I rather infamously said that electing Obama would set race relations back decades
Turns out I was right. Kind of. Because honestly, I was thinking more 1960s US, not 1930s Germany. But it’s the thought that counts, right?
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) wants its white VISTA volunteers who work with low-income, racially diverse public schools to examine the “privilege” their Caucasian race confers on them.
DPI devotes an entire Web page to “Power and Privilege,” including links to racial justice workshops and online tests where VISTA volunteers can “learn about your personal bias.”
One “diversity” document linked to DPI’s Web site suggests that white people “wear a white wristband as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.”
The document — written by a diversity resource center in New Jersey — also suggests that white people ask themselves questions, such as: “How do I ignore privilege? What am I doing today to undo my privilege? How do I fool myself into thinking I am powerless?”
Other suggestions for white people include:
– Set aside sections of the day to critically examine how privilege is working.
– Put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege.
– Make a daily list of the ways privilege played out, and steps taken or not taken to address privilege.
– Find a person of color who is willing to hold you accountable for addressing privilege.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin.
DPI notes that its AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers are serving in schools that are culturally and racially diverse, and therefore DPI provide “multiple opportunities for training…that help the volunteers better serve the schools and communities in which they are placed.”
“Not only should you examine the kind of privilege you bring to your (work) site but also how power is distributed among the families, community members, and students you work with,” the DPI Web site says. “The VISTA project encourages VISTAs to think about power and privilege in the context of race, gender, socio-economic status, to name only a few.”
At the top of the DPI’s “Power and Privilege” Web page is a quotation from feminist Gloria Steinem that reads: “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty.
VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, and strengthen community groups.
The very idea of “white privilege” is a strand of “critical race theory” – which Soledad O’Brien infamously tried to paper over during a debate with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak in the context of the release of a video of Obama, during his days at Harvard Law, praising Professor Derek Bell, one of the leaders of critical race theory, a strand of sociological study that among other things suggests that colorblindness is a form of oppression, and that violence is a rational response against a social order that he believes continues to institutionalize racism (largely by refusing to see everything through the lens of race).
It looks like Obama’s toying with radicalism in college wasn’t so much “toying” as it was “embracing.” From the Department of Justice (as exposed by J Christian Adams) on down to his selection of his pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, Obama has shown a profound fidelity to noxious racial theorizing — a poisonous, radical, aggressive concoction that contains hints of anti-semitism, black radicalism, a determined racial focus, and black liberation theology.
That it has found its way into AmeriCorps VISTA program shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who recognized early on that Obama was not a post-racial person at all; instead, he is a driven (half-)black radical who remains enthusiastic about mapping academic radical chic theoretics onto public policy, institutionalizing it in small ways and large.
And this is the man the GOP leadership believes it can work with.
Incidentally, the white wristbands are a nice touch. Although had they really wanted to make a bold statement, they have gone with yellow stars.