Schools Beat the Drum for Equity

Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune, September 5, 2012

Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.

Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

“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.”

Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.

Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation—to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.

Most of the staff are on board, but there is some opposition to a drum class being offered to middle school boys of color at Scott School.

Fifty percent of the students at Scott are Hispanic; another 15 percent are black and 9 percent are Asian. Eighty-five percent are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at Vernon and Faubion schools in Northeast Portland, approached Gutierrez last year to start up a lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys once a week. This year, it’ll expand to two classes a week, to accommodate new boys as well as those with experience.

At least one parent has a problem with the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”


Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.

“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

Like many if not all of PPS’ leaders, Gutierrez has gone through California-based consultant Glenn Singleton’s “Coaching for Educational Equity,” a weeklong seminar on race and how it affects life; she’s also become an “affiliate,” certified to teach the equity curriculum; and she serves on the district’s administrative committee to address systematic racism, a group that meets every other week.


Despite that year of work [at improving student achievement], Oregon’s Department of Education just last month identified Scott as a “focus school,” one that performs among the state’s lowest 15 percent.


“This isn’t for the weak,” [Gutierrez] says. “We have less resources. We can’t impact that. I want to walk away from Scott when my tenure is done and be able to say that school is achieving just as well as Alameda or Sabin, or any other school in the city. Why not?”

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  • As always the lesson here is that Peanut Butter sandwiches are racist.  Interesting then that the “Native American” Aztecs (from which Ms. Gutierrez descends, no doubt) had a form of peanut butter hundreds of years ago!  So I guess this little Mexican, Gutierrez, needs to take some more sensitivity training.

    • MekongDelta69

      Well of COURSE they are! Isn’t that the first thing you see when you see one on a diner menu or in your kitchen?!

      Last week – it was the entire English language. Today, it’s anything you eat. Tomorrow, it’ll be the water you drink and the air you breathe.

      And when you’re dead and have no more ‘white privilege,’ it’ll be the earth you’re buried under.

      All these people belong in Creedmore.

  • JackKrak

    Get with it, people – the primary mission of any school is to combat racism. Naturally, week-long seminars “on race and how it affects life” are a key component of this battle. Next, schools should educate their staff – their white staff, anyway – on “white privilege” and how it manifests itself in critical aspects of education, like sandwiches. I think it’s obvious that the daughter of Mexican immigrants is ideal for this challenge and will certainly take on the task with no agenda whatsoever. And by the way, let’s make sure she has the flexibility in her schedule to accomodate her twice-monthly meetings to discuss “systematic racism” – we don’t want the duties & responsibilities of a school principal to interfere with that!

    Funny how “teaching” is never mentioned among the many things schools are supposed to do these days.

    • MekongDelta69

      C’mon man. Get with it. This is the brave new world. The progressive, diverse and tolerant 21st Century.

      Actual ‘teaching’ is so 1950.

  • CoweringCoward

    White kids might open a lemonaid stand, whereas Somali or African kids would sell crack, it’s just different cultures and it’s what makes us so strong and vibrant.

    • Ed_NY

      The Somali and African kids would hold up the lemonade stand and rob, beat and kill the White kids.

      • 1Forced_Registration

        The Somali kids would not only rob them, but hold them for ransom!  On the other hand, Liberian kids would get naked (as this confers invulnerability to bullets), assault the lemonade stand with AK-47’s, rape the females, and eat the hearts of the proprietors of the lemonade stand. Its all culturally relative, and to criticize cannibalism is just insensitive, and reflection of your white privilege to grow up in a society that doesn’t appreciate the virtues of cannibalism, armed robbery, and rape as essential elements to tribal bonding, and cultural identity. If you can’t understand that, you certainly can’t understand why a PBJ is racist.

        I found this ladies defense of her separate drumming class to be particularly incredulous. Every time I read about a group of white kids who naively try to start a club that caters to whites only, they are labeled as racists, and the group is almost always denied on some ground or another. Facebook’s reaction to a white student association at one college was particularly telling as to the real state of affairs.

        I think we need to take a page from the SPLC and realize that we are playing with a deck that is stacked against us at nearly ever level, but the law itself is pretty clear. We need to go form an organization of attorneys who will raise hell to deplete the resources of those that deny us any type of equal foundation. We don’t want individuals bringing suits who might be willing to compromise, we want unreasonable, and punitive judgements even if it means these fights take considerably longer, drag into multiple appeals, and make mountains of smaller issues.

        They might not fear public opinion, but I guarantee you schools & other public institutions will start to fear big dollar judgements if we get a group of attorneys who are hardcore enough to press the issue relentlessly, and never settle.


        • Ed_NY

          And the Rawandan kids would sever the arms of any survivors.  I guess that’s African justice.

    • foundingstockcracker

      I remember something about Africans selling snacks along the road side, “rats-on-a-stick”. If you’re not smackin’ yo lips, you be racist.  

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    So let me understand this…we have the white privilege to eat peanut butter sandwiches?

     she serves on the district’s administrative committee to address systematic racism 

    So has she identified any “systematic racists” yet?

    • Dean_Wormers_Hot_Wife

      Any White person who has a job or enough money is evidence of systemic racism.

  • Biff_Maliboo

    Ms. Gutierrez has far too much free time. Send her to Chicago as a strike-breaker.

  • MekongDelta69

    I’d gladly add a ‘meaningful’ comment here, but I have to go downstairs and eat as many PB&J sandwiches I can consume before I’m overcome with ‘racism.’

    • ncpride

      I would also add something ‘meaningful’ but this womans remarks are too stupid to comment on. At least on the orginal articles of this one and the CNN one, YT is getting angrier by the second. So, let them go ahead and ‘pretend’ not to gloat, and pushing nonsense like this. Yep. Go right ahead.

  • Ulick

    “Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

    Gutierrez’s nonsensical belief that American schools are teaming with “whites only” clubs is further proof that it’s not worth trying to use reason with minorities and delusional whites.  They either see life through their racial lens — which supports the conclusion that different races sharing a society will always lead to conflict; or they’re dishonest and delusional in their viewpoint because they always assume the white man is up to no good — which also supports that different races in large numbers can’t peacefully co-exist in a society.  Anyway you cut it, Gutierrez’s statement doesn’t make me feel guilty about so-called white privilege.  His incorrect statement reffirms my belief that this will have to come to a head.

    • I agree. There is no reasoning with these insane, diversity zealots, who see racism at
      every turn. It will have to come to a head.

  • NorthernWind

    This article is a great example of why diversity is so wonderful and a great strength!

  • This_Name_Doesnt_Exist

    Verenice Gutierrez would do well to keep in mind that without the property taxes paid by white Oregonians, she’d be picking lettuce.

    She should also find a week-long seminar on how to get more education into your educational institution, because even given the cognitive abilities of the cohort of students in that school, 15 percent is still too low.

  • Damn…now they are seeing racism in peanut butter sandwiches! Of course it’s a mexican anchor baby who get her feelings hurt. This mexican invasion is a disaster on all accounts.

    • Dean_Wormers_Hot_Wife

      Shouldn’t we arrest her parents for criminal trespassing and environmental damage through the toxic biohazard called “littering the USA with illegal Diversity anchor babies”?

      • I would settle for arrest and deportation, along with our 14th Amendment being properly interpreted,  so as to end the anchor baby swindle.

        • Dean_Wormers_Hot_Wife

          Anchor babies are a compounding problem that is destroying America. They get to vote, they have lots of kids who vote, and they will out vote us. The GOP is dead in 2016. Look for calls to confiscate money from Whites to compensate illegals for “hurt feelings”.

  • Dean_Wormers_Hot_Wife

    “That’s your White privilege” means “you are a Ku Klux Nazi hate criminal and we must ‘fix’ you.”

    White Humanity is about four years away from universally realizing that Whiteness and the God given privilege that is supposed to go along with it is now a CRIMINALIZED RACIAL AND SOCIAL CONSTRUCT.

    Transcend Diversity, Embrace Whiteness, Beware and Prepare, because you really do know what’s coming next, you see it in your nightmares, and on the worried look on your daughter’s face, and you are extremely right…

  • Biff_Maliboo
    • Looks as if she has eaten her fill of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well. On the
      other hand, that’s a symbol of “White privilege,” to be avoided at all costs by the La Raza bigots!

    • Looks like she’s been eating some white privilege herself.

  • IKantunderstand

    Actually, you are ABLE to say anything you want. Including: “Scott is doing the best of any  school in the whole entire world. See how easy that was, Ms.  whatever. Now, let’s have a discussion of “can” and ” may”.

  • Detroit_WASP

    ““This isn’t for the weak,” [Gutierrez] says. “We have less resources. ”

    I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT.  I’m not going to research it, but anyone can set up a free account on and see what their funding is compared to other districts in the area.  

    Detroit spends about 15% MORE on black students than the surrounding white burbs…..and yet Detroit still lags FAR behind.   This is likely the same situation with Gutierrez……I would bet money that he’s lying.

  • Easyrhino1

    Clearly Verenice Gutierrez is suffering from some undiagnosed mental illness

  • For their own well-being, we should have no contact with non-whites.

  • extragirl666

    Yes I can feel their pain I mean what is more american than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or spaghetti and meatballs.

  • >>Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day

    What the article should say is  “Verenice Gutierres pretends to see “racism” hiding behind every rock every day”

  • Defiant White

    Sounds to me like they’re being trained in the language of Total BS.

    Whatever happened to:  This is my culture . . .  My culture is my home . . .   You’re just a guest . . .  If you don’t like the way things are in my home, get the eff out and don’t come back?

    Oh.  Yeah, I forgot.  That would take moral courage and moral courage is a white virtue . . . and therefore, obviously racist.

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    We had that at my school. It was called the “Martin Luther King Jr. Society”. They would get up in the middle of class and walk out to go to their MLK meetings. I have no idea what they did at their meetings, I was not allowed in the club because I’m White. To my knowledge they didn’t do anything productive or significant, probably just sat around and cussed out whitey.

  •  School to anything except teach reading, writing and arithmetic to raise score, I suspect that the teachers are also ignore of these subjects.

  • When I think that things can’t get more absurd I stand corrected…

    “When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?”
    I think it’s the other way around Ms. Gutierrez.

  • toldev

     I do not know how to restore sanity public education. I think the only thing one can do at this point is to vote against each and every tax levy. If you can not slay the crazy monster, at least you can stop feeding it.

  •  It is being misused.  If we were striving to be an equitable society affirmative action wouldn’t exist and blacks and Mestizos would truly be complaining about white privilege.   What they want is equal outcomes which is the antithesis of equity.

  •  No it wasn’t.  He’s another magic negro with a story based on myth.

  • Pat Kittle

    Failure to find racism is racism.

  • mobilebay

    This article makes me very glad I went to school in the dark ages. We had no “sensitivity” training and our entire school day was devoted to reading, writing and arithmetic. I suppose that would account for kids coming our of school now clueless as to those subjects. Schools simply don’t have time anymore to teach the required curriculum. They’re too busy learning about the diversity of peanut butter.

  • wallybwally

    well, the old fashioned peanut butter sandwich does call for “white” bread…

  • Jabba the Hut spewing hot molten hatred.

  • JohnEngelman

    Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.                                               
    – Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune, September 5, 2012
    Oriental students are not impeded by “white privilege.” Somehow most of them are able to out perform most whites.

  • This is stupid beyond …. never mind.

  • bubo

    The education industry is run by liberal white women and gay men.  This is the kind of insanity you can expect for such a cabal.  

  • anarchyst

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” would be good advice for ANY foreigner that comes to MY country.  If they don’t like it here, LEAVE. . .
    I used to put up with the diatribes of foreigners . . . I was able to “put them in their place” by stating to them” If life is so good in your country, WHY did you come here??”  “Go back to where you came from”.  The look of shock on their faces and the dead silence was priceless.
    That being said, BOTH zionism and islam are political systems masquerading as religions . . . I would require all zionists and muslims to register with the U S State department as “agents of a foreign government”.  Any subversive acts (which HAVE already happened and should have been prosecuted) would be punishable under federal law and would subject these (and other like organizations such as the $PLC, ADL,) to sanction, indictment of their officers, confiscation of all property and assets and a one-way trip OUT of MY country. . .
    Fellow travelers would also be eligible for the same treatment. . . .

  • This Principal that started this insanity Dr. Verenice Gutierrez 503-916-6369 give her a call and Portland Public Schools 503-916-2000. She is one of the reasons the race card will keep being used.