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Pleasanton graduates demand a 'race conscious' education

Original post made on Jun 16, 2020

As large demonstrations continue weeks after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Pleasanton students are calling for the introduction of a "race-conscious history curriculum" in local schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 15, 2020, 8:48 PM

Comments (30)

Posted by Shiela
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 5:46 am

I agree with this 100% a shift in the curriculum is very necessary. Incorporating learning about recent issues involving injustices and inequality in America is very relevant because it’s the reality of the world we live in today. African and miniorities deserve to have history included in the curriculum because we also played a big part in building America.

Posted by Hmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:18 am

So these older twenty something high school graduates, if they even graduated, can’t seem to find a summer job, so they are demanding changes for the current students....I don’t think that’s appropriate at all. Current parents in the district are the only adults who should have a say in any curriculum changes for their OWN children. Probably just a bunch of the usual outside agitators putting these easily manipulated twenty somethings up to this.

Posted by Jc
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:28 am

I agree, once students graduate, the twenty somethings have lots of opportunities to take these classes at the Junior college level....Why aren’t they doing it? The Junior college has numerous in depth black history and American race and diverse culture classes. Common core in the elementary and secondary level actually does a good overview of race conscious history that is age appropriate for the grade level.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 16, 2020 at 8:17 am

Teaching "white privilege" in school? Sorry, non starter. 30% of Pleasanton is of Asian decent, the privilege isn't limited to skin color.

I'm all for amending the curriculum to incorporate alternate perspectives on history or add items that weren't previously discussed that should be, but "blame whitey" isn't going to fly.

Posted by urmomz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 9:40 am

In the words of Morgan Freeman, the best way to solve racism is to "stop talking about it." While there is certainly some racism (which is inexcusable), socioeconomic factors are a much better predictor of nearly everything attributed to race. Talk about and solve these issues, then we can tackle the actual racism that is left over.

Posted by Parent of recent HS grad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:37 am

Wow, the disdain expressed here, that "kids" might have an informed perspective on what they learned in school, and dare to request better for the kids coming up behind them, is surprising. What is the world coming to?! I know the kids quoted in the article. Top of the class kids. Employed w/ summer job kids. Kids of various ethnicity. 18 year old, young adult, voters! And, what they are asking for - a better education - somehow offends you. Just a big wow. I'm sure you've heard the old saying, If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. These kids are working to be part of the solution. What are you doing?

Posted by Mr. Julius
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I find it hard go believe there were no classes covering race in four years, especially given that we have Black History Month and most teachers are liberal.

Are uncomfortable facts also addressed? Here's one:

Paul [email protected]_

"Activists demanding a "national conversation" on alleged "systemic racism" in policing don't want to talk about this horrifying statistic:

"A police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer."

Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:32 pm

@Mr. Julius wrote “ Activists demanding a "national conversation" on alleged "systemic racism" in policing don't want to talk about this horrifying statistic:”

Wow. You’re “horrifying statistic” is wacky on several different levels. But let’s start with you answering this question first:

How many times more likely is a police officer to be killed by a white male than an unarmed white male is to be killed by a police officer?

I’m sure that you see the relevance of this question in order to put your “horrifying statistic” into proper context because right now your “horrifying statistic” has no context and no point.

Also, whenever you quote statistics you should always provide a reputable source.

BTW, who is “Paul Sperry”?

Posted by Cosmic-Charlie
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm

From Wikipedia:

"Paul E. Sperry is an American conservative author and political commentator. He was a media fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank."

I have never heard of him, though others, I'm sure have...

Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:20 pm

How could High School students take an American history class that includes 100's of years of slavery, Reconstruction, the rise of the KKK, the Civil Rights movement (and the lynching of activists in the south) and not be "conscious" of this country's history of racism against blacks (and other non-whites).

I'm an old white guy that had Mr. Geib for history at Amador in the 70's and I got the message.

Did they take all these details out of the curriculum?

Good for the students to ask for it if it's not there - but maybe they should ask 2 questions - the first for the Pleasanton / CA schools and one for themselves:
1) If it's not in the curriculum, who took it out and why?

2) If the details are there, how could they not get an awareness of our racist history? And how could they not realize anybody that grew up in Pleasanton, regardless of color, is "privileged"?

Posted by Jan
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:53 pm

This is very sad & pathetic! I think “White Privilege” is an insulting to most Americans. You are judging people by the color of their skin which is racism & I hate using that word but the WP card is just wrong & hateful. For one thing you don’t know how someone has grown up & lived. I, as many in this country never had much & most worked hard for every penny. Nothing was given or handed to me. Judging others is wrong in every way. Most Americans are just trying to make a living. White Privilege is a slogan not reality thought up by people who are unhappy with their life. Try teaching how lucky these kid are to live in the greatest county in this world, not to judge anyone and most of all RESPECT (a word some have forgotten) RESPECT for others and this wonderful place...America.

Posted by jo
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm

snowflakes.. all of them.

I'm not even white and I hate the term "white privilege"

Posted by Speech oppression
a resident of California Reflections
on Jun 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm

PUSD High school teachers already placed racious concious curriculum and extra tutoring in order to motivate under-priviliged students to be engaged. Unfortunately, not much effect prove it works. A positive change for any ethnicity group starts inside-out. People have been blaming external factors outside an ethnicity group and work on external cures for 50 years. Wouldn't it now be a time to review the willingness to change from inside?

"When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. " Said Dr. Thomass Sowell

Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Speech Oppression wrote "PUSD High school teachers already placed racious concious curriculum..."

"Racious"? What's that?

Posted by Anne
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 5:41 pm

Let’s be honest here, systemic racism is real. Almost all of us in Pleasanton are part of the problem. We moved here for best schools. We have the money to do so. These graduates should be the change they want to see and move to Hayward, Oakland, San Leandro and raise their kids in way that helps all of society.

Posted by myth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:25 pm

I disagree in any situation where someone attempts to indicate everyone is racist, everyone who is white has white privilege, etc. This is completely bogus. It sounds so absurd to lump everyone in one bucket, sort of along the lines of all capitalism is bad.

White people do not have some sort of aura that protects them from police brutality, i.e. the Jacob Bauer situation here in Pleasanton (he died, he also could not breath).

If the US is so racist, explain how it elected a black president for two terms? This situation where branding everyone a racist is not at all helpful nor does pushing the Berkeley teachings of Peggy McIntosh down everyone's throat help as well.

If these so-called young people are so anxious to learn about social society, they can sign up for Intro Sociology at LPC, Delta College, DVC, Ohlone, etc. and learn about various theories about society and social institutions all they want. These courses are free to high school students at least at LPC through concurrent enrollment.

White privilege simply is a Berkeley-invented construct that has no basis in reality. Try working in the coal mines of West Virginia and see how much white privilege comes with that. Or try working as a white minimum wage worker in Walmart in middle America and also see how much white privilege comes with that. Or work as a white share cropper in Alabama or work in a fast food restaurant and see how much white privilege comes with that. It doesn't because so called 'white privilege' is a myth.

Posted by Jan
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:27 pm

No Anne I reject your argument. I’m sorry but Pleasanton is not the problem neither is any other city in this country. If you really want to know the truth about what & who is the problem you need to read 2 of Shelby Steele’s books to enlighten yourself. Oh and pass it on to the kids so they may see the truth straight from a great African American man who’s been through it all.

Book 1. Shame by Shelby Steele
Book 2. White Guilt by Shelby Steele

Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 7:07 pm

"White privilege" has been weaponized (by white people) to create the [false] belief that when someone of color talks about "white privilege" it's a snide way of saying white people don't have to, in the words of Donna Summer, "work hard for the money." That whites lead a privileged, easy life where everything is handed to them. I guess you could call the misuse of the term in this way an "alternate perspective", or maybe an "alternative fact".

So, how about instead of buying into the distraction of a phrase that's been corrupted, I offer the following:

The term "white privilege" comes from a paper written by Peggy McIntosh in 1988, titled "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies." She explains "white privilege" "as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious." McIntosh says, in a 2014 interview, "I asked myself, On a daily basis, what do I have that I didn’t earn? It was like a prayer. The first one I thought of was: I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time." McIntosh laid out 45 additional examples of what she saw *in 1988* as actions that just being white afforded her, including:
#5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be followed or harassed by store detectives. [or shot by a wanna be cop on my way home]
#7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
#23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider. [or being told to "go back" to where you came from]
#25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race. [and probably won't be dead at the end of the encounter]
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have. [Pretty sure I won't be told to "just shut up and dribble"]
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect [and make it clear they feel] that I got it because of my race.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

Unfortunately, thirty two years later Peggy McIntosh's paper remains current and relevant.

If you're interested in reading the paper:
Web Link

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 16, 2020 at 7:24 pm

I have never herd the term "White Privilege" until recently.

A term I have heard over the previous fifty years or so is, "White Trash".

Is that prior, older term "White Trash" now the term "White Privilege"?

Posted by myth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Michael, the word "white privilege" implies that every white person has some sort of privilege where regardless of socioeconomic status, each and every white person has some sort of supremacy over others. Sometimes it is called "white supremacy."

It is also used to mean that whites do not have to work hard to earn a living. In other words, just being white alone guarantees a great job, a great education, etc. and that they are able to go through life with little to no adversity just because of their pale skin color.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm


Thank you for that definition for "White Privilege".

Would you kindly define the term "White Trash"?

Posted by Recent Amador Grad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 9:21 pm

Nowhere in the petition are the accomplished students asking for the curriculum to address white privilege nor its impacts on current social relations. What the petition is asking is for the curriculum to include important history that has had major impacts on current American race relations and politics such as redlining, the model minority myth and the 1994 crime bill to name a few. Isn't the point of history class to teach students about American history? How is teaching true American history and policies a "liberal agenda." The commenters writing off this petition as Liberal Bullshit or even discussing white privilege didn't do their research on what the petition is hoping to achieve for and should be embarrassed.

Posted by buklau
a resident of Avila
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:28 am

Will this new curriculum explain how asian immigrants came here without speaking english and are well off?
Will it explain what minority group commits 52% of all murders?
Will the class speak about how folks are much more racist in asia/india/middle than USA?

Posted by buklau
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:30 am

Do NOT apologize for something you didn't do.
Do NOT apologize for being well off (yes, consider giving to charity).
And never act like a victim; even if you can, don't, because it will do you no good.

Posted by Wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:17 am

Systemic racism. Yes it does exist. Its called affirmative action and its practiced primaerily against white men
Will they teach that fact. The practice of diversity is racist will they teach that fact . You cannot obtain diversity without practicing racism. Fact. Will they be teaching the democratic party is the founder of the dixie crats and then the kkk. Do any of these students or their teachers know who the dixie crats are?
Which party opposed the civel right bill and which supported it. I am willing to bet the highly intelliget studunts do not know any of this. I had gieb in the seventies for history as well. Yea we were taught about slavery and racism. We were taught the first slave owner in america was a black man. Do these students know that fact. I wish i woukd have ran over him with brabbins truck that day but sadly i missed

Posted by mariposita
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:25 am

I wanted to come down to the comments and laud the PUSD alumni who cared enough to take the time to provide their input at the Board meeting. They make me so proud and hopeful because they're using their education and understanding of the educational system to speak out and bring awareness to the need for change. Way to go, PUSD grads! Keep doing this good work. Keep speaking up and contributing to positive change!

As I scrolled through the existing comments to get here, though, I was so ashamed of what I read: claims that these kids are "outside agitators," or "twenty-somethings who can't find jobs," who should go somewhere else now that they've graduated, or direct their energies towards other communities, and all the other fight-picking, trollish put-downs and weak rhetorical arguments that do nothing to positively contribute or address the valid points these young people have brought to the school board's (and our) attention. All these smug, back-patting statements about how wrong these thoughtful, caring students are (students who probably arrived at their excellent universities realizing they had gaps in their American history education and resolved to appeal to the education system to address them-- the way they learned to in Civics class), the introduction of irrelevant statistics and intentinally inflammatory language really only show how so many community members here who think they're deep thinkers are really nothing more than mean-spirited trolls who jump at any opportunity to feed and spread their ridiculous conspiracy theories and reveal the depths of their ugly willful ignorance. Your attitudes are becoming relics of a bygone era and don't reflect the sentiments of your community at large. I'm bummed that this is how it is now, but glad the future is in the hands of these young adults and those who will come after them, and that they care enough to say what they did. I'll be glad when their voices drown out your petty ugliness.

Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:26 am

mariposita, Well said! I too will be glad when we get to a time when "white privilege" as defined by Peggy McIntosh, and very much in evidence on this thread, is no longer tolerated.

These young adults are fulfilling both the PUSD Mission statement, "Our students will make a better world" and the Vision, "Every student will be a resourceful, resilient, responsible and engaged world citizen."

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm

I agree we should support the students desire to contribute back and be part of the educational curriculum based on their experience and what they see is lacking - this is a good thing!
I also read very valid points around concerns with what that content will be; those must be considered in this. My personal opinion is we shouldn't hide or sugar coat history, but we also shouldn't change it with today's narrative.
I think the criticism of the students ability to have been exposed to enough life experiences to inform a meaningful curriculum adjustment is valid, but their call for more information, perspective, or discussion around those events is very welcome.

Posted by Mr. Julius
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:05 am

Dear Wombat, first, if systemic racism is such an issue, how have Ethiopian-Americans thrived? And Chinese-, Japanese-, and Jewish-Americans?

Indeed, African Americans who marry share very similar economic results as their European-American counterparts.

Mr / Ms Wombat, here are some other uncomfortable statistics for you: depending upon thd violeng crime category, African Americans commit between 35% and 65% of the offenses. (I believe they commit 65% of the armed robberies.) I started off with positive black role models like Ethiopians, to put the theory of systemic racism in perspective.

Posted by Mr. Julius
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:16 am

Dear myth, can you please tell me where these easy jobs are that white supremacists hold where they make lots of money & don't work hard? I'd like one.

The only one I can think of are government jobs, where it is tough to get fired, automatic raises, and it seems like officials who screw up get promoted.

My friends who are independent business people uniformly work 6 days a week, often 7. They ocassionally go without pay while workers are paid, and earn overtime. They also ocassionally risk everything, sometimes using a home or 401K to keep a business alive in lean times.

BTW, do the thousands of small business people - many who couldn't afford expensive riot insurance - do they also have so-called white privilege when they lost tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, during the riots?

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