November 15, 2007

A "Courageous Conversation" about "White Privilege" at Smiling Jack O'Connell's Racial Achievement Gap Summit Conference

This article from From News10 in Sacramento is so much fun I have to mine two blog posts out of it.
Educators Confront Achievement Gap; Is "White Privilege" to Blame?
Written by Karen Massie, Reporter
Written by Dana Howard, Anchor/Reporter

One of the stars of this conference called by the politically ambitious California state superintendent of schools, Democrat Jack O'Connell, is O'Connell's chief consultant on racial sensitivity training, Glenn Singleton. The SF Chronicle wrote:

Also on center stage will be Glenn Singleton, the coach O'Connell hired for the Education Department's racial sensitivity classes. Singleton runs a San Francisco consulting firm called Pacific Educational Group and is the author of "Courageous Conversations about Race: a Strategy for Achieving Equity in Schools."

So, let's listen in on one of those "courageous conversations" brought to you by News10 in Sacramento:

For many people, especially white Americans, there were two words brought up at this week's summit as the principal cause for the achievement gap -- words that will sting. They are "white privilege."

The mention of such a term often brings a plethora of sighs and groans, while at the same time inciting others to say, 'It's time somebody called it like it is.

News10 brought together a group of presenters at the summit. Bill Huyett is the superintendent of Lodi Unified School District, where he has told his faculty and staff they must deal with the issue of 'white privilege' if they are to close the achievement gap.

Also at the table was a Lodi Unified Schools board member Ken Davis. Nicolina Hernandez is a college student who joined us along with Glenn Eric Singleton, a professor and education analyst who specializes in systems of inequity within school districts. What follows are quotes from that conversation on whether "white privilege" is at the core of our schools achievement gap.

HUYETT: It becomes clear that we've got to talk about white privilege. We've got to talk about race in our schools. We've got to address this issue.

SINGLETON: I often refer to it as the Disneyland reference. When you walk around the Magic Kingdom, you don't see a lot of people of color. And so all of those references, "It's a Small World after all," are not what we come to school with. We come to school with other references and so which references are chosen determines who gains access to the curriculum, and who gains access to the curriculum determines who achieves at a high level.

DAVIS: I went to Little Rock Central High School and when I went to class, there was a teacher who stood in the door way and said, "The law says that you have to be here, but I don't have to teach you." I'm not seeing teachers standing in the doorway saying that, but what I am seeing is what I identify as that attitude, that "I have you in my class, but I don't have to teach you" attitude.

SINGLETON: We see it within groups of color. Lighter-complected black people experience greater privilege. We don't need to talk across color lines to understand the notion of privilege.

NICOLINA: Within the structure of the school itself, you have more white teachers, more counselors that are white and don't speak Spanish and I think we struggle a lot with that as well.

HUYETT: If you look at our Latino kids, our African American kids, and in our district, our Asian kids, and the difference between their achievement and white kids, it's a significant gap. And then you look at the data, is it poverty? When you take the poverty out, it's still a huge gap.

SINGLETON: It's absolutely true that some of us can overcome some of the challenges, but it does not in any way dismiss the notion that there is an advantage in society.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

27 comments:

Mr. F. Le Mur said...

Well, it IS pretty courageous to blame other people for one's shortcomings, but I can't understand how the invidious White Privilege works in the opposite direction for Asians, and has an even greater effect when there's no, or very few, of those naughty white people around: International Assessments of Educational Achievement. It's a mystery!

Rob said...

How does the Onion manage to stay in business these days?

Bill said...

This "white privilege" scam has gone on long enough. I've come to the sad conclusion that there is nothing that can be done with public education except let it die. The people who are getting paid to attend these conferences are doing real harm, and it would be better if they were forced to find work elsewhere. This being the case, trimming their jobs by starving public education of funds seems like the best option to me.

In the meanwhile, they've got to be exposed and held up to the light of scrutiny. Institutionalized child abuse in the form of anti-white racism has to be actively opposed by parents, and they won't do that if they don't know about it.

Anonymous said...

"You may be in my class,Shaqueenda,but it doesnt mean I have to teach you!" So..its the WHITE teachers!! Probably the ONLY SOB's in the whole system who are trying to do their job,and THEY get nailed for the fact that Jose and Leroy cant read! I wonder if the Jewish children are ever accused of "jewish privilege"?? Dear old Mr O'Connell would be working the morning shift at Denny's pretty quick if he did...

Anonymous said...

Has Singleton been to Disneyland lately? As an Anaheim-area local, I've been a Disneyland passholder for the past 6 years and there are plenty of people of "color" there. Maybe he doesn't count "brown" people as people of color but Disneyland is a huge draw for local hispanics. Granted there aren't that many black people at Disneyland - they seem to like Knotts Berry Farm more (it's a lot cheaper & closer to Long Beach) but it draws a very diverse crowd.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I like your blog, but your last couple of articles regarding the Sacramento conference are rather challenging for getting some point out of them.
BTW, what is the bottom line of O'Connell's idea about eliminating the gap between minorities and nonminorities? Are there any specifics/new guidelines, the teachers are suppose to follow? If so, what are they?
Thanks.

Ian said...

Two families move to a new area with the same amount of money in the bank, and the parents of the two families have the same education. The houses they move into are substantively similar.

One set of parents works hard, takes care of themselves, tackles difficult personal and professional challenges, and shows a lot of smarts. They restrain themselves to raising just one kid, because they are so busy. After thirty years, they have a lot more money in the bank and big additions to their house than the other parents, who have played a lot of online poker, eaten take out pizza, and have not much money to pass on to the three kids they've had.

The less accomplished family rails and bitches about "cheating", "systemic inequality", and "privilege". The government agrees, and comes along and takes money from the harder-working, smarter family, and gives it to the more lackadaisical family, so that all four children end up equal resources.

And then repeat the process for the next generation, when the one kid and the three kids all have families of their own.

Bottom line : "privilege" is not the right word for it when your ancestors were the ones who built the government and universities, were the ones who created the system and the society from scratch. People own what they create and what they earn, and pass that on to their bloodline - that’s called "basic human behavior".

fifi said...

"NICOLINA: Within the structure of the school itself, you have more white teachers, more counselors that are white and don't speak Spanish and I think we struggle a lot with that as well."

No good deed goes unpunished. This is why I don't teach. This is why a whole generation of white females have opted out of the teaching profession.

"Institutionalized child abuse in the form of anti-white racism has to be actively opposed by parents, and they won't do that if they don't know about it."

It's not going to stop with white children. The NAMs and a few of the Asians buy into the notion of White Privilege wholeheartedly. The fact that it's an outrageous distortion of reality doesn't matter because the concept gratifies the ego of people who are less successful than they believe they should be.

I deal with true believers in White Privilege every day. Many are whites who I guess want to feel like heroes or that they are actively working towards their own redemption from evil whiteness. The belief that white racism is the unpardonable sin has become synonymous with being a good person and even a good Christian. It's couched in absolute terms like the tenets of most fundamentalist religions (and Islam). You are either racist or a recovering racist. Non whites are only defensively racist and their perspective is always the right perspective.

Unless we can discuss our differences rationally, we won't be able to counter the totalitarianism that will ensue when the generation of minorities who believe they have been wronged by the white race take power. I have hope since we have been able to fight the guilt based arguments that have allowed Mexican nationals to ignore our laws and raid our tax revenues for 30 years. However, We have been conditioned as a country to respond emotionally and suspend all logical analysis that would allow us to make decisions based on fairness and the good of our country. So for each of us who is able to see the consequences of blaming the white race for all societal ills there seems to be a dozen who can't think beyond the rhetoric.

I like to blame Viet Nam and Watergate for the debasement of our sense of ourselves as a Nation. Otherwise, there's no explanation for why sane, intelligent human beings would give their country away to any ruffian who stakes a claim and undermine the ability of their own grandchildren to thrive in it.

I won't feel safe until the Jack O'Connells are routinely fired and run out of town for having the gall to tell whites that they are inherently evil and must accept being trampled on by anyone with darker skin because that's justice.

Mthson said...

One concrete action we can take is try to force the GOP to be less Bush-like so that we don't end up with these kinds of anti-achievement Marxists getting congress and the presidency in 2008.

Evil Neocon said...

To the degree that a smart political opponent uses O'Connell's words to throw back at him in an open struggle among White Union workers -- we'll see progress. To the degree that we don't, we won't.

What this is really all about is the alliance of white Yuppies and various ethnic groups against working-middle class whites who are threats to both.

To the white yuppies, the working-middle class whites present competition. For the various ethnic groups, a group that can be punished and things of value taken away. This will continue until it has real risks for those who engage in it.

The only way that will happen is if careers end. It is important therefore to see how O'Connell's career develops. His words can be used with the White unions: police, fire, nurses, etc. to show that they will expunged and replaced with others.

Barack Obama's Brain said...

As an Anaheim-area local, I've been a Disneyland passholder for the past 6 years and there are plenty of people of "color" there.

To blacks, no other group counts as being either "people of color" or minorities. Even in places like South Africa, they consider blacks to be minorities.

I still remember my high school graduation where a scholarship was given out by some organization to the highest ranked "minority student." That should've been the valedictorian, a Vietnamese guy - but it actually went to a black girl ranked 70ish. Everybody - and I do mean everybody - in that awards ceremony was chuckling at the presenter.

CEP said...

So let me get this straight. Taquanda can't do Algebra because I am white?

Anonymous said...

Ian, that household that restricted itself to the one child it could "afford" is the problem, not the normal people with three children and the online poker hobby. If there isn't a third household, where the woman foregoes tackling "difficult personal and professional challenges" other than MOTHERHOOD, with five or six children being properly educated and growing up and having children themselves who can practice genetically appropriate altruism, just throw in the towel already because America is doomed.

I think we may be the first culture in human history to take *selfish* behavior - "difficult personal and professional challenges" - and elevate it as virtue. You can tell it's not virtue because they're losing to the online poker people!

persecuted white said...

"If there isn't a third household, where the woman foregoes tackling "difficult personal and professional challenges" other than MOTHERHOOD, with five or six children being properly educated and growing up and having children themselves who can practice genetically appropriate altruism, just throw in the towel already because America is doomed."

I agree. We volunteered not to overpopulate the earth despite the fact that there was plenty of room for our offspring in the US. I noticed a post on the same topic yesterday. This intrigues me because I know about how old I was when I internalized the value system that it was better to be a career woman than a mother. Girls come to believe that they won't be able to attract a mate unless they present themselves as ambitious/or intellectual. But this isn't just true of the girls. Most teenage and young adult males don't want a woman who wants to have children or who is overt about it. The more intellectual and ambitious the male, the more likely he is to want a heterosexual feminist as a girlfriend. Both sexes have been socialized this way.

I think what often happens is that the girl has to become aware of her inner desire to be a mommy while deceiving the male as to her true purpose.

On a somewhat related topic, we unfortunate germanic type females tend to obsess about consistency. There's no living with the cognitive dissonance between pursuing a career wholeheartedly only to attract a mate so we can suspend our faux career goals in order to pursue our real goal which is motherhood. So, we end up having to endure fertility treatments at the end of our fertile years or we lose out to Asian and Hispanic females because a) they understand they are playing a double game with the status conscious white male or b) the white male has a double standard for females from his own culture and others. In the latter case, he will accept the overtly feminine drive to marry and have children in Asian or Hispanic women (often claiming these women are more feminine than whites) though he'd never accept this honesty from a white female.

The end result is that there are fewer and fewer actual "whites" to blame for White Privilege. I think only a Jewish person can explain what it is like to be a small but intensely hated minority group. Maybe the O'Connells of the world will then come out against people with high IQs who will either be enslaved for the good of the state or taxed mercilessly for being high achievers.

You have to wonder about O'Connell's IQ. I for one am sick of having any "achievement" attributed to my race or my socioeconomic status rather than to hard work (a popular Marxist theory being that your parents' vocabulary determines your success in school which is unfair for people with less erudite parents). O'Connell must have taken the path of least resistance in his studies otherwise he wouldn't be so quick to betray those who have achieved based on intelligence and hard work.

tommy said...

The proposition that blacks and Hispanics fail because of 'white privilege' is one of those rubric arguments I've talked about before. You'll hear a lot more about the evils of 'white privilege' in the abstract but not a lot about what it means in the real world. These people can't afford to provide a more concrete definition because that would make their argument obvious and silly. It's more difficult for opponents to argue against an abstract concept that could conceivably mean dozens of different things or not much of anything at all. Educrats and blactivists are eternally fond of vague, protean terminology like this. 'White privilege' will mean whatever they want it to mean and it will never mean what you want it to mean.

sn said...

persecuted white:
"In the latter case, he will accept the overtly feminine drive to marry and have children in Asian or Hispanic women (often claiming these women are more feminine than whites) though he'd never accept this honesty from a white female."

Interesting point about educated white male preferences, one that fits my experience (happily married to heterosexual (moderate) feminist, aged 34 with our first baby now 5 months old), but one I hadn't considered. My brother in law and his generation were notably reluctant to marry the (white) girls who wanted to settle down and have babies straight out of high school, so now they're entering their thirties unmarried.

reg Cæsar said...

If being white is a privilege, it is a privilege granted by God. This is to Whom these (im)practical atheists should address their concerns.

Anonymous said...

If you are white, and you hear the word "privilege," pack your bags because you're about to go on a guilt trip.

I'm white, and I was born with a lot of advantages - mainly because of the hard work of my parents and their parents. Why should I feel guilty about that?

Anyway, if a NAM child is born in a nation that is mostly white, he or she will enjoy a lot of advantages that he would not receive if he'd been born elsewhere. Mainly because of the hard work of white people.

Maybe we should have a new term: NAM Privilege.

Martin said...

"On a somewhat related topic, we unfortunate germanic type females tend to obsess about consistency. There's no living with the cognitive dissonance between pursuing a career wholeheartedly only to attract a mate so we can suspend our faux career goals in order to pursue our real goal which is motherhood."

A good observation. One can do a lot of foolish things in order to rationalize a protracted (and expensive) education - throwing good time after bad.

I have noticed that among most professional women (not all, certainly, but most) that they seem to value work primarily for the social environment it offers, rather than for the work itself.

It is a shame that so many educated white men only look down on women who are honest about their desire for motherhood. Part of it I suppose is the desire, evinced by many young men, to spend their lives in a state of perpetual adolescence.

fwood1 said...

I doubt if O'Connell really believes in "white privelege". More likely, he's just pandering to his base, knowing that the MSM will never take him to task for it.

Anonymous said...


a popular Marxist theory being that your parents' vocabulary determines your success in school which is unfair for people with less erudite parents


It is more likely that your parent's vocabulary is determined by their IQ, which they pass on to you, and you vocabulary pretty much matches theirs.

Anonymous said...

As the last Anonymous pointed out, the term "white privilege" is part of an oft-repeated Big Lie.

For forty years the privilege boot has been on another foot. Dark-skinned people now enjoy all the privileges: they can go to the police or fire academy even if they're illiterate and get the job even if they flunk. They can go to university even if they can't count above ten with their shoes on, and get a scholarship even if they don't study. They can goldbrick at work with no fear of discipline. Any business or government agency which fails to hire and maintain a quota of dark skinned people will be prosecuted by the government, which actively seeks people and organizations to punish. Any shortcoming, failure, or misbehaviour of dark-skinned people is attributed to the malice of lighter-skinned people. Trillions of dollars of productivity are sacrificed nationwide to the privileges of dark-skinned people.

In strict fact, there is "color privilege" in the USA and absofarkinglutely all of it accrues to colored people.

Anonymous said...


I still remember my high school graduation where a scholarship was given out by some organization to the highest ranked "minority student." That should've been the valedictorian, a Vietnamese guy - but it actually went to a black girl ranked 70ish. Everybody - and I do mean everybody - in that awards ceremony was chuckling at the presenter.


That Vietnamese guy was probably ethnically Chinese, as well. They are no longer a minority.

Anonymous said...

Persecuted white: I figured that out in my 20s as well about the massive cognitive distortion we were being expected to practice. Take your career seriously so you can get into the social worlds where you can meet a good provider, so you can be faced with the choice of ditching your career or spending what's left of your childbearing years doing the impossible.

I don't think that Asian and Hispanic females will ultimately outfeminine us; their birthrates are dropping too. Feminism is an equal opportunity fertility-destroyer.

Anonymous said...

Fake hate mail claims gets prof six months in the pokey.

sarah said...

practical definition of white privilege

--my grandparents ran a steel mill and made millions of dollars that they could leave to my parents who used that money to buy a nicer house, earn interest and send me to an expensive elite university
(people of color could not run steel mills in the 40s--if I were black I would not have gone to the college I did and would not have gotten the job I have now with retirement and health benefits)

--my husband's grandfather owned his own business, started with money from the Rotary club, made millions of dollars some of which he left to his children who used it to send my husband to school and as the down payment for our house.
(the rotary club did not give money to people of color, nor could they start businesses in the 40s in Tennessee--if I were black I would not have been able to buy my house. My husband would not have been able to become a teacher and secure a good income, pension, and health care plan)

--I grew up surrounded by people who looked like me who had gone to college, bought houses, and gotten good jobs because their parents and grandparents had done these same things. This told me that I too could and would do those things. If I were black this would not have happened.

So what. I'm successful, have a house, a good job, a bunch of money in the bank account. And even though I work hard and am responsible and only will have one child that money wouldn't be there without what my family did for me. And they wouldn't have been able to do that for me if we were not all white. That is white privilege in action. It exists.

(Oh, and the white yuppies? They don't really care that the working class exists. They don't see them as competition. They see themselves as better and smarter and more capable and more deserving. They are the ones you should be hating. They have the power.)

Anonymous said...

Sarah is the first one to say anything thoughtful on this thread. The point is not that white privilege explains every individual circumstance or all of American life. But it does exist, it can have a pervasive effect on people's horizons and experiences, and it is something we should recognize. Doesn't mean you blame white people for their own status or for non-whites' status. Just recognize it as part of our common set of circumstances, and take it into account in coming up with shared plans for the future.