Mr. Will’s white-privilege ‘propaganda’

April 7, 2013

In his April 4 column “Reading, writing and white guilt,” George F. Will accused the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction of considering “instruction” to be synonymous with “propaganda” and “indoctrination” because students were asked to contemplate white privilege. Why readers should agree with him is not something he explained.

When did social studies become a subject in which studying the societal impact of an observable phenomenon is something to be derided and avoided? When I was a high school sophomore, a substitute teacher once held my world history class spellbound with a tale not found in our textbooks or curriculum: the story of the Holocaust. To Holocaust deniers, I suppose that teacher was spreading propaganda, but it opened a new way of looking at the world for many of us.

Does Mr. Will not believe in the existence of white privilege, or is he just of the school of thought that school is not the place to discuss such things?

Gregory Adams, Washington

While it is true that members of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), like Peace Corps volunteers, “are paid” for their service, it is worth reminding George F. Will that members of our “all-volunteer” armed forces, last time I checked, also receive compensation. Mr. Will appears to be guilty of applying a rather selective vision of what it means to be a “volunteer” when he writes about “Orwellian-named federal programs.”

T.H. Otwell, Silver Spring

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