White Folk in Connecticut Not Too Happy About ‘White Privilege’ Essay Contest

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*Darn skippy my ass! Well what can you expect if you put out a call for students to write an essay on ‘white privilege’ if they’re white?

Outrage…but I suspect its mainly from the parents or grandparents or other elders.

The contest was put on by the diversity council in Connecticut’s Gold coast area. It asked students to describe how white privilege has impacted their lives and chairperson Harold Bailey Jr. says people weighed in on the topic from as far away as Singapore.

“There’s a lot more controversy around it than many of us expected,” Bailey, a retired IBM vice president who is Black, said. “Just the fact it says ‘white’ and ‘privilege,’ for some people that’s all they need to see, and all of a sudden we’re race-baiting or trying to get people to feel guilty. That’s not at all what it’s about.”

And to reiterate the point I made earlier, about WHO is raising all this cain?

Bari Reiner, 72, says the question is offensive because the town welcomes anybody who can afford to live here.

“It’s an open town,” Reiner said. “There are no barricades here. Nobody says if you’re black or whatever, you can’t move here.”

Spoken like a true…let me stop.

Not unlike other NYC suburbs on the Connecticut shoreline,  Westport sits among the country’s wealthiest places with a median family income topping $150,000. It’s also home to the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates; and according to the 2010 census, its 26,000 residents were also 93 percent white.

So there you have it folks.

But hey, its said the town has a healthy arts community, which it attributes to the liberal streak that marched right down to the voting booth and checked Hilary Clinton for president, 2 to 1.

But we can’t give the youth too much credit. They’ve had their bouts with racism. According to the Associated Press dozens of students at the public Staples High School were disciplined for circulating racially offensive memes in a private Facebook group uncovered in November.

Not all parents resented the contest. Some actually welcomed it, saying it serves as a reminder for local teens that not all places are as affluent and homogeneous as Westport.

“I like the idea to get it out there so kids can talk about it and embrace it,” said Bert Dovo, a white father of two who are now in college.

Janet Samuels, 60, said that her children are now grown but that she believes it is the role of parents to teach what privilege is.

“That would upset me very much,” Samuels, who is also white, said of the essay question. “I wouldn’t go there.”

The diversity council, TEAM Westport, was actually created a decade ago to create more diversity in the town and broaden its welcoming appeal. This contest, which awards $1,000 to the winner,  will announce its winner on April 3rd.

 

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