment. I shudder to think if I were a full blooded white man versus being an American mutt who looks sort of Asian and white although I am part Cherokee and English.

    White people founded and built this nation into greatness. If these anti white racists have a problem with that they should either exercise their First Amendment right and leave this nation, or we should kick them out into the ocean and let them find another place to mess up. If they try to return then sink them and leave them to the fish.

  11. Jeanne says

    I agree with Sandra, she nailed it with the minorities are the racist ones. They can prowl in gangs at malls and wherever, attack and rob people, but if we (whites) report it, we are racist. That is such crap, If we hadn’t voted a black man into office, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Racism was on the decline until Obuma came into office. He isn’t even legal to be in office, but the ones who can take him out legally are to chicken shit or bought off or just to stupid, in which case they also need to go. The government is FOR the people, BY the people, and FOR the people, not the other way around.

  12. bahndon says

    These progressives are not promoting coexistence, they are making racism worse. This is a creation of HATE THE WHITE PEOPLE.

  13. Sandra Romero says

    “White Privilege”? What a crock. Here is an example: I enrolled in college and paid my own tuition and fees and purchased my own supplies without any grants. My second year in college, I was contacted out of the blue and asked if I wanted some grant and/or scholarship money? My question to them was why are you offering it to me? I thought one had to apply for such things. Their answer was that they were searching out individuals with hispanic surnames to give college money to – ONLY INDIVIDUALS WITH HISPANIC SURNAMES! In my case, my surname was my married name and so I told them I am not hispanic. They said that didn’t really matter as long as they could show that they were ONLY giving money to people with hispanic surnames! Rather than the case that “White Privilege” is the norm, it sounds like this country is rampant with “Reverse Discrimination” to me! My conclusion is that it is not the case that white racism against minorities is the norm but that minority racism against whites is.

    1. cvxxx says

      There is no such thing. As “White privilege”. This is another of Political Correctness bigoted view of how the world should work.

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