A Democratic state lawmaker from North Carolina is raising eyebrows with comments indicating he’s ashamed of his own “whiteness.”
“Just when you thought Chapel Hill couldn’t get any kookier along comes THIS GUY,” wrote Brant Clifton of the Daily Haymaker blog in a column about lawmaker Graig Meyer.
Subtitled “A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools,” it includes Meyer’s comments.
“The truly difficult work is looking deep within myself to recognize where my own reservoirs of whiteness reside and what value or burdens they present to me,” the excerpt states. “Every time I review Peggy McIntosh’s inventory of white privilege I learn something more about myself, and – through attentiveness to my own experience – I think I could add a few more forms of racial privilege to her list.”
He continued: “Frequently, I find myself examining my blind spots when a colleague of color expresses very different feelings about some experience we shared. This is fairly painless when it simply requires hearing about how they read between the lines of a presentation or caught a racist remark that sailed over my head. When the dissonance in our experience was in some way the result of my whiteness, it’s a little more painful but also more revealing.
“My white guilt tends to creep up most when I’m forced to reflect on the power I wield. For instance, I will spend weeks mentally reviewing an incident when one of my staff members bears the brunt of my ignorance or proclivity for dominance. I want them to trust me, I want them to like me, and I anger myself when I learn that I may have done something that makes it more difficult for them to do either. Perhaps even more important to our work are times when my power allows me to make decisions that negatively impact students of color.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday referred to Meyer as a “loony tune” and said he would address the issue when he had more time on Tuesday’s program.
“It’s the strangest thing. It’s weird,” Limbaugh said. “I mean I don’t even know if I can do this and still stay sane. But I’m gonna give it a shot.”
The Haymaker noted Meyer was appointed to his state legislative seat following a stint as a coordinator for the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program and is now seeking re-election.
The excerpt from Meyer continued: “Although I often try to seek counsel of colleagues of color, it is inevitable that times arise where it’s only after the fact that one of them points out some flaw in my reasoning. The flaws are often the result of my ingrained whiteness and my own blindness to its perpetual presence. I suppose it’s cliché to say that the work is never done or that none of us ever fully ‘get it.’ But I can’t help feeling a strong desire to master this work, to learn all there is to know, and to do enough to become the ‘good white guy.’ Ultimately, it’s probably the deepest vestige of my own white supremacy that feeds this need to know it all, to be right, and to be in charge. Paradoxically, the deeper I delve into this process, the more I feel called to lead other colleagues through the journey. My own capacity for leadership perpetuates the whiteness within me, beckoning a return trip to look in the mirror. Perhaps I can’t fully suppress all the whiteness within me, and maybe that’s for the better. The process is the task, the journey has no end, and I will always be white.”
The Democrat represents the district that includes Chapel Hill.
The Haymaker noted he “has voted to kill Opportunity scholarships for low-income kids, to save Common Core, and to kill the budget that gave teachers a pay raise.”
But the strongest statements came from those who commented on the report.
“Don’t respond often,” wrote Carl Mischka, “but question whether this guy is even human. Perhaps we already have been invaded by aliens?”
Added “Raphael”: “This is one way out dude, a real space case. He fits Margaret Thatcher’s term ‘loony left’ perfectly.”
He also had his defenders. “JBP” wrote: “Craig is actually a very smart guy and he has done amazing work for the youth of the state. The Blue Ribbon Mentor program has made a huge difference in hundrrds (or many more) of people’s lives.”
WND columnist Walter Williams, however, has taken to task those who promote the concept of “white privilege.”
“What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that ‘white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily’? You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation,” he wrote recently.
“In one of the workshops, ‘Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom,’ educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can ‘insert social justice, anti-racist information’ into their lessons that ‘even little kids’ can understand,” he wrote. “Kim Radersma, a former high-school English teacher, hosted a session titled, ‘Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher.’ She said teaching is a purely political act and that neutral people should ‘get the f— out of education.’”
In 2012 school districts in Minnesota were sending teachers to a conference on how to defeat “white privilege”
“I think that it is safe to say that all white people benefit some from racism, all men benefit some from sexism, but only those at the top of the pyramid truly gain from this system and enjoy privileges that most of us can only imagine,” wrote one of the presenters.
He added: “Christianity has also played a key role in developing and justifying systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, colonialism and genocide. … Racism also had its beginning in Christianity as the distinction between Christians and non-Christians took on a biological difference during the Inquisitions, when it was decided that Jews and Muslims who converted were false converts because they did not have clean blood… This was the beginning of modern or biological racism.”
Columnist Warner Todd Huston took a decidedly critical tone over the events.
“Alright you evil, rotten, racist, white oppressors, it’s time once again for the ‘White Privilege Conference,’ this year to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota… Come on out you white teachers so we can get your rotten minds right about how racist you are and so that you can go back to your students and let them know how racist they are,” he wrote.
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