Posters Calling Students to Address Their White Privilege Sparks Anger Among Canadian Parents
Canadian School District Under Fire for Posters Addressing White Privilege
**’Got Privilege?’ Some Parents Upset Over School Posters Calling on Students to Address Their White Privilege
**Canadian School District Launches Anti-Racism Campaign to Address White Privilege — And Parents Aren’t Happy
An anti-racism campaign addressing bigotry and white privilege has popped up in schools across British Columbia, hitting a nerve with parents who’ve demanded administrators put a stop to it.
The posters, which feature phrases like “Got Privilege?” and “If you don’t have to think about it, it’s a privilege,” are part of a recent campaign in the Gold Trail School District. They feature direct quotes from district administrators about their own experiences with privilege and racism.
“We are trying to acknowledge that racism does exist and that some people, as a result of racism, are disadvantaged,” Superintendent Teresa Downs told CBC News this week.
The campaign has drawn criticism from angry parents, however. Mother Kansas Field Allen said she was shocked when she heard about the posters, asking her son to take photos of them so she could share it on social media and get feedback from other parents.
“I would say 95 percent of the people are in favor of having the posters taken down – and that’s from all races,” Field Allen said. In her post, the concerned mother said she planned to email her issues with the posters to the district, as well as superintendent Downs.
According to CBC News, the posters began appearing in schools after the district crafted a campaign that was inspired by a similar Saskatoon billboard campaign that also addressed racism. The district took its idea to school principals, who agreed the posters should go up.
“We were very aware of some information we had from [students] in our school district around some of the racism and prejudice and bias that they were facing, both in their schools and also in the community,” Downs said, adding that educating students about racism and privilege is nothing new.
Parents said they were never alerted about the campaign, however. For Field Allen, the main concern is having to explain the posters’ message to her two young grandchildren, who attend school in the district.
“You and I can talk as adults about these posters, but what do you say to a first-grader?,” she told CBC News.”
Some parents voiced similar concerns, while others called it a “great start” for British Columbia.
Nice…this conveys the message that being white is unacceptable. What happened to messages of equality?
— Kitty Chow (@KittyChowVan) March 9, 2018
— Dayleen Van Ryswyk (@Dayleen4Kelowna) March 9, 2018
I’m against the posters- no one should assume they can measure someone’s “privilege” score based on skin tone or gender. There’s advantaged and disadvantaged kids of all genders, skin color, physical and intellectual gifts, and combinations thereof. #thisisnottheway
— Trevor Panas (@Trevor_Panas) March 9, 2018
A great start #BritishColumbia
We all know the people that will take issue with it so forge on!
Children are able to grasp these concepts when taught, and even more so, if parents support the efforts & acknowledge their own #WhitePrivilege #antiracism https://t.co/axqwny7Z52
— Marcela (@1968inspire) March 8, 2018
Seems like a good program to me. It's challenging people to think. Some can't do that. Which is part of the problem. https://t.co/jEy0GcZxD0
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) March 8, 2018
Anti-racist campaigns that name white privilege tend to generate the most backlash. But it is vitally important anti-racist work move beyond "don't say racist things" and discuss systemic issues & white privilege. Kudos to Gold Trail District. https://t.co/b0W0UQD3vW
— Elliot Worsfold (@ElliotWorsfold) March 8, 2018