By: Krystle Crossman
Students at Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon had to take a survey in class that has made some parents very upset. The survey is titled “White Privilege Survey” and has a list of questions that are geared towards opening discussions about race in the schools. Parent Jason Schmidt saw the survey that came home with his son and he was not happy about it. He said that the questions made it seem like they were trying to shame the students for being white if they are. He doesn’t feel that it is appropriate for the school to be pushing material like this onto the students. Schmidt doesn’t want his son to be a part of a social experiment that a teacher is running or have an agenda pushed onto him.
Sociology professor Randy Blazak says that this material is something that needs to be brought up to schools. He feels that students need to be prepared for what they are going to face out in the real world. Racial tensions are at an all-time high lately and Blazak says that students should understand what they and their classmates are going to see and hear. He feels that discussions about race need to be had in schools and they need to happen sooner rather than later. Schmidt says that as parents they pay so much money for their kids to go to school to learn, not be part of a political fad.
There are many parents who agree with the survey however. A woman interviewed by a local news station told them that she feels that the kids are going to have to learn about race and they should be learning about it early on. The school says that their intention with allowing the survey to go home with the senior students is to facilitate a discussion in a safe space. They want the students to have a dialogue that is open and honest but controlled so that it does not get too out of hand. The woman interviewed feels this is a good way to go about this and says that she is American but is automatically labeled as Mexican by the color of her skin. She was born here but people look at her as a foreigner and she thinks that it is good for kids to realize that this is what happens out in the real world and they should be prepared for it at an early age.
The students are asked to rate the questions on a scale, 0 meaning that the statement is never true, 3 meaning that it is sometimes true, and 5 meaning that it is almost always true. Some of the statements that appear on the survey are:
– I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
– I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
– When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization”, I am shown that people of my race made it what it is.
Do you feel that this survey is appropriate for students? Do you think it will be effective in raising awareness with the children about the racial turmoil in the country right now?