Portland, OR - Elementary school principal Verenice Gutierrez suggested that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches might be racist and culturally offensive during an interview with the Portland Tribune. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. We now live in a world that is so politically correct, that what we eat for lunch might offend others dining at the same table. The Harvey Scott K-8 administrator was discussing the district’s equity training program which was created to lessen the achievement gap, when comparing the popular lunchbox staple to potential racism.
The Oregon principal “picks up on the subtle language of racism” every day, and used the seemingly innocent looking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to illustrate her point, according to Fox News.
Verenice Gutierrez had this to say about the allegedly offensive bread spread:
“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. What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?”
The district’s equity program is entitled, “Courageous Conversation” and it is designed to take educators on a journey through an intense course so they can understand their own white privilege, according to the Portland Tribune.
Portland Public School Communication Director Robb Cowie had this to say about the training program:
“What we’re trying to do in our school district is to ensure that we have instruction that meaningful and relevant to every student in the classroom.”
In some cases, offering meaningful experiences which appeal to the entire student body means setting up programs strictly for students of color. The Portland Tribune notes that the school offers a drum corps set up for Latino and African-American boys. At least one parent complained that the drum corps discriminated against females, whites, Asians, and Native Americans.
Principal Gutierrez defended the restricted membership drum corps stating, “When white people do it, it is not a problem. But if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem? Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”