The assigned reading this week profoundly rubbed me the wrong way. I sensed disingenuous motives that were a familiar part of my experience volunteering almost 2000 hours over the last two years. During that time, I saw many wolves in sheep’s clothing. Minneapolis and St. Paul have an impressive track record for philanthropy, but we also have the most substantial gap between blacks and whites in any American city. Unfortunately, black folks and Native Americans have been losing income for the last two decades while other demographics are prospering. The local systems of victimhood and poverty tourism are a massive problem that “Minnesota Nice” sweeps under the carpet.
The most rewarding experience that I have had volunteering was in AmeriCorps during the previous academic year at a disadvantaged school in south Minneapolis. Many people do not know or will not acknowledge the segregation that is here in the city of our university. Public schools south of lake street are well funded when school closer to downtown lack funds. Much talk happens in our town about social justice, but the reverse is occurring. That is why I encourage others to volunteer to create change, but only if your heart is in it for the right reasons â€” not feeling superior.
This article supplied many of the traditional hallmarks of a token social justice warrior who is entirely superficial. She shrank from tough issues each time she approached them. She attacks ladders out of poverty, such as affirmative action and then unapologetically states that feasible and politically realistic solutions are far beyond her expertise. The most troubling part is her argumentum ad ignorantiam when she says that everything must be considered discrimination without proof otherwise. That is an apparent logical fallacy that should have gotten this paper thrown out of academic circles. Yet, here we are considering it. This author is part of the problem – she provides so many excuses and pie-in-the-sky solutions. I submit (as she would say in her paternalistic way) that she has built an academic career on a matter of life and death for millions of Americans. Food for thought when considering the systems of disadvantage in our metropolitan area: this academic is a woke white person from St. Paul.
Throughout our discussions pertaining to identities in this class, I have realized that many of my own are in fact identities of privilege. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, my school was well funded, I was able to take out loans for college with ease and I have not experienced any issues with finding housing thus far. I had always thought of this as fairly typical, but after reading this article I am realizing how connected my “successes” are to my privilege. As we talked about previously, by accepting these benefits privilege has given me, I am allowing discrimination to continue.
The part of this article that I was most intrigued by was the discrimination in school systems. As someone who is interested in working in a school setting I would be interested in learning different ways educators can help students experiencing discrimination in multiple aspects of their lives do things such as graduate, increase math and reading scores, etc. I would also like to learn more about how as a community we could be better funding/ providing resources for our schools.