‘White privilege’ homework assignment causing controversy


ALOHA, Ore. (CNN) – A survey given to students at an Oregon high school is causing some controversy.

Some parents say it’s an important lesson in race relations,  others say it’s not appropriate educational material for public schools.

The “white privilege” survey is a one-page questionnaire with a provocative title.

“Education is supposed to be provocative. I mean the way we get people to kinda challenge assumptions about the world is to provoke them,” Sociology Professor Randy Blazak said.

When Jason Schmidt’s son, a senior at Aloha High School came home with the survey, he wasn’t happy.

“I feel he should be learning actual education and not be a part of some social experiment or teacher’s political agenda,” Parent Jason Schmidt said.

Professor Blazak says it’s a survey that starts a bigger conversation.

“It’s a great way to open up this conversation and it’s not too soon to discuss this issue.”

Parents like Sarah Rios-Lopez says it’s a discussion she wants her kids to have.

“I want her to have opinions, you know, whether for or against. You have to create those [opinions], but you can’t create those without good information. That’s why I would applaud teachers getting out that information to kids,” Parent Sarah Rios-Lopez said.

Rios-Lopez is an American, but she says because of the color of her skin most people see “Mexican” first.

“We are first of all judged by the color of our skin, that is what people see first,” Rios-Lopez said.

Which is why she says, seniors about to head out in the world should be talking about the realities of race in America.

“It’s a huge topic and it needs to start somewhere, if it doesn’t start now, its not going to start.”

Schmidt sees it differently.

“With the amount of money that we have to pay for schools, they should be educating not indoctrinating our students to the latest political fad or political agenda that a teacher wants to get across,” Schmidt said.

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