bookbanner
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ETHNORMALITY

Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

One of the unfortunate facts of life today is that in order to avoid lawsuits and because not everyone who attains a position of power is remotely worthy of or capable of carrying out that power properly, you end up in meetings and seminars that area total waste of time. Usually these involve someone pontificating on obvious, even obnoxious topics, such as how its not nice to be mean to people or you shouldn't harass your coworkers.

Sometimes, perhaps often, these meetings get just ridiculous. Jennifer Anderson writes about one such event in the Portland Tribune:
Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

“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.”

Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.
As you can tell, this isn't just a meeting or one speaker, though. Its a school policy, trying to get all of these Portland, Oregon schools to follow a program. Ms Anderson writes this without a hint of irony or recognition of the absurdity on display. Nearly every kid alive likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, unless they've never tasted one. It doesn't matter what their ethnicity or background, that's completely irrelevant because they're all human.

But that's not really the point here. This sort of push is a concern about ethnormality, that people are presuming a certain ethnic culture in the school and instead of being more diverse, inclusive, and multicultural, are assuming one sort of culture is normal and the rest are outsiders. That's just not right, according to Ms Guitierrez, who has trained extensively to find fault and offense in the world around her.

The problem is she has no problem having white American kids learn to taste and enjoy foods like Shawarma, curry, and tacos, but its some sort of cruel racial insult for an immigrant to learn to like PBJ. What she and so many other educators and people in her position cannot seem to grasp is that America has a distinct and specific culture, and that culture includes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

This need to destroy America's unique culture enrages me, it is absolutely idiotic. They would be incredibly offended if some white American kid insisted everyone teach her in English and feed her American food while living in, say, Bolivia. They would think that American kid was a bigot, an "ugly American" arrogant and demanding. But when it comes to the USA, all the sudden the rules change.

Like the piece I wrote about how the same people who insist that 'flyover' rural America be forced to change its stupid, Bible-clinging culture are the ones who insist we implement some kind of Star Trek non interference rule when dealing with other cultures. This hypocrisy when it comes to American culture is infuriating, because their intent is not about fairness, tolerance, or avoiding bigotry; it is about a specific and deliberate effort to destroy American culture which they find uncomfortable or somehow bigoted for merely existing.

Yes, America has a heritage of welcoming and including new ideas, music, foods, and cultures, but we blend them into what we already have. We include tacos on our menus because they are tasty. What we ought not do is delete PBJ because it somehow is offensive to a Somali student. Welcome to America this is what we eat. We'll try your food too, but you moved here, become part of our culture.

I cannot get over how continually I see shows on Food and Travel channels where guys go all around the world trying new foods and learning about cultures. This is how they do things in Burunga-rungastan. Okay, I'm here, I'll do it too, I'll try your fermented maggot curd salad. I'll dance in your folk dances, I'll wear the funny hat. Because this is your home and I want to learn and fit in.

But suddenly when it comes to America, its offensive to become American, and that's simply idiotic. It is, in fact, offensive in its self.

Read the whole Article if you can stand it, it is fully packed with stupid, to the point of brimming over and spilling all over your computer, like when Guitierrez is confronted by parents noting that a boys-only, minorities-only club seems to violate her cant about inclusion and multiculturalism, she accuses them of white privilege.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home