Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Our new Division Director is a Black woman whose first act was to order an all-day, all-staff training on racism. The class starts with slavery, proceeds through Jim Crow, and ends with White Privilege.
I tried to weasel out of going to the class on the grounds that I’m too busy providing service to our actual customers to spent a day sitting in a conference room listening to the same spiel I’ve heard for the last decade, but no luck. I would have loved to ask a few questions. I didn’t, of course, because asking questions is asking for trouble; but if I could have done so safely, I’d have asked:
Americans historically were gung-ho on efficiency and innovation. Going all the way to Africa to capture and ship human cargo only to toss half of them overboard (thereby altering the migration habits of sharks) seems like a lot of work and wasteful besides. Why did Americans invent slavery?
If American’s didn’t invent slavery, who did? How long was it around before we adopted the practice? When was the last slave in the world freed?
If slavery was part of the universal human condition since time immemorial until we stopped it a century ago, and if slavery only occurs today in places where America has not exercised its power to stamp it out, then why are we spending all day talking about it?
Formal slavery ended in America 150 years ago. Jim Crow – when and where it existed – ended 50 years ago. Minnesota never had either one. Why are we, as Minnesotans, spending all day talking about it?
White Privilege occurs because of White families working and sacrificing so their children would live in a better society. Granted, the children didn’t do anything to deserve that society – they didn’t build that – but why is it wrong for parents to work and sacrifice for their children? What values should we – as employees of the local government – be encouraging local families to adopt instead?
If only I didn’t need my job . . . .
What’s the word for the thing that comes after education has turned into indoctrination, and then into browbeating, and then…
What’s that word?