Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.
Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
“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.”
Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.
Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.
“Do we ever get to just make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for a kid, or do we have to don the hairshirt whenever we do anything?” asks Ace.
You have to wonder if there isn’t a point at which Americans get tired of the grievance mongering. If it’s not racist sammiches it’s Sandra Fluke being held up as a victim of the “war on women” because, at 31 years old, she has to pay for her own birth control.
We’ve seen push back in the form of disdain for political correctness, but there is still this compulsion to make everything about victims versus oppressors. Which really stems from modern liberal politics. It’s all about servicing grievances.