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November 21, 2013

Down With the Pasty Sandwiches of Privilege!

Many moons ago, the Editorial Staff alerted the assembled villainry to yet another heinous outrage directly caused by the evil, Chinese toy-loving minions of the wealthiest 1% and their foul landscapes of privilege. Yes folks, we're talking about the horror that is arboreal inequality:

“The study says the relationship between tree cover and income is purely correlational, and I agree — to a point,” De Chant says. “Trees [also] provide numerous benefits that can save people money, which would make them wealthier in real terms, even if their incomes didn’t rise. Shade can reduce cooling costs in the summer. Trees filter out particulate pollution, which in turn reduces asthma incidences, cutting health expenses. They reduce stress and make people more productive at work. Tall trees also reduce crime, which can definitely help your bottom line if you live in a robbery-prone neighborhood.”

But hogging all the crime fighting trees to themselves is hardly the only crime that can be laid at the door of the White Man. Not content with using unearned shade trees as exclusionary weapons of inequality, the selfish bastards have found a new tactic - the insensitive flaunting of sandwich privilege: (CWCID)

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.

...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.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.

Sadly, the path of even the most Courageous Conversationalist is mined with inadvertent sexism and discrimination:

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.”

Where is the White House Council on Women and Girls when we need it? But perhaps more importantly, how will we ever reach full inclusiveness and equality when we're constantly identifying groups who - for one reason or another - will be given more time, attention, or benefits than other groups?

It is a puzzlement.

Posted by Cassandra at November 21, 2013 07:47 PM

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I have more than my fair share of trees, in part because I employ the heartless elitist of tactic of buying land with trees and brush on it and declining to cut them down to make room for lawns. Until now I was unaware of their crime-fighting properties, but it's true there is virtually no crime here, apart from the thought- variety. If someone were to confiscate my trees, he might avoid more crime.

Where we need even more work is in the PBJ category. Though not a sandwich I habitually eat, clearly it's a racist strain in my thinking: images of PBJs infect my worldview. Sandwiches in general separate me from the quivering sensibility necessary to appreciate the Other.

I wonder if the Other ever thinks of me.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 22, 2013 09:52 AM

Or as they say at Ace: "Because Latinos and other immigrants are simply unable to comprehend the concept of smearing stuff on sliced bread and this kind of White Man magic scares and oppresses them."

Posted by: Texan99 at November 22, 2013 10:11 AM

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,"

Where are these clubs which are specifically set aside for "white boys"? Last time I checked, the KKK isn't "Not a problem".

The school's chess club very well might have a disproportionate number of white males in it, but I bet no one has set up a lunchtime class just for the white males.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 22, 2013 10:41 AM

When I read these kinds of stories I can't help but think that this must all be part of some sinister plan to curtail minority achievement. It's as though the community is being deliberately infected with ever more bizarre concepts of victimhood in order to keep it distracted. i know it sounds crazy, but it's really no more insane an idea than racist sandwiches.

Posted by: spd rdr at November 22, 2013 10:42 AM

It's as though the community is being deliberately infected with ever more bizarre concepts of victimhood in order to keep it distracted. i know it sounds crazy, but it's really no more insane an idea than racist sandwiches.

Bizarre concepts of victimhood have been berry, berry good to me.

Posted by: Al Sharpton at November 22, 2013 11:25 AM

The constant insanity of these folks is amusing. I laughed so hard not only at the stories themselves, but at the commentary of our fair host, I nearly lost my balance.

I am interested in this tall trees prevent crime concept. Is that because one may use tall trees more effectively for hangings?

Posted by: Man Riding Unicycle Naked at November 22, 2013 02:23 PM

The most serious problem with Ms. Guitierrez' approach is one not included in this blog post. The linked article states that Ms. Guitierrez suggests her teachers would do better to say:

’Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you.

Clearly this approach both stigmatizes those in the classroom without United States citizenship and establishes the privilege of those with such citizenship by making “Americans” the norm. Those students who do not have “anything like that” are being clearly labelled as “less than”, as alien, as deviating from the norm.

A far better approach would be leave the question completely open-ended, something along the lines of “let’s each talk about what we eat for lunch”. The teacher must not, of course, begin by recounting her own experiences since her menu will be seen as not only normative but also authoritative. Similarly, children likely to consume the usual American foods should not be selected to begin verbalizing their cultural experience since that also will reinforce the normative nature of “American” food. Instead a child defined as “not American” should be selected to begin the round of honest dialogue. Caution must be exercised, however, to insure that a very poor child is not selected since his or her recounting of his or her lunch choices may bring up deep-seated shame about his or her family’s financial situation.

And, of course, there is the danger that asking children what they eat for “lunch” may be yet another culturally-defined norm; we have no way of knowing whether there are children in the classroom whose families do not eat a meal called “lunch”. A still better approach would be to ask the children a pre-cursor question like “how many meals a day do you and your family eat”. Again, however, the teacher must not go first. (Repeating such an obvious caution should not be necessary but the idea that the person asking a question should share “first” - a clear statement of primacy - in order to encourage others is so embedded in our culture that its chilling and authoritarian effects can, remarkably, be totally overlooked. The person asking a question is always in the power position and allowing him or her to answer his or her own question “first” serves to maximize his or her power.) Similarly, children likely to eat the “American” norm of three meals a day should not go first, nor should children likely to eat fewer meals because of poverty, for reasons made clear above.

If there is reason to believe that the idea of “meals” will be perceived as unduly culturally normative then the wisest course may be simply to ask children to share any thoughts they have on “food”, being careful, of course, to employ the above-described care in determining which children - again, never the teacher - are chosen to begin sharing.

Posted by: Elise at November 22, 2013 05:57 PM

How about we just let a peanut butter sandwich be a peanut butter sandwich instead of trying turn skin-color and cultural variables into the infamous "dog whistle" that charletans such as Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton keep saying they hear?

Posted by: DL Sly at November 22, 2013 06:11 PM

No wonder we don't have time to teach 2+2=4.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 22, 2013 06:16 PM

Verenice is the reason why Papa Legba let me keep multiple firearms for personal use... Idiots of this caliber (pun fully and painfully intended) definitely require gene pool bleach. I am grateful I live nowhere near that liberal cesspool called "Portland". As a Latino, I abjectly apologize to the rest of humanity for this little Eichmann...

Posted by: Azrael Eshu at November 22, 2013 11:17 PM

I grew up in Seattle; hell, *everybody* had trees!
In fairness, most urban areas aren't lush in trees, so these bozo's have accepted the autocorrelation of trees and suburban environment.

I was co-Captain of my High School Chess Club in Seattle my senior year, mostly because I had access to Pop's vintage LTD that could carry all of us to away matches. My co-Captain was 2nd generation Japanese American, and the when we were sophomores the seniors included a Chinese American and a batshit obnoxious Russian American (maybe 2nd generation?). The best team in town our senior year year had a Arab American (? generation) prodigy that was already a Master.
Chess Club was where I was taught the difference between Japanese & Chinese names, and that neither the color of your skin, nor your family name made a whit of difference in that competition.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at November 23, 2013 01:31 AM

Elise, the most caring route is for the teacher to be silent and let the children direct the discussion, intervening only as necessary to prevent the dominant children from exerting normative and authoritative influence. Care must be exercised, however, in deciding when to intervene to counteract any such influence. Has the teacher subtly imparted a lesson that some influence is superior to others? Some children may be culturally disposed to exert influence by violence; we must be respectful of that otherness. The safest route may be for the teacher to withdraw from the classroom altogether, locking the door behind him/her. Remote surveillance is optional and may provide raw material for future study.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 23, 2013 04:00 PM

It is a dilemma, isn't it, T99? The very act of intervening with "dominant" children could convey that those children are unusually influential, thus making the other children feel powerless by comparison. However, such intervention could also make the "dominant" children feel judged, thus undermining their self-esteem.

You are probably correct that the removal of any systemically-recognized authority figure from the classroom is the safest route. Perhaps the teacher could relocate to the cafeteria and enjoy a nice torta.

Posted by: Elise at November 23, 2013 05:43 PM

For all of their "good intentions", they keep missing the elephant in the room: The White House. Not only is it white, and kept so by tax payer funds, it is a house. Not a yurt, or lodge, or a palace, or ... any number of other dwelling places mankind still uses today. It's a HOUSE and it's WHITE!.

Posted by: htom at November 24, 2013 02:59 PM

Spoken like a TPPP (Typical Pasty Persun of Privilege). "You people" never seem to recognize your own entrenched racism - it is implicit in everything you say and do. It's like a secret language your kind uses to talk to each other, but somehow only people outside your group can detect it. Which, now that I think about it, kind of defeats the purpose of having a secret language but since I'm so smart I am capable of holding two mutually exclusive ideas in my noggin at the same time.

Bet you wish you could do that too!

Posted by: Barack Obama at November 24, 2013 03:34 PM

Silly people. We need a lunch time drum class for Black and Latino boys because...wait for it...wait for it... "They's got rhythm".

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at November 27, 2013 04:25 PM

Let me guess - you can tell that from looking at their faces .... :p

Posted by: Barack Obama at November 27, 2013 05:09 PM

Oh no! Only our Dear Leader can do that, it seems.

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at November 27, 2013 07:20 PM