Sunday, February 16, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches are RACIST !

In an effort to combat perceived discrimination, one Portland, Oregon school seems to have gone off the deep end by suggesting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches carry racist connotations. According to the Portland Tribune, Verenice Gutierrez, (photo) principal of the Harvey Scott School, with 500 impressionable students, ''picks up on the subtle language of racism'' on a daily basis. She tried to add meaning to her stance by saying, ''What about our Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches? Another way would be to say, Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?'  Maybe they eat torta or pita and find sandwiches intimidating.''

With the suggestion that a sandwich is racist, the Tribune journalist said the discussion on race ''has moved beyond slack-jawed incredulity into total self-parody territory.''  He added, ''I can see the local racists having fun with this and ramping it up to even use black current jelly on white bread!!!''  The Tribune noted that the school started the year with ''intensive staff trainings, meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives,'' to help teachers understand their own ''white privilege,  in order to change their teaching practices to boost minority students' performance.''

Principal Gutierrez completed a week-long seminar late last year called ''Coaching for Educational Equity,''  a program the Tribune says focuses ''on race and how it affects life.''  She also serves on an administrative committee that focuses on systemic racism. ''Our school focus and our Superintendent's mandate that we improve education for students of colour, particularly Black and Brown boys, and will provide us with many opportunities to use protocols in data teams, staff meetings, and conversations amongst one another,'' she said in a letter to the staff.

The Way I See It....Verenice Gutierrez is a racist and an embarrassment for Portland, Oregon. This idiot is worthy of mockery and ridicule. That Ms Gutierrez is controlling the teaching of children is a prime example of why home schooling and private schools are so popular nowadays. This woman is the 21st century version of a witch hunter, searching high and low for RACISM. She's trying to dowse evidence of it from the dust from the air. Guess what? When everything is racist, then nothing actually is!

Her excuse?  An artfully made point that a student from some other immigrant culture may have cultural challenges to learning when coming to the United States - but I also reject it. That is not Racism. That is called assimilation. Culture after culture (including millions of Hispanics and I dare say even those Somalis, Sudanese, whatever) have navigated and benefited from the challenge. It is important for their own economic wellbeing that immigrants Suck-it-Up and assimilate.

But cultural assimilation can go both ways. Many born in Portland and the rest of the U.S. readily adopt the culture and culinary traditions of immigrants. I would suggest that interplay of immigrant cultural assimilation as it has been practiced in the United States is generally a positive thing. Ms Gutierrez should look up E. pluribus unium and leave the peanut butter sandwich alone. George Washington Carver would be turning in his grave with this nonsense. 

Peanuts are native to the Americas. Carver was born into slavery in Missouri, but (despite real racism and personal health issues as a child) managed, without embodying victimhood, through hard work and self education to become a famed botanist and scientist. Carver, as a professor at Tuskegee University, promoted crop rotation. Soils in the south had become depleted from years of mono-culture cotton growing. Legumes, such as peanuts, fix nitrogen through their roots and help restore the fertility of depleted soils. Farmers and share croppers, black and white, were resistant to growing pecans and peanuts because of lack of markets for those crops. So craver worked on finding economic uses for these crops to promote their growing. Carver did not invent peanut butter, but he promote it along with many other products.

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