Clown Award: Don't talk about white privilege!
I had a decision to make this week as to who was going to get the Red Nose. I was going to cite Pat Robertson for the Clown Award after he blamed what he called "awful-looking" women for the lack of romance in a marriage. But I decided he was just too easy a target.
Then I thought about the founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, who was on NPR recently and said he wanted to take back what he said in 2009, that Obamacare was like "socialism." Oh no, it's not like socialism.
"It's more like fascism," he said.
It took him just one day to run away from that one, limiting himself to describing a program that will force tens of millions of people to buy health insurance on the private market as "government-controlled health care."
But our Clown Award this week goes to a team consisting of Faux New, one unnamed parent, and the administration of Delavan-Darien High School of Delavan, Wisconsin.
It seems the school had a course called "American Diversity," which, according to the school's website, studies American society through the connections among culture, ethnicity, race, religion and gender issues in order to "create a more accurate picture of modern America." Which actually sounds like a cool course and a good thing.
As part of this, the course considered what's called "critical race theory." In critical race theory, there's something called white privilege. This is a set of advantages that white people enjoy beyond what's normally available to non-white people in the same social, political, and economic situations. What's important about the notion is that it's not the same as racism or prejudice because you could be as non-racist as its possible for someone to be and still benefit from white privilege - without even necessarily being aware that you have such privileges because you have never experienced it from the other side.
Author Peggy McIntosh expressed it with some examples, such as "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."
One time, Bill O'Reilly was talking about going to a restaurant in Harlem and being surprised - he said he was surprised - that it was just a family place, people having dinner with their dates or their spouses and their children and, as he put it, there was no one shouting "hey, m-f'er, where's my iced tea." The important thing here is that he was, by his own account, surprised. The thing is, if someone in that restaurant had been shouting "hey, m-f'er, where's my iced tea," he would have put it down to "that's the way they behave." If on the other hand he had been in some restaurant in a largely white neighborhood and at the moment every customer in that place was white and some guy there had started shouting ""hey, m-f'er, where's my iced tea," it would never have occurred to him to think "that's because he's white."
If you're white, you're judged as an individual. If you're not, you're judged as a black or a Hispanic or whatever. That is white privilege.
It's important to talk about because it's subtle, it can be hard to see. It's a bar to advancement - but it doesn't necessarily involve racism. So it's important to discuss - but not at Delavan-Darien High School of Delavan, Wisconsin.
That's because an - I emphasize the word because it appeared in all the coverage I saw - because an unnamed parent claimed that this is "indoctrination. They’re teaching white guilt. They’re dividing the students. They’re saying to non-whites, ‘You have been oppressed and you’re still being oppressed.’”
Which of course is true, including in the schools: According to a 2012 survey of 72,000 US schools by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers.
But that of course is irrelevant; it can't be relevant, not when one disgruntled clown of a parent who doesn't have the guts to be named but does have the wits to run to Faux News with their whines about "liberal indoctrination" so that cacophony of clownishness can cluck and caterwaul and have that clown of a school superintendent Robert Crist bloviate about how there is merit to parental concern and how "a lot of red flags" went up in his - he insisted it was a - mind when he looked at the materials.
The course will not be offered at the school again until the district "evaluates the curriculum."
All because of one - count it, one - person who didn't want to have their precious child facing the real world. Clowns, all of them.