Wayne County Public Schools is currently investigating reported claims the Goldsboro High School’s principal, Christopher Horne, has asked some of his teachers to complete an assignment on “white privilege.”
According to the website the New Old North, which is published by Ken Fine, who lists himself as a journalist and the only staff member of the site, Horne gave more than a dozen teachers an assignment on March 18 to read and examine an article titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The assignment also included that the teachers submit a cultural biography to discuss both the material and their writing, Fine writes on his website.
Horne did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday and school central office staff reported that Superintendent Michael Dunsmore was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment.
However, schools spokesman Ken Derksen confirmed that the district is looking into Fine’s allegations.
“The district administration learned about Mr. Fine’s online publication yesterday (Wednesday). Wayne County Public Schools takes this matter very serious,” Derksen said in a statement to the News-Argus Thursday. “The district is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the appropriate next steps as a district.
“We have very few details that we can share at this time, as this is an active investigation. As we know more, the district will communicate what information it can.”
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” is the 1988 work of author and researcher Peggy McIntosh and can be found at https://bit.ly/2iDOEnD.
The article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators; the document states: “While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topics.”
This introduction follows with a recommended use of the work that is similar to Horne’s assignment that Fine described on his website. These uses include suggesting that “participants read the article, discuss it, and possibly have participants write a list of additional ways in which whites are privileged in their own school and community setting.”
“Or participants can be asked to keep a diary for the following week of white privilege that they notice — and in some cases challenge — in their daily lives.”