A Washington state public high school required its teachers in 2018 to undergo mandatory training in White, heterosexual male privilege.
The suburban Tumwater School District, southwest of Tacoma, hired a consultant to help the predominantly White high school faculty “examine our privilege” and learn about microaggressions at a two-hour, in-service session, according to a teacher who anonymously sent materials to the conservative advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE) on Aug. 4.
“Because everyone was terrified to contribute to the discussion we were supposed to be having, lest we offend someone with one of the many micro-aggressions we had just learned about, the room was awkwardly silent for most of the time,” the teacher said in a statement. “The thing is, we started with these norms about respect of others’ views, etc., but we all knew darn well that if anyone like me shared their views on it, we would be shunned.”
According to a public relations firm that provided the statement, the teacher has asked to remain anonymous for fear of being fired.
The in-service presentation’s slides, available online at a link dated from 2018, ask teachers to locate themselves in a “pyramid of White Supremacy” and claim their slice of a “privilege pie.”
The pyramid depicts how White people begin with indifference, espousing attitudes like “politics doesn’t affect me,” before they ascend through racism and violence to the “mass murder” of genocide, depicted as the bright-red top of the structure.
Being White, U.S.-born, disability-free and aged 18-64 qualified teachers to claim one half of the privilege pie.
Claiming the full pie required them to be a “cisgender male” wedded to their biological sex, middle or upper class, Christian, and heterosexual.
The presentation noted that 75% of the school’s student body in 2018 was White. The title slide states: “We’re White, we’re interested. How do we get started?”
The Tumwater School District’s public relations office did not return a call seeking comment.
Erica Sanzi, PDE outreach director, said people who have been sitting through such diversity training in recent years are finally starting to speak up.
“They don’t like what’s happening, they’re concerned about it, and they feel like valuable time is being wasted to shame large portions of the staff,” Ms. Sanzi told The Washington Times.
She added that many teachers of all races feel frustrated that assumptions are increasingly made about them based on their personal characteristics but feel unable to speak up publicly.