Peter Beck was just hired by the Fresno Unified School District in California to be a cultural studies teacher at a new middle school set to open in a few weeks. He apparently has a decade of cultural studies teaching experience, including African-American, Chicano, and Southeast Asian studies.
Oh yeah, and he’s white. This poses a problem according to local black leaders and other members of the community who are protesting his hiring. How can a white male adequately teach students about Black, Latino, or Asian culture? Who cares how much experience he has. He’s got the wrong skin color. According to The Fresno Bee:
At an early morning news conference Monday, a small group of concerned citizens led by Rev. Karen Crozier met in front of the school on Church Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
People at the gathering said the new school, which is the first southwest Fresno middle school in decades, needs teachers who reflect the ethnic and racial background of its students.
Crozier and others were dismayed to learn the person hired to teach the school’s three cultural studies classes is white. District officials initially considered hiring a teacher of color, she said, but ultimately hired Peter Beck, a former teacher at Hoover High School.
“We’re just saying what the community wants. We didn’t fight for a white male or female teacher to educate our babies,” Crozier said. “We still are at these racial fault lines, and we want someone who will be able to think critically about those racial fault lines and how do we help heal, to restore the problems that have existed.”
Isn’t it ironic how minorities are frequently talking about how they’ve been victims all throughout history; about how people looked down upon them because of the color of their skin; about how others viewed themselves as superior to them because of the color of their skin. And here they are trying to bar a guy – who’s obviously passionate about the subject – from teaching it, because of the color of his skin. They claim they want a color-blind society and equality for all, but all they’re doing is perpetuating the very thing they claim they abhor.