Check Your Privilege, Rich White Leftist Girl*

Campus Reform/Marshall University dorm poster
Campus Reform/Marshall University dorm poster

New Trier High School student Celia Buckman has written a passionate defense of her school’s mandatory day of “racial identity” education on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In her blog at the Huffington Post, Buckman responds to concerned local parents and the “haters” at Breitbart, admitting that while the seminars “may not be perfect,” her predominantly white school needs to be forced to feel a politically appropriate sense of racial guilt.

It would apparently be foolish to respond to Ms. Buckman with the facts about racial inequality in America, and its perpetuation by the very left-wing policies she appears to support. This is, after all, a person who believes there is another side to the facts of the Michael Brown case even after the Department of Justice debunked the “hands up, don’t shoot” myth.

So let us use language she will understand: Ms. Buckman, you need to check your privilege.

1. You have more power than your peers–and you are abusing it. Though you know your views represent one side of a complex debate, you are happy to use the power of the school board and administration to force those views onto your fellow students. You do not care that this North Korea-style day of re-education is explicitly against district policies. From your perch at the Huffington Post, you smear sincere critics, falsely, as “haters.” That’s abuse.

2. Your solution to racial equality is standard elitist self-congratulation. Rather than address racial equality by, for example, organizing a day of community service, your school is staging an elaborate ritual of guilt, and you are congratulating yourself for it. You are doing nothing real for the victims of inequality. You are just reinforcing your well-developed sense of moral superiority without actually challenging yourself–a classic elitist posture.

3. You are judging your peers by their race and not their character. You are certain that fellow students need to be re-educated because they are white and because their teachers are white. Nonsense. You don’t know what they feel, or how they would observe the day. Dr. King dreamed of a future where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” You are living, and imposing, the opposite of that dream.

What you’re doing is not creating racial justice, but creating a new hierarchy where you, the Social Justice Warrior, lord over your peers, whom you declare to be less enlightened on matters of race relations.

I have a suggestion for next year: partner with a school in inner-city Chicago and do some kind of public service together. That would do more to build new relationships and address inequality than the elitist, racist farce New Trier is staging this year.

*Don’t like the headline? Unfair? Judging by labels–as you do here–tends to backfire, and leads to dead ends.

Note: typo corrected, paragraph 3.


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