The Privileged Voices in Education

Educon 2.6

Audrey Watters

Twitter: @audreywatters


Jose Vilson

Twitter: @thejlv


Some statistics:

About 66% of the US population is white. (source)

83% of K-12 teachers in the US are white. 76% are female. (source)

About 56% of students enrolled in public school in the US are white. (source)


"Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage" -- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

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"I think the ways in which ‘pointing out sexism or racism’ becomes heard as injurious is an expression of this problem: your critiques are heard as causing injury to someone’s reputation for being feminist/anti-racist/radical etc, as upsetting their feelings, even as being mean because you have failed to acknowledge their work, what they have given up, their political commitments, and so on. In this situation even using words like ‘racism’ become heard as injurious not to those that have experienced racism but to those that hear this word as an accusation. This is how racism becomes heard as an injury to white people; sexism as an injury to men, and so on." -- "Living the Consequences"

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"And frankly, it’s cruel and ridiculous to expect a person to be calm and polite in response to an act of oppression. Marginalized people often do not have the luxury of emotionally distancing themselves from discussions on their rights and experiences." -- "This is a post about tone policing"

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I came up in a time when white intellectuals were forever making breathless pronouncements about their world, about my world, and about the world itself. My life was delineated lists like "Geniuses of Western Music" written by people who evidently believed Louis Armstrong and Aretha Franklin did not exist. That tradition continues. Dylan Byers knows nothing of your work, and therefore your work must not exist.

Here is the machinery of racism—the privilege of being oblivious to questions, of never having to grapple with the everywhere; the right of false naming; the right to claim that the lakes, trees, and mountains of our world do not exist; the right to insult our intelligence with your ignorance. The machinery of racism requires no bigotry from Dylan Byers. It merely requires that Dylan Byers sit still.” -- “What It Means to Be a Public Intellectual” -