The College Fix
November 21, 2013
Did you know that eating or even talking about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be considered racist?
Apparently, it’s because people in some cultures don’t eat sandwich bread. Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland explained in and interview with the Portland Tribune:
“Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year,” the Tribune said.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez asked. “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.”
…The Tribune noted that the school started the new year with “intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives,” to help educators understand their own “white privilege,” in order to “change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.””Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the ‘white privilege’ it conveys,” the Tribune added.
Gutierrez completed a week-long seminar 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 systematic racism.
“Our focus school and our Superintendent’s mandate that we improve education for students of color, particularly Black and Brown boys, will provide us with many opportunities to use the protocols of Courageous Conversations in data teams, team meetings, staff meetings, and conversations amongst one another,” she said in a letter to staff.
You can read more about principal Gutierrez’s sandwich-sensitivity philosophy here.