Teaching ‘white privilege’

“Teaching is a political act,” said Kim Radersma at the 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison. “You are either a pawn used to perpetuate a system of oppression or you are fighting against it.” A former English teacher, she is working toward her Ph. D. in critical whiteness studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, reports the MacIver Institute.

A white person who “does anti-racist work” is like a recovering alcoholic, Radersma said.

“We’ve been raised to be good. ‘I’m a good white person,’ and yet to realize I carry within me these dark, horrible thoughts and perceptions is hard to admit. And yet like the alcoholic, what’s the first step? Admitting you have a problem,” she told the session attendees.

White privilege causes the racial achievement gap, Radersma said.  Students of color can’t learn as well from white teachers, she believes. 

A white attendee said her family had donated school supplies to a first-grade classmate from a needy family that had moved from India. Now, she realized that was wrong, she said. “It was like ‘well why don’t you swoop in and save the day and give her all this stuff because we can afford to do that for them’ kind of mentality,” she said.

Radersma agreed.

“It’s that savior mentality, like ‘save them, because they are not like us,’ and that normalization of whiteness. Whiteness is best and those poor others aren’t as good as us,” she said. “So, we need to think of them and give them our sympathy and our charity and our generosity, which is so demeaning to the people on the receiving end.”

So it’s not OK for whites to help non-whites. (What about whites helping poor whites or blacks helping poor blacks?) How can whites help except by constant self-abasement and going to conferences? Perhaps quitting teaching is a good first step.

The White Privilege Conference is a “useless” waste of money, Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, told the Wisconsin Reporter“You want to really do something? Educate a black kid,” said Innis, who is running as a Republican for a U.S. House seat in Nevada. “Give parents and students an opportunity to go to a private, parochial or a good public school.”

The conference received at least $38,000 from hotel room tax revenue, University of Wisconsin schools and the City of Madison, according to the Wisconsin Reporter.  In addition, Madison sent 30 to 40 city employees. Eight staffers from the state Department of Public Instruction took part and Janesville School District used a Safe and Supportive Schools grant to send 92 students and 12 staff members.

People who argue that all teaching is political wouldn’t be very happy if Darren injected his political views into high school math classes, he writes on Right on the Left Coast.

About Joanne


  1. Jerry Doctor says:

    She is working on a PhD in “critical white studies.” Amazing how just three words not only tells you everything you need to know about this woman but a lot about Brock University as well.

  2. Grazie mille for the link 🙂

  3. I actually think there is such a thing as white privilege. But building your whole world view around it is crazy.

    • Sure it exists.  It consists of the heritage of a genome selected by thousands of years of learning to survive through harsh winters against competitors just as smart as you are, followed by many generations of selection to prosper in orderly, organized, literate societies.

      It didn’t come free.  It was paid for in blood and pain.

    • I don’t think that the white denizens of rural Appalachia are particularly privileged. On the other hand, the offspring of wealthy black athletes, entertainers, professors, politicians and professionals are privileged – and they get AA benefits in college admission and post-graduation jobs, as well. Elite colleges don’t pick many students from lousy inner-city schools; their students (many of whom are children of recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean) disproportionately come from private and affluent suburban schools – ones like Punahou and Sidwell Friends, homes of Obama and his daughters.

  4. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Dear Ms. Radersma,

    I’m not a pawn of the system you call “a system of oppression”, and I’m not fighting against it. According to you, of course, these are the only two options.

    But if those were the only two options — pawn or opponent — there would be no system.

    But I’m part of the system. I think it’s a good system, all things considered. And I think you’re an enemy of the system.

    I’m fighting, true. But I’m fighting against *you*.

  5. “A political act”? In that case, all sorts of funding issues become apparent. Talk about adding fuel (more like lighter fluid) to the fire of concern about indoctrination in public schools.

  6. Meh, let’s see where Radersma is in a year or two.

  7. I vote to deny any sort of taxpayer funding, to the institution, the faculty and the students (loans, grants) to “whiteness studies” or any other “studies”; they’re not academic programs, they’re political indoctrination/grievance mongering.

  8. Phillipmarlowe says:

    a. “Give parents and students an opportunity to go to a private, parochial or a good public school.”

    Who is denying the opportunities?
    Honkies/the Man or black racists?

  9. It’s true. I’m white. Sorry. I was born this way.

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    Okay. You’ve conviinced a straight, white male that he is privileged. You’ve even convinced him to admit it.
    So he says, “And I’m keeping it.”
    Then what?