A teacher in Beaverton, Oregon sent students home with a survey to fill out that counted the ways that they either have or lack the privileges that result from being white in the United States. Naturally, some of the more privileged parents are beside themselves over it.
Jason Schmidt, a white parent, is not happy that his son is being asked to fill out the survey. “I feel that he should be learning actual education, and not be a part of some social experiment or teacher’s political agenda,” he told KATU. “The way this survey is read, it almost wants to like, shame you for being white.”
And the award for missing the point goes to…YOU. Privilege has nothing to do with white people feeling shame. I am privileged in nearly every way you can be — straight, white, male, middle class, etc. — and I don’t feel any shame about it. What I do feel is that it’s important to recognize that, to understand that others don’t have such advantages and in fact are often systematically oppressed, and that I should work to help make things more equal. That’s the point of examining privilege, not to feel ashamed.
Schmidt insisted that “with the amount of money that we are paying,” he didn’t want his kid indoctrinated into some political fad.
This is actually a very good example of white privilege. From his position of advantage, he can blithely dismiss a serious attempt to teach students how race affects a huge number of important things in society as merely a “political fad.” Racial minorities certainly can’t do that because the bear the brunt of such injustice and inequality every day. So thank you, Mr. Schmidt, for unwittingly proving the entire point of the exercise.