« Night 3 of The Democratic Convention: They’re Yelling Again | Main | Frequently Asked Questions: Murders in Libya »

September 11, 2012

Let Freedom Ring! However, You’re Going To Need a Permit For The Bell. – You’re a Racist Edition

“Let Freedom Ring!  However, You’re Going To Need a Permit For The Bell,” is a periodic series in which we explore the new and exciting ways in which the notions of freedom and liberty are being interpreted in our modern and progressive world.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

OUT: A common and economical lunch choice.

IN: An ethnonormative example of white privilege.

Fortunately, the thoroughly modern administrators of the Portland, Oregon school system can see right through the thin veneer of those who claim a PB&J “is just a sandwich” and expose it for what it is:

A sandwich with issues.

The problem came up when a teacher used a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an example in the classroom. As local Principal Verenice Gutierrez points out,

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?”

You might be thinking, “Exactly, what if they suffer from gluten intolerance or maybe are trying to lose a few pounds on Atkins?” But that’s not it at all. Principal Guttierrez offers an alternative to illustrate the real problem:

“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.”

Really, you have to stop being such a racist and treating everyone equally.

First, you need to assume that people who aren’t white are not Americans. In addition to ridding yourself of the racist assumption that anyone who is a citizen no matter where they are from “is as American as me,” you will also really be helping to streamline some matters in Arizona.

Second, you have to assume minority students are only familiar with their own ethnic food. You see a Chinese student? No way she's even seen a PB&J sandwich, never mind eaten one.  Italians? They’re probably wolfing down plates of ravioli for lunch or something. Irish? A couple of pints of Guinness will do it for the drunk bastards. Estonians?  Who knows, but it’s important we be as condescending to them as possible, too, so they don’t feel left out.  White kids?  Probably a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread with some more mayonnaise for good measure.  Show that kid a taco and he’ll probably become confused and disoriented at the unfamiliar and exotic corn shell placed before him.

In totally unrelated news, Salsa surpassed Ketchup sales 20 years ago.

We simply have to break through the kind of rank racism that assumes a huge, inclusive, diverse, and dynamic, but ultimately common, culture binds us all together as individuals and instead assume that a person’s race or ethnicity is determinative of their behavior.  For example, one of Principal Guttierrez’s initiatives:

Encourage “black and Latino” boys to join separate, segregated “drum groups.”

Do you think that perhaps setting up a drum group for minority students simultaneously plays to hideous racial stereotypes and is itself, racist?

“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem? Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

You whitey white white whiteness white guy, you!

What if you feel that way but aren't white?

  1. That's just not possible as no minorities think that way.
  2. You don't want to know.

Regardless, Guttierrez has a plan:

“Our focus school and our Superintendent’s mandate that we improve education for students of color, particularly Black and Brown boys, will provide us with many opportunities to use the protocols of Courageous Conversations in data teams, team meetings, staff meetings, and conversations amongst one another.”


Equity training aside, Scott School must teach the same number of students with fewer teachers and resources. Down five full-time positions this year, including two reading specialists, Gutierrez is trying desperately to do more with less.

At least they have their priorities straight.


Bookmark and Share

September 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM in Let Freedom Ring! | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Let Freedom Ring! However, You’re Going To Need a Permit For The Bell. – You’re a Racist Edition:


Absolutely, Bob.

Posted by: Planet Moron | Sep 13, 2012 12:51:38 PM

May I reprint?

Posted by: Bob | Sep 12, 2012 9:58:31 PM

Start with a solid basic education and the culture will take care of itself. If you read the Portland newpaper article, the majority of 8th graders were at the 3rd grade level in reading and math but were being sent on to HS. There is just so much wrong in that sentence that I do not have enough space in this comment block to hit all the high points.

Posted by: TheOldMan | Sep 12, 2012 5:00:39 PM

Sure. But go to their country and order a PB&J. See what that gets you.
"improve education for people of color, particularly Brown and Black boys". What the hell kind of sexist, racist comment is that? What about the girls. Oh that's right, in those "other" countries, females don't really count.
Whatever happened to good old book larnin'?

Posted by: barryjo | Sep 11, 2012 8:59:50 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.