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Posted on February 6 at 11:18 a.m.
Hi billclausen-I did not meet Gillian Shutte when I was conducting research in South Africa this summer. I would have liked to. We share many interests - I research and teach perception, language, and prejudice, particularly in countries that are recovering from genocide, or in that case, apartheid. No ivory towers for me, thanks. Funny what we assume about people, isn't it? That's something we all share in common as humans, the perceptual filters that make us assume too much about each other (I guess that's how I would summarize the problem with our current political climate...but that's another topic).You may or may not like this TED Talk by her, but it's food for thought. I agree with some parts and not others:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC5xnp...On her webpage she recounts the reactions to her message about racism: "I have been called all sorts of horrible things including self-loathing, masochistic, a black-wannabe, a bitch, witch, man-hating dyke, mad women who should be drowned, shot or burned.."What a shame. I maintain my comments earlier- I sure hope we can all engage in dialogue without making it personal, mean, or hateful... and without inventing/assuming too much about each other.Thanks again for your passion- another thing we share!Sincerely,Carrie Hutchinson
On When White Is 'Normal'
Posted on February 2 at 6:45 p.m.
Hi all, this is the author, here. Thank you for your passionate responses to this topic! I’m excited that my piece provokes thought and dialogue about this important issue. I found it curious that my educational degree is provoking such concern from some readers, since it’s a detail that was added by the SB Independent Editor based on information in my email. I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily agree that my background “has no relevance to the subject matter” as suggested by billclausen, since my doctorate is in the topic of prejudice, but I certainly wouldn’t (and didn’t) suggest that it makes my opinion on the matter more important or valuable than any of yours. Criticizing my education, particularly when I didn’t mention it in my article, seems like a red herring to the real issue, and I’m disappointed that folks are so concerned with degrees and credentials that it clouds the main point, which is this: I believe that white Americans enjoy many subtle and not-so-subtle privileges that black Americans do not, and I’m concerned that we run the risk of perpetuating the situation with well-meaning lessons about race. In my article I make a plea to proceed with great care and maybe even rethink the curriculum. That’s my point, and I suspect that we might actually agree on this. What do you think? Only a few people commented on school curriculum surrounding MLK day. I shared a personal story about the effect it had on my daughter, and I was surprised that from this it was concluded that I had missed a teaching moment with my child. This article was meant for an adult audience, and the sentiments expressed here were certainly not those that I share with my child in our conversations about her experiences at school. This opinion piece was not about the conversations and teaching moments we have in our home, it was about the conversations that concern me at my daughter’s school, where I spend several hours each week assisting in the classroom. I could go on about how I parent and teach character, and how we make teaching moments out of every bizarre comment we get from strangers about her Afro, but that’s another topic and another red herring.In sum, I’m elated to see that most responders here seem to have an equally passionate concern for issues of equality, inclusion, fairness, and voice. I also hope that you consider the concept of white privilege to be thought provoking, and not an opportunity for an ad hominem, or attack on the messenger. I really like the following article, which discusses student responses to critical race pedagogy in the classroom: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/1... The responses these researchers highlight are similar to those expressed in this forum. I find it all very interesting. Thanks for adding to the discussion!