Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Zero intelligence, XCIX

It had to come to this eventually: white people in Seattle must acknowledge their "destructive power" by sending their kids to the White Privilege Conference at the University of Colorado. The Seattle School District
presumes racism is institutionalized in Seattle schools and that students of color are inherently disadvantaged.

Great way to start the day, isn't it, knowing that you're either advantaged or disadvantaged?

This is the Mission Statement of the WPC:
The Conference on White Privilege serves as a yearly opportunity to examine and explore issues of white privilege, diversity, multicultural education, multicultural leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, and other systems of privilege/oppression. It provides participants the opportunity to get honest about the type of society in which we live, and the advantages that accrue to some but not others. The conference offers a means to develop and sustain ongoing work to dismantle this system of white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression.

"Ongoing work to dismantle this system of white privilege." Did you know this was going on?

There is an incredible ... er, unbelievable ... um, interesting Q&A regarding the conference. Here's the whole ball of wax rolled up into the answer to the critical question (emphasis mine):
Q. Is this about proving how bad white folks are?

A. Our attempts to dismantle dominance and oppression must follow a path other than that of either vilifying or obliterating Whiteness... Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of 'Whiteness' and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equality and social change. Our goal is neither to defy or denigrate Whiteness, but to diffuse its destructive power.

To teach my white students and my own children that they are 'not White' is to do them a disservice. To teach them that there a different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions of justice and social healing, is to provide them a positive direction for growth and to grant them the dignity of their own being.

Ye gods! Why can't we just teach the kids manners instead? Or is that "too white"?

4 comments:

Jessica Menn said...

They've created this conference so that whites can "acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of 'Whiteness'"? Ummm. Okay. Are they going to talk about the white people who were forced by the British government to emmigrate to America because they were convicts? Are they going to talk about the white people who came to America as indentured servants? Are they going to talk about the bigotry Irish people experienced in America even up into the 20th Century? Do those instances count as examples of the "negative historical implications of whiteness"? Just wondering.

Steve Erbach said...

Jessica,

And well you may wonder!

Of course, mention of Newton, Einstein, Lincoln, Washington, Armstrong...mostly dead white males, right?

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank

Jessica Menn said...

Another thought...are girls and women going to be forced to attend this conference? Women, after all, didn't win the right to vote until 50 years after blacks won that right. And are Yankees going to be forced to attend this conference? The northern states didn't allow slavery within their territories and fought against the slave states in the Civil War.

Steve Erbach said...

Jessica,

» are girls and women going to be forced to attend this conference? «

Well, they should be accustomed to male domination by now, don't you think?

» are Yankees going to be forced to attend this conference? «

Don't know. Depends on whether Seattle is part of the "north".

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank