Did you know sandwiches are racist? Yep. If you are anything but the whitest of lily-white caucasian crackafaces, you shouldn’t be touching that delicious meat/vegetable/preserve between two slices of white/wheat/whole grain. Because oppression and stuff. So saith Verenice Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon:
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.”
“Somali”…that’s oddly specific. Lot of Somali students in Portland, are there?
Regardless, the whole idea that a sandwich in and of itself is racist is patently ridiculous. If a school in Mexico uses a fajita or enchilada or taco or burrito as an illustrative tool, should it be considered racist if there’s a caucasian student in the class? Never mind that a good chunk of Mexico’s ruling class is, in actuality, of European descent and therefore whiter than even my Dutch-Irish-German behind (thanks to that little sliver of Muscogee in my family). How about if one of those Hispanic students went to the Mediterranean…how dare this Greek classroom talk about pita when all this child knows is tortilla?!
It’s a larger sign of the concept of “accommodation culture” and the modern opposition to cultural assimilation. For some reason the English-speaking world is the only culture in which assimilation is not only optional, it’s actively discouraged. Do you think Russia is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on multilingual versions of government forms? China? South American countries? Do you think they crack down on teachers for referencing local customs and traditions that over 99% of their students are intimately familiar with? Does this fool seriously expect us to believe that a bunch of elementary school kids aren’t going to know what a sandwich is, just because they’re a different skin color?
There’s an old saying attributed to St. Ambrose: “Si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre.” “When in Rome, live as the Romans do.” And contrary to our history as a nation built by immigrants, we in the United States do have a culture. One that is unique in its constant evolution. It is perfectly normal to want to hold on to your individual customs and traditions as a part of your private life, and that’s to be applauded. But if you choose to live in this country, it is reasonable for us to expect you to be able to conform your behavior to our laws, our mores, and our traditions. And yeah, that also applies to the drumline:
Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at Vernon and Faubion schools in Northeast Portland, approached Gutierrez last year to start up a lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys once a week. This year, it’ll expand to two classes a week, to accommodate new boys as well as those with experience.
At least one parent has a problem with the the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”
“This ‘club’ was approved by the administration, and any girls who complained were brushed off and it was not addressed,” the parent wrote anonymously.
Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.
“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”
Really, lady? Show me any club or social program in any public school in America that is open solely to white students — white MALE students — that wouldn’t have the full weight of the federal leviathan crashing down on it in half a heartbeat. And regardless, you’re supposed to be “progressive” and “liberal” and “enlightened”…so suddenly two wrongs make a right?
This is a perfect illustration of why students in our country are underperforming compared to their European and Asian peers. While teachers here are being forced to teach about tolerance and emotionality, students in other nations are being given spartan learning concentrating on pure fundamentals. It’s something our country used to do exceedingly well. When my old man graduated back in 1971, he was ready to enter the job market. He decided to enlist (his draft number was low), went to Vietnam, came back and went to tech school and is now an expert welder/fabricator with a high salary and a cushy shift supervisor position. Now, there are people graduating from high school in this country who are functionally illiterate.
In 2011, a report by the National Center for Education Statistics found that only 20% of 8th Grade Students in the President’s home city of Chicago were proficient in mathematics, 21% proficient in reading, 23% proficient in writing and only 7% proficient in science. This is the same President that, through Race to the Top, has shoved Common Core down the throats of American students. When I was in elementary school, I was writing essays on why I thought paleontology would be a solid career choice for me. Kids today get assignments requiring them to choose who lives or who dies through value based on their age, race and religion…
…to word problems featuring lowest-common-denominator references to gangsta rap…
…to bizarre arithmetic for 3rd-graders that make what should be simple long addition into a death march.
I’m all for standards in the classroom. But it should not be some faceless bureaucratic entity deciding what those standards should be. We should be holding teachers & administrators accountable for what our children are learning and their ability to apply that knowledge. And we should not be allowing our taxpayer dollars to pay the salaries of those who would waste good educators’ and students’ time with sensitivity training and race-shaming when those time and money resources would be put to better use making sure our children have a clear understanding of the fundamentals. Until that time comes, parents should look into alternatives.
And to Ms. Gutierrez, a quick reminder…if you can hear the dog whistle, you know what that means.