Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Never Thought I'd Want to High-Five a Teacher For Yelling at a Student, and I Was Right

So there's a video that's in the process of going viral right now and I'd like to say a word or two about it. I found it on Upworthy, which is pretty much the most prominent launchpad for liberal viral media. Here's the link to the post on Upworthy: http://www.upworthy.com/i-never-thought-id-want-to-high-five-a-teacher-for-yelling-at-a-student-but-i-was-wrong?c=ufb1

And here's the video itself:



SHAME IS NOT A TEACHING TOOL. SHAME IS NOT A TEACHING TOOL. SHAME IS NOT A TEACHING TOOL. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. This made me sick to my stomach. For starters, did it ever occur to this woman that women (particularly women who don't look the way women are "supposed" to look--e.g. with an outward appearance that gives off some impression of queerness) are at least comparably open and vulnerable to oppression and persecution as are people of color? "You can change your hair" is a piss poor argument against people who are outwardly expressing the way they feel inside through their appearance. I get that people of color can't change their appearance but telling someone they have the "privilege" of being what society wants them to be instead of what they want to be in order to avoid persecution--um, yeah, that's still persecution. And OH, BY THE WAY, women CAN'T change their VERY VISIBLE appearance of being a woman any more than people of color can change theirs.

I don't know why this teacher felt the need to teach persecution and oppression by persecuting and oppressing and bullying her students and making them feel ashamed of their privilege but she's doing more harm than good. You can force people to acknowledge their privilege without rubbing their noses in it and alienating them. When this girl started to cry, she was feeling completely legitimate pain (wasn't that the whole point of the exercise?) but the teacher completely delegitimizes her pain with the horribly callous statement: "Martin Luther King was shot. Are you in any physical danger here?" Was she TRYING to get the kid to leave so that she could make some sanctimonious point about how she "chose" to leave? And why does she have to apologize for the way she reacted when the way she reacted is THE WHOLE POINT? You can say she "chose" to leave all you want, but you're the one who LITERALLY SENT HER OUT OF THE ROOM for not apologizing. You may think you're teaching people to understand racism and privilege but you're also teaching them victim-blaming. You're teaching them to make their point at all costs, even at the expense of others. You're teaching them that their pain and suffering has no value when compared to someone who has it worse. What the hell kind of lesson is that to teach our children?