A ‘white thing’ in Seattle

Via Low Earth Orbit: Seattle Public Schools has defined “cultural racism” to include individualism and planning for the future. Here’s the definition in full:

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

The assumption that non-whites don’t think about the future or embrace individualism violates the definition of “prejudice,” I’d say. And standard English isn’t just a “white thing.”

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  1. Indigo Warrior says:

    Here’s a “racist” term that needs to be brought back: oriental despotism. That is the very essence of government school, even more so in this PC dark age.

  2. Richard Nieporent says:

    It would appear that the Seattle Public Schools have transcended education and are now into re-education.

  3. For a school system to officially state that “future time orientation” is a *white characteristic* is clearly racist and clearly damaging to all nonwhites in the school system and in the geographical vicinity. “Future time orientation” is a requirement for most high-paying careers, and the posture taken by this school system is very detrimental to the opportunity for nonwhites to obtain such careers.

  4. Don’t forget the implication that there are some whites who have such refined sensibilities that, by being aware of their racist nature, elevate themselves above it.

  5. The Seattle Public School didn’t make this up wholesale, you know. The definitions are drawn from Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (Paperback) edited by by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (ISBN 0415910579).

    It’s still astonishingly vapid.

  6. “…and label people of color as ‘other'[or] different….”

    You mean like constantly pointing out their skin color and harping on how they need special accommodations?

  7. Speaking of harping –“make this up wholesale” isn’t the phrase. It’s “make up (sic) out of whole cloth”.
    And the Seattle school district must be made up of morons. Considering that the tax base of Seattle is made up by folks who do little except plan for the future–the future defined by Windows 2010, 2050, 3000, and so on–I’d say the school administrators must be deluded.

  8. BadaBing says:

    This is just the tip of the iceberg in the Seattle Public Schools. One thing I find interesting is that they have a Five-Year Plan just like Uncle Joe had them in his workers’ paradise last century.

    Okay, so I’m nitpicking, but get a load of this load. It’s their definition of racism:

    The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.

    Bottom line is that only whites can be racist. From this definition, it follows that only whites can commit hate crimes.

  9. greeneyeshade says:

    Unlike a lot of the commenters, I don’t object in principle to “government schools.” But if my school district pulled something like this _ it isn’t the 1st time I’ve heard of it, even out of Seattle _ I’d have my kids outta there in a picosecond.

  10. Jack Tanner says:

    Reverse ‘white’ and ‘Black’ in the entire doctrine and it sounds like it was written by the Klan.

  11. Indigo Warrior says:

    If what the Seattle proclamation says about “future time orientation” is true, then Japan, and most of modern Asia itself, are very “white”.

  12. Wayne Martin says:

    Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
    (Paperback) edited by by Maurianne Adams,
    Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin
    (ISBN 0415910579):

    And from one of the homes of Social Justice Education:

    Social Justice Education Overview:

  13. Subverter of Teen Minds says:

    Take a short bit to read the ENTIRE web page at

    As a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools what we are doing is actually talking, discussing and learning about each other and refusing to be in denial of the fact that racism still exists in our culture and its institutions. Not many school districts are engaging stakeholders in the work that I am proud to be a part of. Before y’all cast stones at us in Seattle, what are you doing to dismantle the vestiges of hatred and bigotry?

  14. I don’t think they are saying that HAVING future time orientation (FTO) is racist. And they are not saying that non-whites don’t have FTO.

    What they are saying (as far as I can see) is that
    the assertion that someone is inferior because they DON’T HAVE such time orientation is racist.

    A concrete example might be: native americans may be considered inferior because they don’t think about the future in the same way as white americans do, i.e traditional native americans are present time oriented rather than future time oriented.

    Another example might be that an ethnic kid from an underpriveledged background (the majority of underpriveledged kids are from ethnic families) might be considered supid/lazy/uninterested by his/her school teachers because he/she tends to live in the “now” and not think about the future. In reality though, the nature of the kids life, i.e severe financial restrictions means that just thinking about each day as it comes is a must, and thinking about the long term future is an indulgence that just doesn’t contribute to getting through each day. Rather than understanding that, a teacher could easily attribute this “attitude” to race rather than social background.

    I think that’s what the Seattle Public Schools board is trying to get at. It’s not how WE think that is racist, it’s what we assume about how OTHERS think that is racist. Wel that’s my $0.02