Oregon Principal Under Fire For Efforts Against “White Privilege”

Principal Verenice Gutierrez in Portland, Oregon is the center of a controversy over her efforts to deal with racism and cultural intolerance. There is certainly plenty of such examples in most states, but Gutierrez is being criticized for finding such prejudice in the peanut butter. The principal at Harvey Scott elementary school cited peanut butter sandwiches as an example of how innocently insensitive we can be our prejudices since we do not think “Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches.” Frankly, I am pretty sure that Somali kids will knew what to do with a P & J without crawling in to a fetal position of fear over the latent racism contained in the lunchtime baggy. In defense of Gutierrez, she was trying to suggest an effort to reach out to learn different cultural preferences: “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.” While I question the choice of the example, the point is to get teachers to think of the cultural realities and experiences of their students. However, in my view, other aspects of the training sessions are more problematic.

Gutierrez’s comments came with a week of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training for teachers. The program expressly tries to get teachers (presumably white teachers) to understand their own “white privilege.” It seems a bit odd to deal with latent hostility or insensitivity in the schools by demanding white teachers to rid themselves of their “white privilege” bias.

I am more concerned with the response to a drum class being offered to middle school boys of color at Scott School. Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at other schools, to start a lunch-time drum class that would be limited to black and Latino boys. There were objections that the group would obviously discriminate against girls, Asians, whites and Native Americans. I have serious doubts over its legality but even greater question over its underlying policy of exclusion.

However, it is Gutierrez’s reported response that is the most troubling: “When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?. Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

If this quote is accurate, it is highly disturbing. I do not know of any clubs in public schools that have been limited to white children since desegregation. Moreover, the opposition to racial segregation is not a factor of white privilege but civil rights. The alleged comment struck a chord with me because of prior column criticizing the return of “separate but equal” and segregation policies in our public schools. (here and here and here and here and here). I do not understand the perceived value of a segregated drum corp or how an educator could tell girls or asians or whites that they cannot join due to their color or gender. It is a curious way to reinforce tolerance through discrimination if true.

Source: Portland Tribune

80 thoughts on “Oregon Principal Under Fire For Efforts Against “White Privilege””

  1. So if a Mexican orders a TACO is that a racist act? Or if some one from Japan orders Sushi, or some one from England ordering Fish and Chips, are these racist acts as well?

  2. She is one of the reasons the race card will keep being used. This Principal that started this insanity Dr. Verenice Gutierrez 503-916-6369 give her a call and Portland Public Schools 503-916-2000. They get Federal Tax dollars so she is our employee. We must stop the madness and live as one people. We are all Americans and the majority rules do not let people like this indoctrinate our children.

  3. Bob,

    If it was as you sour-grapes say, then you would not have taken issue with me in the first place.
    You are so simple to defeat. Ever heard of logic?
    You’re a pest, and a weak one.

    Playing footsie with you is not my game. I gave my views. All you want now is attention. And wasting more time with you is meaningless.


  4. Idealist,

    It’s OK. You just answered my question. You don’t mean anything by what you say. You made a seriously offensive remark. You’re not to be taken seriously. So no offense.

    Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, as MacBeth described it.

    That’s pretty much what I’d gathered by your previous incoherent rambling.


  5. Bob,

    I did not say you could not hate. I just say I don’t like the smell. Keep on asking for proof of opinions. Where is your proof? I asked first.

    You should try another way. This one won’t work. Bye.

  6. idealist,
    Yes, more! This time, answer the question. You brought up our hate. Hate of what?

    Hate of what reality, of what truth? Your reality? Your truth? Enlighten us with the truth and reality. You know, the ones we hate.

    If you can’t back up assertions, don’t make them. Have some courage with your convictions. Talk is cheap.

    Yes, the smell that you’re referring to is coming from you.

    Try to conduct an argument without making barnyard references, or F___ references, as the shape-shifter does. What’s next, Nazi references?

    Unless, of course, you have absolutely nothing to say.
    In that case, “Never miss an opportunity to shut up,” is good advice.

  7. Wisely skeptical,

    Not schmoozing you. Just thought that comment waa very full of good ideas. thanks.
    I think we fought last time, not sure. Don’t care actually.

  8. Bob,

    Silly you! Trying to turn the burden of proof on me. You tell ME why YOU hate facing up to both reality and the truth when it hurts you so much. Your problem with yyourself, not mine with myself.

    You can smell the odor of shit and where it is coming from without having to go looking in people’s underwear, in your case shorts.

    Your mind is yours to keep. Why should I have to wade through it. Even with a psychiatrist, you would have the burden of doing the baring. Not he to dig.

    Want more?

  9. OK, idealist,

    “Your support for Darren and Bob Kauten’s hatred is not.”

    Spell it out for us. Precisely what is it that Darren and Bob Kauten hate?

    People? Ideas? The shape-shifter? You?

    What do we hate?

  10. Sometimes turned to always what make vagueness the politicians an overused tool and make the better debating crowd run away with the best cool .
    The personal experiences reference points of everyone’s narrative have to be seen as an unique platonic icon . For example , reading various novels my mind placed in my memory icons in my childhood ‘s backyards ,
    There are patterns we should notice though, as we grow older . Ernest Hemingway missed the point of his punditry There have been studies that showed that wealthy people are not only different from you and I because they have more money. An English lit professor explained forty years ago there was a built in prejudice by human beings to believe that the moneyed elite to be superior than our ” merely ” middle class or “merely ” born in tenements .
    This was accepted until recent years when the neo -moneys have been proven to be excruciatingly unfair . To assess their doubtless God given fortune as pre determined is to have a sneering CEO God complex that is unacceptable to civilized decent men and women everywhere . Talent is a gift to be nurtured but shouldn’t be considered permission to shackle the competition by unjust means , in schools or the workplaces I always sometimes say . the use of thought , however , is required in dismantling prejudice as the use of similar icons and similar names are coincidental .

  11. MikeS,

    You did not quote now the comment I was referring to. I should have clarified my surprise at your thus apparent condemnation of AWARE et al. I do so now below.

    You supported expressly Darren’s meaning as well, which I won’t bother quoting.

    You wrote:
    “Mike Spindell
    1, September 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm
    I’ll waste the bandwith. Quite frankly he, she or it is an ass and self proved it.”

    This seems to exceeds your comment to me in condemning COMPLETELY the poster. And it may be assumed even the position taken by the poster.

    Your last post, addressed to me, says a much milder one. Do you see the difference?

    You say:
    “I this instance I agree with the point trying to be made, but assert that the manner in which it was made was self-defeating.”

    You are of course referring to original comment as you understand it, and can be supposed as not being so all-inclusive as to call he/she/it an ass and a self-proven one.

    Your humility in sharing our blindness is admirable.
    Your support for Darren and Bob Kauten’s hatred is not.

    None gave me a factual arguement either. Just ad hominems for supporting their hate object.

    I think my observation as to humanity’s resistance to changing opinions when facing changing challenges is the most important thing said in this thread.

    It deals with us. Not with an example of the failing, which the thread addresses only.

    Not praising myself, just pointing out what is the higher and more important issue. Changing in face of change.

  12. Idealist,

    Average White Anal Retentive Empathy?

    You are better off not attributing motives to, and assuming prejudices of, people that you do not know, at all.

    If you and the changeling who’s off his meds wish to exchange messages of admiration, feel free.

    Kindly leave amateur analysis of the rest of us, out of it.

  13. Having read through it all, I will observe:

    Surprised to see MikeS come condemning AWARE. Who would have thought that. That is a subject for comment in itself. Later.

    Not surprised to NOT see one single rational argument offered in rebuttal to the POV offered by AWARE et al.
    Only abuse, talking points, and more moral rubbish.

    Surprised, always contrary to my hopes here at JTs, to see discussion become a race to the gutter with the injured side leading the charge. Always the ones hurt by rational arguments which challenge their cherished positions.

    I will fight like a demon to defenc my held opinions, because I think (thought failure) that they are ME.
    They are not you. They are opinions and could/should be able to be examined by you at any point in your life.

    Why? Because life continuously offers new challenges, where the old opinion which substituted for rational fact examination (opinion is a quicker process—zilch time) must be replaced by more appropriate opinions.

    Simply put, mankind has such difficulty in examining facts, eliminating no longer valid old ones by new ones, we have always had a generation gap, we humans.

    Changes come more often now, a generation can no longer afford to cling to the old opinions, but they have not realized it. Nobody has taught them.
    That pressure to examine and change stresses us as individuals and as societies.

    How willing are you to take in the facts that schools do not mean mono-cultural, mono-language, mono-PNBJ food, and mono-white presumption of right to decide for people from different cultures.

    AWARE comes bearing disturbing facts and POVs worth serious consideration. Do so. Stop being spoiled white kids.

    And don’t point to your disadvantaged ancestors. You are somewhat assimilated now. You are nominally “white”. But realize that “you” did not always have that, and realize also that there are far more today who are without your advantage of a white position.


    I remember traveling on peasant buses, the only kinds operating, where I was the only tourist. I was treated as an equal, but I knew that I was the money tree, the target of opportunity, but as a white I was safe (thieves excluded) and was met in a manner which accomodated itself to my whiteness.

    I can wonder if yóu dare venture off the tourist ghettos in those parts of the world where I wandered free as the proverbial bird.

    1. “Surprised to see MikeS come condemning AWARE. Who would have thought that. That is a subject for comment in itself.”


      Below is the original comment I made on this issue.

      “Sometimes people inelegantly speak truths in a manner that undermines their cause. I think this Principal has a sense of what the truth is among many whites, but expresses it ineptly. Racism is alive a flourishing in America, but sometimes those with the feelings are quite unaware of their prejudice. After all doesn’t prejudice connote the inability to see ones own stereotyping?”

      I more than understood the points that AWARE made and given my age probably for a much longer time. However, as much as I loath prejudice and the attendant unawareness of many who suffer form it (I do not hold myself above others in this and do have my own prejudices which I have worked to become aware of), there are some who agree with me, but make the case in such bald, accusatory terms that they weaken the case that NEEDS to be made.

      An example, of which you are no doubt aware, was the acidity to which the Massachusetts Parents who objected to “school bussing” were subject to. I agreed wholeheartedly with the decision in “Brown v. Board of ED”, but the implementation of it countrywide was done in a manner that mostly affected the lower economic classes and spared wealthy. What the AACP was urging in Brown was that the amount of money spent on Black children and the conditions they were educated in, would be equal to what was done for White children.

      I essence it was an argument for equality of education for ALL children. That would have upset the applecart in education in this country where the public schools for those with money are better than for those without. “Bussing” was actually a cruel hoax that undermined the “Brown” ruling. rather than supported it. I this instance I agree with the point trying to be made, but assert that the manner in which it was made was self-defeating.


    Tnanks for the visit. Really glad for the support.

    As an ex-pat in Sweden, I get to see the awareness which is much higher here because simply our immigrants do so obviously don’t always want to be white blonde Swedes. And if they want to then their starting point is different, their home environments are not white blond swedish, etc. (all factors not mentioned).

    There are here many help programs, including ones to help them RETAIN and fully develope their maternal languages, while developing a competence in Swedish. Hope you are promoting dual language development where we get young people who speak better english than I can, or the average American can. (It is so wonderful to hear “singing pure” swedish coming from their lips, alternating with pure American english—-and I am talking about kids here who also speak Somali, Ethiopian, Arabic, Arameist, etc.

    English is our uniting language around the world. The world accepts that, it just does not confer either superiority or culture rights ANYWHERE.

    Your scrubbing of some of the “whiteness” off has disclosed a dirty gray tinge (or worse) on many of our “patriots” here. Their idea is one of whitism as the norm there in the USA. If you invite the world to invade as the whites have done there, and the whites become a minority, then their color will prevail, not whitemess. Someday some other food will be offered on the schools cultural and cafeteria menu.

    I hope for more of that.

    (BTW It is the only hope for Swedish food variety! And culture.)

    A tangent, but an interesting one. We always classwise, imitate the manners of our those upwards on the scale. Sometimes (always?) that is not a good idea to do so.

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