Readers speak out on race and 'white privilege'

Calling your attention to a particularly good discussion thread ...
Calling your attention to a particularly good discussion thread ...

A post earlier this week by Knute Berger has prompted some pretty thoughtful, if at times uncomfortable, discussion among readers. It's impassioned and mostly critical of the Seattle School District and the notion of sending students to a "white privilege" conference, but those critical posts don't go unchallenged. Someone named Yarrow seems to slice it down the middle: Judging by what I've seen of the "White Privilege" conference materials, I have to agree that it could represent an exercise in bullying and groupthink, which can happen around any touchy issue, after all. I do get the point about academic discussions sometimes getting pretty heady or Stalinist in spirit, trying to change the world with ultra-rationalistic, linear solutions which usually seem to amount to telling people what to think and feel. But I think the conference organizers are probably hoping to inspire people to reject racism and to try harder to come up with something better, and even if I don't love their methods I can find some common ground there. One point that seems really clear to me is that racism hurts us all, even if the impact is more subtle on those of us who are seen as "white." I think "whiteness" is dehumanizing, in all kinds of ways.


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