A high school teacher in an Oklahoma school recently informed his class “to be white is to be racist, period.”
The Norman North High School teacher, whose identity has not been publicly released, began a recent lecture with a video exploring the “Mistreatment of Native Americans” before launching into a discussion on how to “heal the racial divide” that inherently exists within this country. The tone and content of the lecture prompted a student, whose identity has not been publicly released either, to begin recording it all on her cellphone.
“Am I racist? I say yeah,” the teacher said. “I don’t want to be. It’s not like choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised?”
“To be white is to be racist, period,” the teacher can be heard saying in the student’s recording. “Am I racist? I say yeah. I don’t want to be. It’s not like choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised?”
The video, shown by the teacher, includes a man with a bottle of white-out painting over a country on a globe before writing his own name on it in some sort of attempt at a white privilege metaphor.
“So he was basically comparing what he had done to the globe to what we did to America,” the student told KFOR.
The girl said her teacher’s sweeping generalization alleging that all white students automatically and inherently are racists with no exceptions offended her.
"Half of my family is Hispanic so I just felt like, you know, him calling me a racist just because I’m white … I mean, where’s your proof in that," the girl told KFOR. "I felt like he was encouraging people to kind of pick on people for being white."
When the student told her parents about that day’s lecture and the teacher’s blanket statements, they were horrified and immediately contacted both school officials and the media to alert them of the incident.
"Why is it okay to demonize one race to children that you are supposed to be teaching a curriculum to?" the girl’s father said to KFOR.
As the issue came to a head, Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano released a statement in which he conveyed the school’s "regret" over how the class discussion was handled.
"Racism is an important topic that we discuss in our schools. While discussing a variety of philosophical perspectives on culture, race and ethics, a teacher was attempting to convey to students in an elective philosophy course a perspective that had been shared at a university lecture he had attended," the statement read. "We regret that the discussion was poorly handled. When the district was notified of this concern it was immediately addressed. We are committed to ensuring inclusiveness in our schools."
But when the family approached the school officials, they explained away the situation as the teacher merely offering one of many "perspectives" on racism. Apparently, the teacher’s one "perspective" was the only one worth sharing in class that day, and apparently "inclusiveness" in the school means excluding and singling out white students.
"You start telling someone something over and over again that's an opinion, and they start taking it as fact," the girl added. "So, I wanted him to apologize and make it obvious and apparent to everyone that was his opinion."
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