Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

White Teacher Fired for Saying White Privilege Is Real

Teaching "Critical Race Theory" is Illegal in Tennessee, where Matthew Hawn worked

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People talk before the start of a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. Several states, including Tennessee, have outlawed teaching CRT in schools despite the fact that almost no public school does.
People talk before the start of a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. Several states, including Tennessee, have outlawed teaching CRT in schools despite the fact that almost no public school does.
Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP (Getty Images)

In a case that pretty much defines white privilege, parents in a nearly all-white small town have succeeded in getting a teacher fired for teaching students that white privilege exists.

Matthew Hawn, who is white, was canned from a $60,000 a year teaching gig in his hometown of Kingsport, Tenn., after some parents and students complained when he assigned essays and videos that conveyed Black perspectives, and when he told students in his “Contemporary Issues” class that, “White Privilege is a fact,” The Washington Post reports.

In case anybody missed it — and clearly most people in Kingsport have— white privilege is, indeed, a fact.

That hasn’t stopped those who benefit from it most from trying to use their own privilege to avoid having the concept explained to their children, and Hawn’s job is their latest casualty.

From the Washington Post

His firing comes amid a tsunami of conservative outrage about critical race theory, an academic framework for examining systemic racism in the United States that educators contend is rarely taught in public schools.

Hawn said he’d never heard of critical race theory until he was accused of teaching it.

But in May, the same month Hawn was fired, the Tennessee legislature passed a law banning it from its schools and forbidding educators from teaching that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist or oppressive.”

At least 11 Republican-led states have now passed laws or approved resolutions censoring what educators can say about race in K-12 classrooms, according to a Washington Post analysis. Dozens more are considering similar policies.

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That’s a reminder that truth exists no matter how many laws are passed against telling it. Unfortunately, it won’t save Hawn’s gig.

The most ironic part of his story is that one of the people who got the ball rolling against him had no dog in the fight whatsoever. The Post reported that a 48-yer-old man named Chad (because of course his name would be Chad) Conner posted video of one of Hawn’s lessons to Facebook because he was worried about what Hawn was teaching about race.

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Surely, he must’ve been worried about what his kids were hearing in class.

From the Washington Post

Conner, a Navy veteran, said he believes White privilege may exist in some cases, but that it is not an appropriate subject for teachers to discuss in school.

“I don’t think color should be an issue ever in the classroom,” Conner said in an interview. “I don’t have kids, but I do have to live in the community with these kids. … I’m very concerned with what they grow up to believe and what their outlook on this country is.”

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OK, Chad (or is it Karen?)

Hawn has already filed a second appeal of his job loss to the school board, the Post reports. We wish him well.