Parents Hated This Video About 'White Privilege'

February 11th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Parents in Henrico, Virginia are upset over an animated video meant to teach high schoolers about racial inequality, claiming it is racially divisive.

"They are sitting there watching a video that is dividing them up from a racial standpoint. It's a white guilt kind of video," said Don Blake, whose granddaughter was shown the video in an assembly at Glen Allen High School for Black History Month, according to WWBT. "I think somebody should be held accountable for this."

Controversial video

The video, produced by the African American Policy Forum and titled "Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race," portrays a literal race in which participants of different races compete. While the white runners are start off with no barriers, the Black athletes set back by obstacles like lower quality education, income disparities, and discrimination.

Controversial video

Controversial video

The video apparently sought to teach students about the theory that minorities face myriad forms of institutionalized discrimination, whereas white populations are inherently privileged.

Controversial video

Controversial video

One section shows a Black runner's process blocked by a brick wall that viewers are told represents a shorter lifespan. Meanwhile, a white runner sails by on a moving sidewalk clutching a water bottle with the Yale University logo on it.

Controversial video

"Affirmative action," the video concludes, "helps level the playing field."

In response to the backlash against the video from some parents, the Henrico School Board Chairman Micky Ogburn apologized and said the district was revising its diversity education, WWBT reported.

“We are making every effort to respond to our community. It is our goal to prevent the recurrence of this type of event. School leaders have been instructed not to use the video in our schools," told WWBT. "In addition, steps are being taken to prevent the use of racially divisive materials in the future. We do apologize to those who were offended and for the unintended impact on our community.”

Superintendent Pat Kinlaw said that while the school wished to encourage discussion around potentially uncomfortable topics, educators understood some parents' complaints.

“While we as educators do not object to difficult and constructive conversations about American history and racial discourse past and present, we understand why many people feel this video in particular was not the best way to deliver such an important lesson," said Kinlaw. “The school division has heard the feedback from our community loud and clear, and we will take additional measures as needed to review instructional material on an ongoing basis.”

White Privilege Race

But others disagreed, and complimented the video and its message.

"Everyone that disagrees with this video is a revisionist of American History," wrote YouTube user DeWente69. "We wouldn't need to level the playing field now if it had been leveled a long time ago. I'm never going to look past the unfair advantage white people have always had in this country."

Others said that while the points were valid, the video lacked deeper discussion. "The struggles described in the video are real, but the analogies are a little stretched," Skyler827 wrote.

"We do owe it to ourselves to understand and alleviate our history of racism."

Watch the full video below.