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Racial privilege exercises recommended in Irish classrooms

Ireland’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has urged teachers to hold classroom exercises dividing children along class and racial “privilege” lines.

The recommendation comes from a list of suggested “learning activities” for the Leaving Cert Politics and Society subject.

Under the heading “Social class and gender as important social categories,” teachers are urged to “Set up a learning experience that demonstrates how social class and privilege operate,” with a list of suggested links included.

“EXAMINING CLASS AND RACE”

One of these links is “Examining Class and Race” from the website of American racial activist and author Paul Kivel.

While the exercise frequently references America, the NCCA urges teachers to “adapt” it for the classroom – presumably by replacing “American” with “Irish.”

“I grew up believing that all Americans have equal opportunity to succeed because there is a level playing field and affirmative action was no longer necessary,” Kivel writes when introducing the lesson.

“Since then, I have found this exercise useful to challenge our common assumptions of equal access.”

DIVIDED BY RACIAL “PRIVILEGE”

Kivel describes how the task involves students standing in a line in the middle of the class facing the wall. Then a series of questions about ones’ race, upbringing, household income, familial sexual abuse and so on are asked, and students must either step forwards or backwards depending on their answer to the question.

The idea is, at the end of the exercise, more “privileged” children will be standing closer to the front of the class, while less “privileged” children will be standing further back, allowing the class to identify who is “privileged” and who is not.

Kivel says the exercise is to be done “in silence, to allow participants to notice the feelings that come up during the exercise.”

Questions students are to be asked include:

  • “If you feel that your primary ethnic identity is “American,” take one step forward.” (In this case would adapt the question to replace “American” with “Irish”, meaning those students who identify ethnically as “Irish” are inherently privileged)
  • “If your parents did not grow up in the United States [or Ireland], take one step backward.”
  • “If any women in your family, including yourself if you are female, were ever physically or sexually assaulted in any way by men in your family, take one step backward.”
  • “If you were ever paid less, treated less fairly, or given harder work than a white person in a similar position because of your race or ethnicity, take one step backward.”
  • “If you generally think of the police as people that you can call on for help in times of emergency, take one step forward.”
  • “If you were taken to art galleries, museums or plays by your parents, take one step forward.”

Concluding the exercise, creator Paul Kivel writes that the “winners” of the race to the front of the class “were declared before the race started.”

“The ruling class is sitting in the stands watching the whole event with amusement,” he said.

“They don’t have to race because they’ve been awarded the very best, most high paying jobs before the race even began. In fact, they’ve been betting on who would run for those jobs the fastest. How does this added information affect people’s commitment to the race? To how hard they might run? To their sense of justice?”

“LEARN FROM WHITENESS AND RACISM”

Notably, the website linked by the NCCA includes many radical writings by Kivel on the subject of race on other pages, wherein he advises readers to “Assume racism is everywhere, every day.”

“Just as economics influences everything we do, just as gender and gender politics influence everything we do, assume that racism is affecting your daily life,” he writes under the heading of “Guidelines For Being Strong White Allies.”

Guidelines for Being Strong White Allies

“We assume this because it’s true, and because a privilege of being white is the freedom to not deal with racism all the time.”

He adds that it is important to “learn from the history of whiteness and racism.”

RADICAL CURRICULUM

The development comes following a series of articles by Gript investigating radical materials within Ireland’s school curriculum.

Last week Gript revealed that a state-funded Irish school programme has circulated a document which encouraged teachers to oppose the entire concept of criminal justice and policing, and asked them to study militant “black power” organisations like the Black Panther Party.

Dozens of Irish schools were also encouraged to teach children about “white privilege” – the idea that all white people have an unfair head-start in life because of their race, regardless of class, upbringing or income level.

Irish state-funded group distributed radical material on race

We also revealed that school teachers are being encouraged to teach students how to organise radical feminist protests, as well as discuss “challenging the patriarchy” and other far-Left talking points by Ireland’s official national curriculum body.

Irish school teachers’ guides discuss “challenging the patriarchy”

Additionally, the NCCA has advised teachers to study “crossdressing” for “erotic enjoyment,” “drag,” “gender queer” identities as part of an “SPHE and RSE toolkit” for primary schools, and that babies and toddlers should be told stories about being transgender and “gender fluid.”

Irish primary teachers discouraged from saying “boys & girls”

Irish curriculum advises teaching babies they can be transgender

 

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