Denial is More Than a River: White Privilege and the Power of DenialBy
Denial… as Bill Watterson has said, “It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” Well for some in Delavan-Darien, Wisconsin, the river of denial is running as deep and steady as in Egypt (h/t Mark Twain).
Seriously though, Delavan-Darien High School was recently under fire by parents who reportedly:
…accused a diversity class of promoting a critical race theory, alleging that students are being taught that minorities are disadvantaged by white oppressors.
Fox news gleefully reported that the class “…exposed students to radical leftist thinkers.” Parents of students at the high school described the curriculum was “indoctrination,” due to the exposure of works by University of Texas professor Robert Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege and social experiments which required students to participate in critically analyzing the racial composition of dolls on the shelves of a local Wal-mart.
One of the complaining parent said that the reading materials and assigned tasks were…“meant to divide and victimize non-whites and condition whites to feel guilty and to be more passive.” Someone reached out to the (conservative) Young America’s Foundation, which dismissed the class as “race-baiting,” “indoctriniation,” and so much “white guilt.”
The Superintendent Robert Crist deflected the controversy by blaming the class on the youth of the teacher within the course. He went on to state the course raised “red flags.” He believes “in helping kids understand the basic objectives of curriculum and not use some radical material to get a student to support some kind of a special theory.” Special he says? Tell that to the people of color who fell prey to the racial predatory loans (1990s-2000s) that fueled the recent housing crisis. Regardless, currently the class is out of commission and under review by the powers that be within the local school district.
Overall, I feel that a large percentage of governmental and institutional policies and programs enacted today are essentially continuing a legacy of control that benefit the majority—Whites. This in fact is a legacy many deny even when confronted with surmounting evidence that affirms otherwise. But then again, why admit transgressions when the strengthen efforts to continue the heritage of oppression endured by people of color subsequently benefits them—the elite proprietors of money, power, and resources within this country. Within this setting they continue to hold the reins of supremacy over the marginalized and less fortunate. Their influence and direction set the rhythm for those on the outside of their inner circle to dance to. They determine who is worthy of their attention and admiration and those who are to be ignored and detested. They determine those who should be considered safe and those who should be seen as dangerous. They have the power to influence the minds of those here and abroad.
In the general public when discussing the pains of racism today, I have heard the uttered words, “Come on, get over it. It is in the past and has no significance in a country where a Black man can be elected President of the United States.” Sociologist Bonilla-Silva describes this attitude as “color blind racism.” He observes that Whites, collectively, have:
“…developed powerful explanations — which have ultimately become justification — for contemporary racial inequality that exculpate them from any responsibility for the status of people of color.”
This subsequently occurs due to the fact that in general, many Whites and Blacks perceive the idea of racism much differently. First, Whites distinguish racism as acts that are founded within the notion of prejudice. Secondly, people of color, such as Blacks observe racism as “systemic or institutionalized.”
I hold fast to the certainty that racism cannot be quantified into simple attitudes or acts of prejudice directed toward a person or group of people, but forever unremitting and replicated within in our society within an array of systems and institutions. Hence, it would not be hard to arrive at the conclusion that racism is an immortal ideological symbiote that has latched upon the psyche of the world’s consciousness. Furthermore, those affected and suffer from colorblind racism bears a lack of comprehension in relation to the continued hold racism and oppression has on all major systems and institutions.
In other words…White Privilege…
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