Students of Norman North High School in Oklahoma are extremely upset with a teacher. And it is not because of extra homework but because of his racial comments. The teacher is accused of proclaiming that all white people are inherently racist in his classroom lesson.
A student from his class who wishes to remain anonymous recorded the teacher's audio, where he is believed to be saying that “to be white is to be racist, period.”
The lecture started with a video about the “Mistreatment of Native Americans” which showed a man using white-out on certain areas of a globe, where he then wrote his name on the area.
“And he pulls out this globe with a bottle of white out and marks over a country or a piece of country and puts his name on it,” said the student. “So he was basically comparing what he had done to the globe to what we did to America.”
“Half of my family is Hispanic so I just felt like, you know, him calling me a racist just because I’m white … I mean, where’s your proof in that,” the girl said. “I felt like he was encouraging people to kind of pick on people for being white."
The teacher also apparently claims, “Am I racist? I say yeah. I don’t want to be. It’s not like I choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised?”
According to the Independent, the lecture was about the “Mistreatment of Native Americans” and sought ways for healing the racial divide. However, the student appeared to misunderstand the lecture on colonization and became really upset and offended when the teacher said “to be white is to be racist, period.”
White people have been labeled many times for having inherent privileges not enjoyed by other races. But when introducing the concept of racial discrimination, teachers must be very careful. Imprecise wording can trigger outrage quickly.
Norman Public Schools issued a public statement to clarify the controversy.
"Racism is an important topic that we discuss in our schools,” Dr. Joe Siano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools, said in the statement.
“While discussing a variety of philosophical perspectives on culture, race and ethics, a teacher was attempting to convey to students in an elective philosophy course a perspective that had been shared at a university lecture he had attended. We regret that the discussion was poorly handled. When the district was notified of this concern it was immediately addressed. We are committed to ensuring inclusiveness in our schools."
The statement did not mention whether any disciplinary action will be taken against the teacher.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Christopher Aluka Berry