When White Privilege Rears Its Ugly Head

Last week, I had the privilege to attend and present at the 2017 ADE Reading Conference. When I arrived to pick up my name tag, it did not exist. I was told that I was a presenter, but was not registered for the conference. Since they were scanning the name tags for attendance details at each keynote and breakout session, I was constantly aware that I was missing my name tag. Each session, I slid past the ADE staff scanning the name tags. I felt guilty, yet I had was doing exactly what I was advised to do. I was never questioned. Why? My white privilege. Teachers are largely white and female. I looked like I belonged. No questions asked.

Why is this a problem? I focused on a name tag that I didn’t even need. My Turkish friends also have name tags. Due to their religious affiliations, they are labeled by the current Turkish regime as terrorists. I am not claiming to know the truth about Turkish affairs. I can merely state what I know. I’ve witnessed my friends emotional devastation as they speak with their families or relate their experiences. Their friends and families in Turkey have lost their positions and have been arrested and have court dates for crimes against the country. Living in the US, my friends are unable to blend into crowds. Many of the wives are nervous about their personal safety. They are marked by their clothing choices, primarily their scarves. So why don’t they simply go home? They are unable to return home as they would be arrested and put in prison. They cannot return home for funerals, weddings, or births.

Again, why is this a problem? One of the first things President Erdogan did was to shut down and gain control of all media in the country. He also fired the majority of the judges, school teachers, and other educated positions. While I am not a conspiracy theorist, I can certainly see similar actions mirrored by President Trump’s administration. Similar things are taking place in America. Judges have been fired risking current investigations and the media is being corralled and access limited. The new Secretary of Education has no personal experience with public education. Even more frightening is that our former National Security Advisor was a foreign agent for Turkey and was in dialogue with Russia. Retired Lt. General Flynn, a supposed patriot, was flying the flag for another country. Have we no shame? How is America getting greater when shameful things are routinely happening?

White privilege allows so many atrocious things to happen. These are white people causing ruin to our country’s reputation. When will it stop? Resist.

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