Seattle High School Teacher's Race and Social Justice Curriculum Suspended After Parent Complaint

Comments

1
"Intimidating educational environment" so often translates as "they're teaching my kid stuff I don't want him to know". And if it actually comes from the student it's so often the kind of complaint that results from deeply held religious beliefs not supported by history or science. Parents shouldn't have to "opt-in"; parents should have the option to "opt-out". They should not be entitled to re-write a district's or a school's curriculum.
2
You don't give whitey a sad. Never ever.
3
This reeks of Men's Rights crazies. All things that point out the privilege of white men is seen as oppressive to them, and they believe equality can only be achieved by ceasing all corrective education and action (like killing VAWA and Affirmative Action).

Fuck those guys.
4
Are we supposed to feel outrage because these privileged boutique prep school kids missed a couple of days of mood-showering about race and gender? Barf. Pro tip: a good way to learn about race in high school is to nut the fuck up and go to a school with students of more than one race.
5
I hate to be That Asshole, but you're an alumna. Alumni is plural. Basic stuff you've probably seen a thousand times. Christ on a cracker.
7
Just send the kids on Tumblr.
8
The fact that the district went along so willingly on the strength of ONE complaint suggests to me that someone at the district has wanted to bring the hammer down on this for a while.
9
since there is no discussion of what actually transpired to make the student uncomfortable (and i imagine that discomfort has only multiplied a hundredfold since the "entire senior class" has now taken the opposing view, making it really difficult for this one student to feel comfortable voicing such an opinion again), i find it interesting that everyone has made the assumption that it is a white student being made to question their own privilege for the first time and freaking out. a) it could just as easily have been a poc being made to feel singled out in a mostly white environment, or otherwise being oppressed by their peers and b) coming from someone who actually teaches high schoolers anti-oppression and social justice material, this is an incredibly difficult discussion for everyone (both those who have never had to recognize where their unearned and often unrecognized privilege comes from and those who are forced to analyze their own oppression in front of their privileged peers).

also, since the teacher came up with the curriculum themselves, it would be perfectly legitimate to have a professional in anti-oppression curriculum development analyse the curriculum and help the teacher improve it. (i'm not saying ditch it, i'm saying analyse e it critically and give tips and support so that this doesn't happen again.)

that being said, potentially this is a case of white helicopter parenting gone amok, and also our superintendent is the worst.
10
if a homosexual kid was uncomfortable with the classroom ambiance in some school in Podunk Mississippi and their one family complained and got a hearing from the administration you assholes would be creaming yourselves.

assholes.....
11
I find Euclidian Geometry to be offensive to those of us who live in three dimensions! I mean, to the Euclidian, the angles on a triangle MUST add up to 180 degrees--but those of us who live in three dimensions know full well that a triangle placed on the surface of a sphere is entirely capable of having angles that add up to 270 degrees! Euclidians are just promoting THEIR world-view upon our children. Enough is enough!
12
@8 or perhaps the ONE PERSON who complained has a whole lotta power. $$$
13
@5: Fixed.
@everyone wondering about the class: Its contents would be pretty familiar to anyone learning or teaching about race and privilege stuff--the "courageous conversations about race" model, unpacking Peggy McIntosh's knapsack, etc. Discussion-wise and education-wise, it was better than the college classes I took later on the same topics, and it's definitely responsible for a lot of Center School grads going on to do social justice work. I'd say it's a pretty beloved and foundational part of the school's curriculum and campus culture. But obviously some people may feel differently.
14
"...the manner in which the race unit was being taught..." seems the operative bit to me. Without complete information I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the school district. All too often I hear of Christianists pushing their agenda in public schools. It ain't like liberalists can't be guilty of the same shit - I've lived in Seattle long enough to believe granola group think could be the issue.
15
I am the parent of a Center School graduate and a Center School Junior. Jon Greenberg is an amazing instructor, and many of the Center School students I am acquainted with (all between the ages of 23-26 presently)credit the social justice curriculum at Center as a formative, positive contributor to their lives- academically, socially, and personally- after high school.

During my older daughter's time with Jon, there were definitely grumblings from 1 or 2 (Center is a very small school) parents who felt their students were "being made to feel badly about being white" and a few about feeling a 'gay agenda' was being pushed. At that time I was a member of the parent board, very active at the school, and present sporadically in many of the classrooms. At the time, I am now somewhat chagrined to admit, I treated those people like I treat folks who quote FOX news- tried to politely explain that I had never experienced any adversarial or 'blaming' language' connected with the curriculum, ENCOURAGED THEM TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AND/OR PRINCIPAL to discuss their concerns, and then ignored them.

Frankly, the appalling part of this situation, for me, is not that someone had an issue - discomfort is often not easy to work through, and dull witted people are everywhere- but that the district acted on ONE complaint without EVER enforcing their usual policy of insisting that conversations take place first at a school level.

16
Feel free to send those kids and anyone else my way; we're talking race, frat boy birthrights and why cops often mistake Snickers for guns when it comes to young black men.

Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness is the groundbreaking and crushingly honest story of what happens when a black boy, raised by white parents, “ages out” of honorary white and suburban privilege and into a world where folklore, statistics, and conjecture deem him dangerous until proven otherwise. At times funny, biting, and somber, Riding in Cars with Black People unpacks race, privilege, and identity construction like only a transracial adoptee can. Ultimately demonstrating how even the most painful of experiences can be reclaimed, transformed and accepted for what they are: the building blocks of our unique identities. --- April 11, 12, 13, 19, 20 - 8pm & 21, - 2pm Rainier Valley Cultural Center, Seattle
17
Maybe one of the parents who complained was one of those evil 1%ers whose taxes make up the vast majority of the operating income for the school.
19
"They’ve met with the complainants and the teacher, and will be submitting a recommendation by Monday to Shauna Heath, SPS’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, who will make a final decision on the curriculum—a decision that, Wippel told me, “cannot be appealed.”

Ms. Heath is wrong. If there is an issue about curriculum, the final vote is the School Board. This happened a couple of years back about using Brave New World (and a Native American student was uncomfortable with the "native" references without any context from the teacher).

That issue went to the School Board and this one may as well.
20
@9 -- I'm puzzled as to why you think we're all assuming it's a white person objecting. I make no such assumption and I hope I didn't express myself in a way that leads to that interpretation. My observation tends toward the "deeply held religious beliefs" side of the question. As others have said, a lot of this kind of objection comes from people who want the school district to give their kids the same limited education they'd give them if they were home-schooling, not necessarily complete or well rounded and too often not challenging or rigorous on any level. But that's not to say that I assume all home-schoolers are white, just that the justification for home schooling is often so thin you could wrap leftovers in it without having to label them.
21
Can we really not wait to indoctrinate children with ridiculous identity politics until they're in college?
22
It's just possible that one student had a legitimate complaint -- sometimes one person is right and the whole senior class is wrong.
23
Missing from the article are two facts that might be quite germane.

TCS is a "choice school" in the district (not assigned)
TCS has always recognized social justice as a key component of its entire curriculum
24
Once again, thank you so much to "The Stranger" for being the only real Newspaper in town. You are an amazing source of the real pulse. Wish more papers were like you, small and big.
25
Blame Whitey 101?
26
Unregistered user(s), why don't you just go somewhere else to spread your nastiness. The Seattle Times comment cesspool would be appropriate.

4-5 years ago, Center School kids came to a City budget hearing to support not cutting human services. They were the most cogent, organized, and intelligent presenters there. In this case, it's 100 to 1 the School District has made a huge mistake in what they've done, and the "entire senior class" is right.
28
Imagine how much American history you'd have to skip over in order to make absolutely sure no one "felt bad about being white". Holy Jeebus, fellow honkies - it's the distant year 2013, can we please acknowledge the fucked up power dynamic/sense of privilege of the last few hundred years already?
29
@26: How is taking a student complaint seriously a "huge mistake," even if the board, after an investigation, finds the other way? Shouldn't reports of an "intimidating educational environment" be taken seriously?

Also, I'm not @27. That guy's a dick.

30
Education should challenge you, make you a bit uncomfortable. If you can't deal, fine remain ignorant, put the book down, walk out of the room and ask not t o be presented with ideas that challenge you. Then get over it and let others proceed. To do otherwise makes you an asshole.

If you can't handle being an asshole, well get over that too, its your problem not mine.
31
So other than not knowing the nature of the complaint or suggesting what ethnicity/sexuality may have been offended (should we gather that white-male felt threatened, as is the case in the classic SLOG diatribe)...but, hey, good reporting!
33
Also not @27, and I'm unregistered because the registration tool says my email is already in use. Which it isn't.
35
All of you unregistered commenters -- inlcuding Reader01 -- who aren't obvious asshats are exonerated.
37
The Senior Class of the Center School should do a three month stint in Detroit to learn about race and social justice.
Or maybe Newark.
Or New Orleans.

Seattle Liberals are enamored of the idea of Negroes.
Just not so much the reality.....
38
18

English is not your native tongue, right?
39
"a lot of Center School grads going on to do social justice work"

Wow, talk about a useless occupation. No wonder the Chinese are going to clean our clocks, we're creating a nation of neurotic navel gazers.
40
I am a current senior at the center school. The race unit and hopefully soon to come feminism unit. This class has been a very eye opening experience and is a part of my day that I always look forward to. There will always be a certain amount of discomfort when learning about topics that are seldom talk about in a daily way. Mr. Greenberg is one if the best teachers thy I have ever had and is more capable of teaching this class than anyone I have ever met. I love this class and would gladly start a club to continue my education about the injustices that plague our society.
41
"There’s a unit on race that involves talking about identity and privilege"

Ask Yankel Rosenbaum, Antoni Grazzoni, Daniel Adkins, Chris Krimes, James Paroline and the Tuba man about identity and priveledge. The fact that black lynch mobs and racist murders are called "disputes between communities" while similar crimes committed by blacks are called "hate crimes" are discussed, right? That is racism, right?
42
"@everyone wondering about the class: Its contents would be pretty familiar to anyone learning or teaching about race and privilege stuff--the "courageous conversations about race" model, unpacking Peggy McIntosh's knapsack, etc."

You mean that knapsack of racial priveledge where blacks committ crimes on a frequent basis against whites and Asians in Seattle, and this whole country, that are not reported by the media but would be international incidents if the other way around? Funny that there was a rally here for justice for Trayvon but not the Tuba man. And no rally to put Ebony Sheppard in prison for her role in the murder of James Paroline like there was for Zimmerman. So Seattle rallies about some black kid killed in Florida but not the black lynch mobs who get away with murder in this very city? Ask Eric Townes about white priveledge. 30-40 black mob attacks on whites and Asians in Seattle. How man have been labelled hate crimes? Zero. When was the last time a white mob stomped elderly black people to death and it wasn't called a hate crime?
43
There's a certain grim fun in gradually building a profile of the troll.

White guy (duh), Asian wife, real-estate investor, narcissist, psychopath... just a few of the dozens of characteristics accumulated over the years.

Keep raving, asshole. Eventually enough things will click into place.
44
I have worked with Greenberg as a co-teacher, and he is a raging entitled asshole- personally. Professionally and with kids he seems to be pretty good.So this could be a bedsides manners thing.
45
I worked with Mr. Greenberg as a co-teacher once and I have to say that he is personally a very unpleasant man (angry, arrogant,"my way or the highway" type.) Professionally- with kids (the important part) he is really good, so this could be a bedside manners thing. He has a hard time dealing with adults in my experience.
46
Regardless of any criticism of the school or the teacher, the program is good. As for not showing the other side of things, I think having to view films like Farenhype 9/11 as a matter of contrast pretty well underscores all of the bullshit right wing propaganda by letting it speak for itself. I was at that human services hearing years ago, the process of which included a field trip to a day worker's center, where we spent more time listening to the people there than any student in any other curriculum, and more than the average person. We weren't just tourists, we were taught to put our money where our mouths were. And yes, we did select HB1515, protection of sexual orientation under the law, as our legal issue. But we chose it by consensus. As a consequence, those of us in that class probably have a better understanding of how the legislative process works, and how best to participate in it. That, for me, is the number one value I took away with me, because almost no high school class actually teaches civics with a view to participation.

I think it should be a college credit program. I'm glad that it's not opt-in, that it's mandatory, and maybe it could do with a little diversity in practice (say, bring in some women to teach) it is far afield of anything else anyone is likely to find in secondary education in Seattle. If that student doesn't like it...who cares?

One thing that program taught me is that a privileged person is not entitled to behave as though they're entitled to the same consideration as people who actually experience discrimination with real consequences. And the reason that it makes logical sense to suggest that student might fit that criteria is that no one else in their right mind would feel misrepresented or offended by the content of that class. Don't like the puritanical, mandated college prep style? I understand. It's challenging, and due to some major upheavals I had to switch schools in order to graduate, but I'm glad I stayed long enough to take that class.
47
@45 Greenberg is nothing, nothing compared to the teachers I had afterwards in college. No one was ever better for a personable, friendly, easy to get along with instructor, not in the world of critical thinking. If more teachers in high school spent less time pandering to soft headed little boys and girls who grew up coddled and told they were the specialest, smartest and most likely to succeed, maybe our education system wouldn't have sunk so deep. Is he a hyperactive maniacal overbearing personality whose attitude and motives may be just a little bit suspect? You betcha. So what. To this day, I hate teachers that like me- and I never got a sense that he liked me- because I have absolutely no motivation to rise to the occasion. Better an engaging, obsessive teacher than a teacher who is just trying to get everyone through the class without failing.
48
** to clarify, my teachers in college were evil. Brilliant, though.
49
It's ridiculous that a single complaint can bring down a whole unit. There needs to be more investigation.
It's not justified, and for that these units will not be thwarted.
50
It's ridiculous that a single complaint can bring down a whole unit. There needs to be more investigation.
It's not justified, and for that these units will not be thwarted.
51
Thanks for writing about this Anna. I was a year or two behind you at TCS, I don't know if you remember me. But the race unit was awesome, and in response to the above comments (besides 'fuck you bitch'...really??) to be clear: The Center School is a public school, it is not a prep school. Yes the majority of the students when I went there were privileged. White, upper middle class, from Queen Anne. Which is exactly why a unit like this needs to be taught there. As I remember, Greenberg's unit is based on the typical resources (Tim Wise, Peggy McIntosh) and is not that different compared to other workshops on race I have been to...including a national conference I went to on White Privilege. Also Greenberg has been doing this for over 10 years. His curriculum is not just pulled out of his ass. The only difference I see is that he tries to make things a softer for people, a little bit easier to swallow. This is not a fun conversation, it is not a comfortable conversation. But that is what learning is. And it is absolutely neccessary in the culture of Seattle whiteness that insinuates 'if we don't talk about race it doesn't exist'.
I highly doubt the complaint was brought forward by a student of color who felt uncomfortable (though of course, not my experience, I don't know) but my bet is on a sixteen year old white boy who lives in upper queen anne. Those were the little shits that had all the trouble with it, and would have the sense of entitlement to try and get it pulled. Hazel Pemberton.
52
40

seriously. do they teach English at this school?
53
43

Tick Tock is right.

Time is just about up on your socialist humanist Gommorah.

it is imploding and will soon tear itself apart in a violent cannibalistic orgy.

When the producer class stops funding your depravity the big tent's occupants will start eyeing each other hungrily.

Been to the 'hood lately?
No?
Don't worry.
They'll come to you when the day arrives.
54
@43 Close, but I'm leaning more towards unmarried, basement-dwelling guy with bad skin, a serious Asian fetish, and a lot of anger issues because no one takes him seriously, except on the Internet, where he particularly likes racist sites (especially the ones that purport to hate blacks only, not the Jews or Asians). He's not a virgin, and he's dated a few girls, but they never get past his freaky intensity, tendency to say inappropriate things to their friends and habit of getting angry every time he feels that the world slights him in the least. He particularly hates the idea of white privelege, because he has a general awareness of how much his life sucks and knows it would be even worse without the modicum of respect he feels he's owed by virtue of aryan birth. Further, he has to identify with his race because he, personally, hasn't accomplished anything of note in his life. He reads a LOT of Ayn Rand, and masturbates to the rape scenes. Hopefully, the lovely Catalina VelDuray will be along presently to unpack him further; her troll smack downs are truly a thing of beauty.
55
It's true we don't know the details. I bet, however, that it is a student whose own bigotry was challenged. I guess we are guessing from our own experiences but that's my take. We'll see.

At my son's school, parents have wreaked havoc from time to time over-reacting to their kids' complaints. I tell my son: respect your teachers and do your work. And participate in any discussion that comes up because it isn't the topic but your ability to thresh it out with civility and facts that's important to me. These kids are young adults. Let's give them some credit.
56
" do they teach English at this school?"

Proper Engish = white priveledge!
57
Classes like this should be taught in every school, and should be a graduation requirement for all students. This country would be a far better place if people were challenged on their privilege, and forced to critically think about it occasionally. SPS is crazy for even considering shutting it down.
58
@57. Yes, required political indoctrination. What could be wrong with that?
59
Here's an idea. Rainier Beach HS is under-enrolled. Why don't all these neurotic white kids at the Center School enroll at RBHS to experience and challenge their white privilege up close? Why no stampede of earnest white liberals in Seattle doing that? Or is theory more fun than reality?
60
So no info on the actual complaint?

Also....I really wish I'd get some of that white privilege everyone keeps talking about.
61
Remember folks, The Center School is over 80% white. The whitest high school in Seattle. Maybe it should be closed and blended with Rainier Beach HS to end its white privilege?
62
You know, as a rule I ignore the unregistered troll. But word the fuck up @59.

If I had a nickel for every time I met a white progressive that moved to a black neighborhood and sent their kid to a private school instead of the public one I would have enough to buy myself a nice breakfast.

The troll makes a point that everyone refuses to discuss.
63
@ 62, how well rated are the schools in those neighborhoods?
64
Since when is education excpected to be 'comfortable?' My experience is the best lessons are often the ones that forced me to face my own ignorance directly, and by design is a pretty uncomfortable experience.
65
They are rated poorly. Not because of the teachers, facilities, curriculum or administration, but because of the low standardized test scores of the mostly minority students.

There is no difference at all between Rainier Beach and, say, Ballard high school, other than the student population.

If the more affluent actually put their kids in the local public schools, it would have a educational benefit on everyone (rising tide raises all boats). But the public school kids are black, so....off the special white people school.

It's the south ends dirty little secret and Seattle liberal hypocrisy at its worst

66
Just ask Goldy, he can tell you all about it.
67
Well, Seattle Schools is not standing still. The lower-rated high schools are really picking up. Cleveland started a STEM program a few years back and has seen its population (and variation in population) pick up. (Their girls basketball team just won the state basketball championship last night as well.)

Rainier Beach High School is coming online in the fall with the International Baccalaureate program which has been well-received at Ingraham High and Chief Sealth High. (Their boys basketball team won the 3A high school championship last night.)

Seattle Schools continue to push forward, not backwards (despite what the media might tell you).
68
As a former student I can say without a doubt that Jon Greenberg is one of the greatest teachers I've ever had and that racism and sexism unit was the greatest class I took in High School.
69
I took that very class 5 years ago at the Center School (Go class 2008!). Few classes have been so positive and influential in changing my views as the discussions, readings, and new ideas we got from Greenberg's class. I'm graduating from Western Washington University in the Spring. That class exposed me to ideas and critical cultural analysis that I do in upper division college classes. The only difference between me and my peers in these college classes is, I had been exposed to these ideas in high school.

Talking about issues around race and gender are never easy conversations to have. These conversations are uncomfortable for students that have never had to think about how the color of their skin or sex affects how they interact with the world and the conversations are uncomfortable for those students that experience these things every day. But I've found that when I am pushed outside of my zone of comfort, I've learned more and my views of the world have been most profoundly changed.

Greenberg's classes added more to my education that I could have ever imagined at the time. If the units are removed, it will be a real loss for all the future students that will go to the Center School.
70
It sounds like 1. parents complained and 2. the school said "teacher, put a hold on this while we see if the complaint is merited." That is not injustice. That is how things should work. Of course, in school systems, "should" can be a hail Mary. At least all this scrutiny means that the review board will have to evaluate the class on its merits rather than make the decision that will produce the most quiet.

Yes, this looks fishy. It's a class about race that no one else complained about, and they halted the gender section, which hasn't been taught yet. Something funny is going on here. Yes, it's possible that the parents are racists or archconservatives who think that modern humanities ed is full of evil, but when just one student or family complains, it's sometimes because the teacher took a dislike to just one student and made a butt of him or her. The curriculum might've been a roundabout way of addressing another problem that we can't see.

My biggest problem with the concept of privilege is that it's called "privilege." Do white/male/hetero individuals get to do things that other people don't and often not realize what a big difference it makes? Yes. Does that make those things a "special right, immunity or benefit beyond the advantage of most" with strong connotations of being undeserved? No.
71
@39: "'a lot of Center School grads going on to do social justice work'
Wow, talk about a useless occupation. No wonder the Chinese are going to clean our clocks, we're creating a nation of neurotic navel gazers."

As opposed to China, in which everyone is either a Party member or a second-class citizen, corruption is endemic on all levels of government, ethnic minorities are forcibly assimilated and their culture suppressed, food purity regulation is effectively non-existent, the working man's wages are marginal at best, industrial workers have no bargaining leverage with their employers, and suicide rates are among the highest in the world.
I'll take quality over efficiency any day of the week.
72
This article was painful to read. The author is a graduate of this class? I'd recommend the teacher spend more time on the "language arts" portion of the course. The grammar on display here is atrocious. You should not be discussing rhetoric if you haven't first learned grammar.
73
I was a TCS student, and I wasn't totally enamored with Greenbergs class when I took it. It was uncomfortable, and I didn't feel as if it was practical or necessary for me since I wasn't planning on pursuing activist work. But now that I am a junior in college I realize that it was incredibly important as far as my worldview is concerned. You don't need to go on to do social justice work to benefit from a healthy and rounded perspective on the way society functions. I meet people on a daily basis who are completely clueless about the systemic and socially acceptable racism and sexism that permeates most peoples day-to-day life.

And to all the people who think its just a useless and feel-good hippie class, I would say two things. One, that people who come out of it are not just dealing with these issues on an intellectual level, they do go to places where race issues are more problematic than unfair employment practices and engage with public policy issues and advocacy. And two, even people in these fabled STEM career tracks benefit from a well-rounded education. Schools should never be engineer/programmer creation factories, they should teach life, art, and culture (including math and science) because a society made exclusively out of mathematicians with no social skills sounds pretty hellish to me!
74
I was a TCS student, and I wasn't totally enamored with Greenbergs class when I took it. It was uncomfortable, and I didn't feel as if it was practical or necessary for me since I wasn't planning on pursuing activist work. But now that I am a junior in college I realize that it was incredibly important as far as my worldview is concerned. You don't need to go on to do social justice work to benefit from a healthy and rounded perspective on the way society functions. I meet people on a daily basis who are completely clueless about the systemic and socially acceptable racism and sexism that permeates most peoples day-to-day life.

And to all the people who think its just a useless and feel-good hippie class, I would say two things. One, that people who come out of it are not just dealing with these issues on an intellectual level, they do go to places where race issues are more problematic than unfair employment practices and engage with public policy issues and advocacy. And two, even people in these fabled STEM career tracks benefit from a well-rounded education. Schools should never be engineer/programmer creation factories, they should teach life, art, and culture (including math and science) because a society made exclusively out of mathematicians with no social skills sounds pretty hellish to me!
75
Sorry, Greenberg apparently forgot to teach us how not to double post
76
@51: Center School is a preparatory school, aka a "prep school". It may be public, but you admit yourself that it's mostly rich white boys. I just have to giggle at the idea of these kids' parents jumping through hoop after hoop to get their precious babies into the special fancy alternative school and away from the actual diversity of a normal public school, so they can then take a class on diversity theory or whatever.
77
@ 65, how are the dropout rates? What percentage of the kids graduate? How many expulsions did they have last year? What percentage of graduates go on to college?
78
I'd love to do up that info for you but I'm at work. After work I plan on treating myself to a nice expensive meal, after that I will get drunk at my favorite pub. So feel free to dig up that info, cause am device free for the rest of the day.

Hasta la pasta.
79
Auto spell check really fucks me up
80
Apparently you have to have white privilege to 1. Get into the 80% white Center School and. 2. Have time to take this class rather than focus on core studies.

I guess you need white privilege to study white privilege!

So, why no takers on merging The center school with the under-enrolled rainier beach HS? Why no takers?
81
I graduated from The Center School as well (2006!) and this was a great class. Blaming the teacher is completely off base in this case. I cannot imagine a more supportive environment to learn in. I just want to say that the inequality in the school systems (brought up in previous comments) is exactly what we learn about. Then we go out and do something about it. We learn how to let our voices be heard, how to use the system, how to make contacts and put out a compelling and organized argument. I went to college and no one could understand some of the issues brought up about institutionalized racism. We did have class discussions that revolved around how the school was a product of white privilege, but we could go beyond that and use it to facilitate social change.
82
I'm an aging white union activist. I had the enjoyable experience of coming to Jon Greenberg's classes for quite a number of years to talk with his students about the labor movement. Each year Jon had me join a classs, he also had a representative of the (extremely anti-union) Evergren Freedom Foundation, so that the students would have the tools to make their own evaluation of the issues. It was clear that his students appreciated the opportunity to learn about crucial issues, and to have the information to make an independent judgment. That's what real education on social issues should do. I only wish that I'd had more teachers like Jon when I was in high school (many decades back). Of course having to think is sometimes uncomfortable. But that ought to be the goal of education - and it's a goal that I've seen Jon reach with most of his students. It's no surprise to me that his students are rallying to his support - he's a genuine teacher, in the best sense of the word. I hope that the Seattle Education Association is giving him full backing, as they should.
83
@81 so why didn't you ask to transfer to Rainier beach HS and live the dream and escape your white privilege?
84
" how the school was a product of white privilege, but we could go beyond that and use it to facilitate social change."

How convenient. Live as we say, not as we do.
85
@ 78, I don't live in Seattle any longer, and I've already researched the schools in Denver.

No, it's for you. You're the one making the charges here, which seem to be based on assumptions and stereotypes instead of hard facts.

If you know what you're talking about, you should demonstrate it. If not, you should keep quiet.
86
In so many tragic events from history, a few with power shut down anything that caused people to think and anything that gave people cause to challenge the status quo. It's the mentality that, "If YOU have what I have, then I am not so special." There is nothing wrong with examining issues of power, marginalization, and privilege. America's position is rapidly changing across the globe. Other countries are outstripping us in many facets of life. Who knows what the future holds. These are important issues in changing times. Thank goodness no parent can call and complain at the college level.
87
These supposedly educated "critical race theory" cultists always cite Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" as justification for their cult, but have they ever actually read it? I read it and I couldn't believe how stupid it is. How do supposedly educated "academics" take this crap seriously?

The "invisible knapsack" is a bunch of bogus BS white-guilt babble, written by Peggy McIntosh, who is a naive, sheltered, out-of-touch, ivory-tower "academic", who lives Wellesley, MA, which is 80% white and only 1.4% black, according to city-data dot com.

Allow me to destroy its "logic" - my comments in [brackets]:

From "The Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. [So can anyone of any other race. Where does this woman live? Oh yeah, a place that is 80% white and only about 1% black, which explains her naive and skewed perspective. Bogus.]

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me. [So can anyone of any race. Bogus.]

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. [So can anyone of any race. Bogus.]

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. [This is also true of anyone of any race in who lives "n an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live". It is also basically a re-wording of #3, which I already debunked. Try being white and living in a black part of Detroit, or any other black-majority city and see how pleasant your neighbors are to you. TOTALLY BOGUS.]

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. [BOGUS. Whites get followed in stores all the time, especially teenagers.]

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. [TOTALLY BOGUS. What kind of white-supremacist newspapers or TV does this naive, sheltered "academic" woman read or watch? I guess she never actually watches TV or reads a real newspaper, because non-whites are widely represented, usually positively. Does this woman live in the 1950's?]

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. [BOGUS. Is this woman ignorant of history? Who created Western Civilization? Who wrote The Great Books of Western Civilization? Who wrote the great symphonies and invented the orchestras of Western Classical Music? Who founded the USA and wrote its constitution, became its senators, representatives, and presidents? Whites did. Are we supposed to re-write history to assuage her white guilt or to massage the inferiority complexes of non-whites?]

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. [BOGUS. Again, does this sheltered naive woman live in the 1950's? Tons of school curriculum materials are expressly about non-whites. "Black History Month" was just last month in fact.]

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege. [BOGUS. Since this woman is a liberal "academic", and since most "academics" and universities have a liberal political orientation, of course she could easily find a publisher. She is preaching to the choir, after all. Also, hate-whitey "academics" like Dr. Kamau Kambon, the former North Carolina University professor of African-American Studies, who called for the extermination of whites (on video, look it up), are readily accepted in academia.]

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race. [??? BOGUS. I bet this naive woman who lives sheltered in a 1% black town has NEVER been the "only member of her race" in a group. Perhaps she should go preach her dogma to a crowd of young black men on a street corner in Camden New Jersey and see how much her "voice is heard" by them, preferably at midnight.]

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race. [BOGUS, this is simply a statement of this naive woman's subjective experience and faith-based quasi-religious dogmatic belief system.]

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair. [BOGUS. Again, does this sheltered naive woman live in the 1950's? Has she ever even been to a real city or music shop? This is probably the dumbest "proof" of "white privilege" I have ever seen.]

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability. [BOGUS. Who even uses checks anymore? People swipe credit cards or debit cards, which almost always require no ID to use. This "Invisible Knapsack" drivel is TOTALLY OUTDATED.]

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. [BOGUS. Anyone of any race can do this too.]

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. [BOGUS. White children are in put in much more danger caused by blacks than black children are from whites. Where does this woman live? Oh yeah, she is a sheltered naive "academic" who lives in an 80% white, 1% black town, and she is probably never actually around any blacks for any prolonged length of time, otherwise she would not be so naive.]

And so on and so on. I'm not going to bother with the other ones, most of them are just as stupid and bogus as the first 15. Many of the numbered points are also just re-wordings of other numbered points that she already made, which were also bogus and don't actually reflect reality at all.

Oh! I saw one more that is SO STUPID that I can't resist!

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin. [BOGUS!!!! AGAIN, does this woman live in the 1950's? For well over 30 years, bandages and blemish cream have been available in a wide range of skin tones. There were even bandages with multicolored polka-dots on them, and other ones with green space aliens back in the 70s! This is probably the dumbest point she tried to make, next to the one about music stores and supermarkets.]
88
@comment #80. I'm not white nor rich.(What kind of not rich? Free lunch vouchers style.) I was in the first generation of Center School students. It's the closest school to Queen Anne and most of Magnolia. Of course there are a lot of white kids.

The race and gender unit is not an elective. It was part of the main curriculum of humanities class. You might know it as social studies class.
89
@85 rainier beach high school had the highest dropout rate and lowest graduation and college attendance rates the last time I checked. I use rainier beach because it is in the most racially diverse part of Seattle and yes, has the least white students. I grew up in the neighborhood, but did not attend beach because my parents sent me into the AP progr and I ended up at Garfield. Garfield is the tale of two schools, kids on a fast track to 4 year college taking AP classes ( mostly white) and the students from the neighborhood, who have much lower graduation rates. The center school has one of, if not the best graduation rates in Seattle but was also the least racially diverse the last I checked. All of the data should be available on the school districts website. Have a nice day :)
90
If the political indoctrination commissars of the center school believed what they preach, wouldn't they call for the closing of their little nearly all white school and demand it merge with Rainier beach HS? Or is it everyone else who needs to give up their so called "white privilege", not them, because ..... Well, because they' ve determined their privilege is a-ok!?
91
Well I guess we all now know where the idea of the class in question cames from and why it has merit.

We also now know that just the idea of such a class angers some people. We can speculate on why it angers them; it is scary walking a mile in another's shoes, comes to mind.

Trying to change their minds, arguing with them? Yeah well.......
92
Everyone in that school probably knows who the "special cracker snowflake" is and likely being mocked viciously. We had one of those who canceled our "Toga Party In Hades" prom because it was "Satan Worship". They'll spend the rest of their high school career being sneered at as trouble-making, ignorant crybaby.

p.s. You know you can ignore the un-registered commenters, right? Don't feed the trolls.
93
92

Diversity is cool as long as everyone agrees with your world view, right?

You are so enlightened.......

94
" it is scary walking a mile in another's shoes"

If the social justice snowflakes at the Center School actually believed that they'd demand that Seattle's whitest High School be closed and merged with rainier Beach High School so they can "walk a mile in another's shoes"....wouldn't they?

I think they prefer 'social justice' in theory though.
95
Let's see how that bastion of anti-white privilege stacks up against other north side high schools:

Center School: 72.9% white
Ballard: 67.3% White
Roosevelt: 61.6% white
Ingraham: 36.2% white

And southside:
Rainier Beach: 4.9% white

Looks to me, like the poor white snowflakes at The Center School should be demanding, maybe protesting, that they be transferred to RBHS! But of course, they won't.....
96
@94 No what I said was, some might be afraid to take that walk and that their response to that fear might be anger and dismissiveness. You choose to be angry and dismissive, if it is out of your own fear to walk a mile in another's shoes, well thats on you. Own it.
97
-- to clarify again, yes, Center IS a college prep school in that the graduating requirements are more stringent than the rest of the Seattle School District. It is what you might call the polar opposite of Nova, where showing up is considered exemplary. You are expected to work harder, and based on a pretty solid set of statistics, kids who come from upper middle class backgrounds are more likely to succeed academically, and in Seattle, that does mean white kids from white families from wealthier areas- and that is an unfortunate fall of the cards that has just as much to do with the way the Seattle School Board structures its entry criteria as it does with access. It's not a neighbourhood school. Not everyone is equipped to meet those academic goals. I sucked at math and science, so I switched in order to graduate on lower math/science standards, but nothing prepared me more for dealing with the hurt dished out by SCCC's film program than the Citizenship and Social Justice class at Center.

From what I can gather, the student is actually less involved in this discussion, and the parents are the ones waxing hysterical at the whiff of a Greenberg jackboot.
98
Wow! This was an interesting exchange of comments. Really! Thanks to all of you (with the exception of the few who used words like "fuck" in their posts, which did not contribute AT ALL!)

The most helpful posts were those from people who had actually taken the class and parents of students. I would like to hear from the parent who made the complaint. We don't have his/her side of the story.
99
@96 I don't see the students at Center walking in anyone's shoe, they go to the whitest school in Seattle, they live in a bubble of theory. Putting a bull ring through your lip and dying your hair neurotic green doesn't make you any less white either.
100
@Rotten666: We lived in the CD when my daughter entered kindergarten, and she was placed in TT Minor (now closed). I wanted to like the school, but I left the visit thinking I could never send her there if I had a choice, and I didn't.
101
@99 you don't see because you choose to put on blinders, in the specific case of our little conversation, the blinders of literalism. Fine you want to take the old expression "walk a mile in another's shoes" to be physically, environmentally literal go ahead. That is your choice.

If you apply that choice to all of your life I can only assume your enjoyment of fiction is extremely limited to nil.

Knowledge, experience, understanding occur in a progression. Often the first step is to simply have the idea introduced, the next being to imagine it, particularly with ideas that take one out of one's familiar frame of reference. Then perhaps one might choose to experience it more directly.

These are high school kids we are talking about after all. The logistics of the physical immersion class you seem to be advocating are ridiculously absurd to expect a high school class to pull off. The absurdity of your alternative does not condemn what is being offered.
102
@101 ahhh, so first the lesson, then a field trip?
103
oh fuck off. I was a teacher for 10 years and have lived in the community for 7 years. I know damn well what the issue is. Black kids on one bus going to Hawthorne Elementary, white kids going to the special private school.

The city is introducing an international baccalaureate program at Rainier Beach for shits sake. This isn't an issue about quality, it is an issue of (as you say) "assumptions and stereotypes".

I love this blatant fucking blind spot in the progressive world view. They talk the talk, but at the end of the day they don't want their kids spending all day with niggers.

Tell me I'm wrong.
104
@Rotten666: When we visited TT Minor, we were told that 1/3rd of their students didn't have basic needs met at home, and that the mission of the school was largely to serve these kids.

Like most parents, we were looking for a school that saw my daughter's education as being core to their mission. TT Minor was not that school.

Blame whitey if it makes you feel better, but we're talking about a school system that hires principals who feel free to say things like "white people in and around the school make me uncomfortable".
105
"Center School is a preparatory school, aka a "prep school". It may be public, but you admit yourself that it's mostly rich white boys. I just have to giggle at the idea of these kids' parents jumping through hoop after hoop to get their precious babies into the special fancy alternative school and away from the actual diversity of a normal public school, so they can then take a class on diversity theory or whatever. "

Actually anyone can enroll in Center School; there are no "hoops" to jump thru.
106
@ 103, pardon me if I don't accept your claim to authority at face value. Either you can show me that you know what you're talking about, or you can admit that you don't. But I don't accept simple explanations for complex issues. Involved parents want their children to go to a good school, and the measure of a good school includes the things I mention, and many things I didn't.

So, unless you can show me that the schools you have in mind rise to an acceptable definition of good, I'll just say that you're emoting. Because what you're describing is tied more to class than race.