“Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.”
Are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches racist? A bizarre question, to say the least, but one that at least one school administrator is asking out in Portland, Oregon. Verenice Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, seems to believe that there are racial connotations associated with the common lunch-time meal.
According to Gutierrez, using the example of a peanut butter sandwich in classroom lessons is technically a problematic and discriminatory move — one that was made by a teacher in her building last school year. While such a notion may bring out laughs among those who find it absurd, the principal explains her logic.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?,” she said. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”
Somehow, by mentioning a food that the majority culture regularly eats without also discussing other meal options, the teacher was purportedly violating discrimination standards. So, to combat any additional PB&J-related offenses, the principal is treading carefully. And she’s not alone.