Letters to the Editor

Student may be right about perspectives course

I read the article about the Kennedy teacher whose assignment generated controversy (“Why a right-leaning website targeted a Cedar Rapids high school class,” Sept. 14) and, based on what I saw of it on the internet, concerns might be justified.

The assignment was similar to a “white privilege” packet a University of Iowa employee gave to my modern political issues class years ago when she came to explain why affirmative action was necessary. “White privilege” is one of liberals’ explanations for why whites perform better than certain minority groups on college entrance exams. The reasoning is the “privileges” extended to whites in our “racist” society makes victims of nonwhites. These victims are compensated by policies such as affirmative action. This opinion is not held by many intelligent and decent people, such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and as long as the teacher makes that clear, I see nothing wrong with her assignment. Absent that balance, it appears the student is correct and the teacher is more interested in indoctrinating white guilt than in developing critical thinking skills.

To the student I say I am impressed by your intelligence in recognizing an assignment which has an ideological slant. I recommend you read the black academic Thomas Sowell’s trenchant criticisms of the “white privilege” concept and politely ask your teacher to allow you to share Sowell’s views with the class. After all, the most important diversity is that of thought, and a wise teacher encourages that in her classroom.

Kurt Maas

Coggon

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