White privilege questionnaire given to high school seniors in Oregon town

White privilege questionnaire given to high school seniors in Oregon town

You’re never too young to feel guilty. That seems to be the reasoning behind a “white privilege” survey handed out as homework to students at Aloha High School in the Oregon city of the same name.

Station KATU notes that some, though not all, parents are upset about the assignment but quotes sociologist Randy Blazak as saying that education is supposed to be provocative:

I mean the way we get people to challenge assumptions about the world is to provoke them. It’s a great way to open up this conversation. It’s not too soon to discuss this issue.

I think Blazak is on to something. I say it’s high time the school hands out a Black Lives Matter survey to black students, asking them whether they think that attacking people because of their skin color is a good idea. Those that answer no should be directed to a follow-up question that asks whether they feel differently when the skin color of the victim is white.

According to parent Jason Schmidt, “The way this thing, this survey is read, it almost wants to shame you for being white.”


Then again, as you can see from the news video below, Schmidt is himself white, so he’s probably prejudiced.

But parent Sarah Rios-Lopez doesn’t see it that way. She told reporters:

We are first of all judged by the color of our skin, because that is what you see first. It’s a huge topic and it needs to start somewhere. If it doesn’t start now, its not going to start.

Once again, I agree. I just wonder if Rios-Lopez would be as enthusiastic about a survey geared toward Hispanic students that probed what makes them feel guilty. (Note: If their answer is “sneaking across a border into a neighboring country, they shouldn’t be required to complete that question.)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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