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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

‘White privilege’ goes too far in Oconomowoc

“Privilege” is too touchy a topic for parents in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, a mostly affluent, mostly white town, reports Annysa Johnson for KHOU.

After a Martin Luther King Day exercise — a “privilege aptitude test” — offended parents, Superintendent Roger Rindo said future assemblies will stick with “teaching diversity.” Teachers will be allowed to discuss privilege, when relevant, with proper context.

Some parents disagree.

“I don’t know how you can have a discussion about race without also discussing (privilege) to give our students a complete picture,” said (Amanda) Hart, a lesbian mother of three, including two biracial foster children. “Even if you don’t agree with the concept of white privilege,” she said, “it’s part of helping students become critical thinkers.”

While “some of the questions focused on race — for example, ‘When I go to a store, people believe I am trustworthy and I will not steal something’ — others touched on privileges related to gender, physical ability and more,” writes Johnson.

A student club proposed a “privilege walk” (see the video) to illustrate that some have more advantages in life than others. The superintendent rejected the idea in an email saying that the district has to be “prudent and mindful of the context in which we live and work.”

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