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Arkansas ‘Governor’s School’ May Teach Students Lesson On ‘White Privilege’
Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Hutchinson discussed what Arkansas is doing to brace for more severe flooding in the state.
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Arkansas state legislature and Department of Education funded a residential program for gifted high school seniors that may teach accepted students about their “white privilege.” 

The 42nd annual Arkansas Governor’s School, a “four-week summer residential program,” plans to teach students about their “white privilege” in a session on “Personal and Social Development” during the week of July 12.  According to Arkansas Tech University, the Arkansas legislature and education department provide “tuition, room, board, and instructional materials for each [accepted] student.”

Upcoming programming includes an article from Peggy McIntosh, an associate director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, that explains how students can unpack their “white privilege.” In the curriculum, the women’s researcher explains that white privilege is akin to male privilege, which the director believes must be “lessened.” 

“I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged,” McIntosh wrote. “They may say they will work on women’s [status], in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s.” 

“Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended,” the director continued. “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.”

McIntosh continued to claim that “white privilege” is “an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious.”

The curriculum includes McIntosh’s 50 “daily effects of white privilege” that insinuate that black people are unable to buy homes in desirable neighborhoods, find mentors, or find academics. 

Examples include: 

  • “If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.” 
  • “I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.”
  • “I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.”
  • “I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my color.”

McIntosh concluded that “white advantage” is “strongly inculturated” in the United States, while also dubbing meritocracy and equality of democracy a “myth.” 

“It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all,” McIntosh concluded. 

A spokesperson for Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford told The Daily Wire that they are under the impression that the McIntosh reading has been “pulled and will not be used.” However, the assignment was still on the agenda as of 11:21 a.m. on Friday with a “clarification” note.

According to the clarification note, faculty members are not required to cover the McIntosh “white privilege” reading, though they are free to include it. The note claims that the article is meant to prompt discussion, “even empathizing with person[s] taking opposing positions,” presumably to the existence of white privilege. 

Arkansas GOP Rep. Bruce Westerman told The Daily Wire that he is calling on the Arkansas Governor’s School to “immediately end the use of these racist materials.” 

“The fact that the proliferation of these putrid, anti-American ideals are slated to be taught to our state’s future leaders through the funding of our tax dollars is shameful,” Rep. Westerman said. “As Americans, and as members of the human race, we must reject these misguided teachings that seek to create divisions based upon no criteria other than gender, social status, or skin color.” 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson — who refused to sign legislation outlawing critical race theory in schools — denies that the Governor’s School is teaching lessons about white privilege. 

“This is incorrect,” Hutchinson told The Daily Wire. “Arkansas Governor’s school is not providing white privilege training and I would never approve such training.”

This article has been updated to include comments from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

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