Peanut Butter Bigots!

Wow! Just when you think liberals can’t get any nuttier they hand you an entire shovelful. Believe it or not, food is now racist. That’s right, in Portland, Oregon (one of those West Coast bastions of “progressive” thinking), the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich, staple of American school lunches for decades, is the latest victim of political correctness gone nuts.

Grade school guts

The story first appeared in the Portland Tribune in regard to a program instituted by the principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School at the beginning of the 2012 school year, but which is just now gaining infamy on the Internet. As part of a week-long seminar titled, “Coaching for Educational Equity,” staff were instructed to “examine a news article and discuss the ‘white privilege’ it conveys,” in a format labeled “Courageous Conversation.” One teacher’s choice: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Apparently picking on a defenseless sandwich and accusing it of racism passes for courage at Harvey Scott School.)

In an interview with the Tribune, Principal Verenice Gutierrez-Sense any victimhood here? – attempted to explain this wacky approach to brainwashing, er, teaching this way: “What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez asked. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.” So, if I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I’m guilty of racial discrimination against ethnic food like tortas and pitas? Am I to eat only red or black beans, brown-shelled eggs, brown bread, yellow corn, etc, instead of their white counterparts in order to prove I’m not a racist?

peanut butter jelly sandwich
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, made with Skippy peanut butter and Welch’s grape jelly on white bread.

PB&J is a privilege?

When I was a kid PB&J was a practical lunch food source, as was tuna fish, a kind of beige (semi-racist?) sandwich filling. Think of these as the middle class alternative to the upper crust luncheon of pate de foie gras or caviar on toast points. Wait a minute! Peanut butter is brown, isn’t it? So what’s the big deal? I’ve even had it on whole wheat bread. If I were to use white bread Gutierrez would probably still consider me a racist. Or is half a loaf better than none? And what about brown-bagging? Does that count? Frankly, I think Ms. Gutierrez suffers from a bad case of peanuts envy.

The object of “Coaching for Educational Equity,” according to Gutierrez, is to “help educators understand their own ‘white privilege’ in order to change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.” Translation: Dumb down instruction even more to enhance the sensitive self esteem of children of “color,” while at the same time instilling unwarranted “white guilt” – all at the expense of real education for everyone.

Flunking the course

In a letter to her staff Gutierrez wrote, “Our focus school and our Superintendent’s mandate that we improve education for students of color, particularly Black and Brown boys, will provide us with many opportunities to use the protocols of Courageous Conversations in data teams, team meetings, staff meetings, and conversations amongst one another.”

The “Coaching for Educational Equity,” program, according to the Tribune, focuses “on race and how it affects life.” Gutierrez, the newspaper notes, also serves on an administrative committee that focuses on systematic racism.

When it comes to systematic racism, either Gutierrez, the Tribune, or both, could use a lesson in proper English usage themselves. Notice the adjectival capitalization of Black and Brown boys (colors, unlike Chinese, Italian, Jewish, etc., are not proper racial designations); the word “white” here, on the other hand, is rendered in lower case letters. Kind of puts a lot of us in our place, doesn’t it? Political correctness isn’t for just anyone, apparently.

Racism is not the Fourth “R”

In answer to this liberal nonsense, I have this to offer: Racism – subtle, overt, and even deadly – has and always will exist in this world, human nature being what it is. The racism manifested in this country for so many years had been largely alleviated by the end of the twentieth century. The sins of the past truly were overcome by decent, right-minded people throughout this nation. It’s only because the Left continues to stir up the melting pot with bogus race victimhood incidents and stupid antics such as “sandwich-sensitivity” awareness that people (again, being human) have focused on the wrong issues and let themselves be duped into believing that we’re still living in the nineteenth century.

Good company

If you think I’m alone in my disdain for the Gutierrez claptrap, check out the comments at www.thecollegefix.com or www.examiner.com. To wit:

Kathy Cagle Barber – This is what happens when ignorance meets incompetence.

Adam Marthaler – . . . I don’t care how liberal you are, no one could be THIS stupid.

Randi Reiter – What does this say about the IQ of these teachers? Sure would not want them teaching my kids.

Steve Futrell – After extensive consideration and discussion of whether peanut butter, jelly, and bread are racist, alone or in combination, did the Oregon school set aside any class time to talk about reading, social studies, penmanship, mathematics, etc. [Not likely, Steve.]

By the way, Portland’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird.” Guess that’s it in a nutshell.

Teachers Keep Portland Weird – and do a fine job of it

Sandra Scott is a former radio and television news reporter and late-blooming writer.