Should children be taught about white privilege in school?
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Should children be taught about white privilege in school?

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Starbucks closed over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training, but some argue we should start teaching people about white privilege at a younger age. A Canadian school district came under fire over its anti-racist 'Got Privilege?' campaign, which some felt unfairly shamed white people. But the school district's superintendent defended the campaign, stating "We are trying to acknowledge that racism does exist and that some people... are disadvantaged." Should white privilege be taught in schools? 🤔

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After a Starbucks employee called the police on two black men who were sitting in the coffee shop, Starbucks announced it would close more than 8,000 of its U.S. stores "to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores."

 “I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

Some have mocked Starbucks' decision. One day of "anti-racism training" isn't going to solve racism in America. Additionally, it isn't clear that anti-bias training actually works.

On Tuesday, Starbucks will close some 8,000 of its stores for three hours to give employees in-house training on racism–and in particular, on “unconscious bias,” implicit bias supposedly lurking in the unknown recesses of the mind. Now, never mind that implicit bias assessment is deeply flawed scientifically; never mind that no significant link has been shown between such supposed unconscious bias and real-world racist action. 

But others feel we should go even further in educating individuals about racism and implicit bias by starting at a younger age.

Earlier this year, a Canadian school district came under fire after launching a 'Got Privilege?' anti-racist campaign meant to educate kids about white privilege. Some parents felt the campaign unfairly shamed white students and reinforced prejudices rather than alleviate them. The school district's superintendent defended the campaign, arguing it is important that schools help educate communities about the realities of race and privilege.

The posters feature phrases such as "Got privilege?" and "If you don't have to think about it, it's a privilege." They feature quotes from district administrators on their experiences with privilege and racism.
"We are trying to acknowledge that racism does exist and that some people, as a result of racism, are disadvantaged," said Teresa Downs, superintendent for School District 74.

While some applauded the 'Got Privilege?' campaign, others felt it was too simplistic and overlooked other marginalized groups who lack privilege. Race alone does not determine one's privilege.

Many argue "white privilege training" just further divides people along racial lines.

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