The Unbearable Whiteness of Knowledge

Funny, right?


Or not so funny.

“Education is not about the mere reproduction of knowledge,” Hackman said. “Education is the practice of freedom. And as a result, we have to have [teaching] students becomes activists as well as teachers.”

Suspend your desire for reason, for a moment, for your own safety, as there is little that follows that will not make you cringe in pain.

Heather Hackman operates Hackman Consulting Group and was formerly a professor of multicultural education at Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University, where she taught future teachers. On Friday, Hackman was given a platform at WPC to deliver a workshop with the lengthy title “No Freedom Unless We Call Out the Wizard Behind The Curtain: Critically Addressing the Corrosive Effects of Whiteness in Teacher Education and Professional Development.” The long title masked a simple thesis on Hackman’s part: Modern education is hopelessly tainted by white supremacy and the “white imperial gaze,” and the solution is to train prospective teachers in college to be activists as well as pedagogues.

That Hackman was once a professor at a college no one cares about isn’t an issue. Nor is it an issue that she now has an educational consulting business. This is America, and anyone is allowed to open a putative consulting business.  What is a problem, however, is that someone decided to let her hop atop a soapbox at the 17th Annual White Privilege Conference in Philadelphia.  Or, of course, that there is such a thing as the annual White Privilege Conference.

“The racial narrative of White tends to be like this: Rugged individual, honest, hard-working, disciplined, rigorous, successful,” she said. “And so then, the narrative of U.S. public education: Individual assessments, competition, outcome over process (I care more about your grades than how you’re doing), ‘discipline’ where we care more about your attendance and making sure you’re not tardy than we care about your relationships  … proper English must be spoken (which is just assimilation into standard U.S. dialect), hierarchical power structure, and heavy goal orientation.”

This is not to suggest that the educational establishment is otherwise doing a great job of things, but that what’s wrong with it is not it’s expectation that students “show up” as a manifestation of white supremacy.

How serious is Hackman?  When she taught, she accepted papers from students written in “non-standard” English, as well as languages she didn’t know.

“If I don’t know [your language,] frankly, that’s my issue,” she said. “All I need to know is that your thinking about it, I don’t really care how you do it.”

Granted, this insanity might be easily dismissed as having been spewed at the 17th Annual White Privilege Conference.  Not exactly the foremost conference for serious pedagogy, so what would you expect?  And yet, evidence of this sort of irrational radicalism is showing up with increasing frequency.  It may not be the mainstream of thought in education, but it’s not like it just one flaming nutjob named Hackman. And whoever is showing up at this conference such that it’s been held 17 years, they are the people who have access to other children’s education.

That any responsible educator would tolerate someone like Hackman, or who agrees with her, in a classroom anywhere near young people is outrageous.  Putting aside whatever psychological ailments twist their inability to accept logical connections, they are harming students. Their students will emerge without knowledge. Their students will be taught that they are unconstrained by the need to know how to write, to speak, to think.

Hell, their students don’t have to show up, because that’s just a White thing.

No matter how deeply the pathology goes, sick people should not be given a soapbox to spread their insanity.  And they most assuredly shouldn’t be allowed to inflict their diseased view on students.  If they care at all for the children, they should do something else, far, far away from any impressionable youth.  And if schools care about the children, they should not let anyone like Hackman, or who accepts the insanity Hackman spews, into a classroom.

Faber College isn’t real.  Hackman is.

32 thoughts on “The Unbearable Whiteness of Knowledge

  1. Patrick Maupin

    I’m astonished that she can get away with inferring that non-whites are collectivist, dishonest, lazy, undisciplined, careless, unsuccessful, uncompetitive, tardy, and unfocused.

    But if she really already believes that, why is she working tirelessly to make it come true?

    1. SHG Post author

      Don’t you wonder if anyone realizes that she’s actually saying that non-whites are such incompetent nincompoops?

      1. Patrick Maupin

        Yes, I do. Does she get away with what she says because of inattentiveness (it’s certainly possible I wasn’t the only one unknowledgeable about such a conference), because of fear of confronting the SJWs, or because people cannot parse what she said because her goal of insuring that the education system is only capable of producing mush-brained morons has already succeeded?

      2. DaveL

        Individual assessments, competition, outcome over process… hierarchical power structure, and heavy goal orientation.

        I’d bet that the Japanese and South Koreans would be just shocked to learn that, all this time, they’ve been promoting white supremacy in their schools. Who knew?

      1. Scott Jacobs

        I’m more than a little concerned your head would explode while listening to the presentations.

  2. LTMG

    Hackman has a future as the chair of the Football Studies Department, “The major where everybody’s a scholar!”, at some university which would be defunct if not for sports.

  3. Keith

    At least the “captcha” on their website accepts whatever number you want to put into the box. The important part being that you think about the math question.

  4. JD

    I didn’t show up for her course. Can I still get my fair share of the collective class grade?

    I swear, articles like this make me think the KGB is involved in some sort of multi-generational subversive plot. Maybe I should renew my membership with FOFBS. (Friends of Frank Burns Society.)

    In fact, I’ve decided to do something. I’m going to get an adult coloring book, go to my safe space and color and color and color. Using only my black crayon, I don’t need no whitey. And ignoring the lines, as they represent oppression and stifle creativity. That will show them I’m thinking about the problem and approaching it in my own special way.

  5. John Barleycorn

    It will get worse a lot worse. Even if you are a dog.

    “Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change.”

    Milan Kundera

  6. Donald Gennaro

    Example of irony: A white professor who cluelessly preaches white supremacy having a soapbox at a White Privilege Conference where she complains about how “whiteness” pervades education and how we should therefore spend more time explaining education processes and outcomes in terms of whiteness.

    Hers is the sort of critique that someone should copy and attribute in a news item to a conservative professor, then send it to Concerned Student 1950 for their response.

      1. Donald Gennaro

        Indeed it is, but who said anything about an experiment? I’m pitching the pilot for a reality show. Not sure yet whether to call it Flip This Schoolhouse, Extreme Makeover: Critical Race Edition, or Undercover Prof Swap.

  7. Enjoin This!

    Heh. The stupid IS broad in that one, but maybe – just maybe – not so deep?

    This is an area of some knowledge-in-depth, as Mrs. (er, “Dr.” or “Professor”) Enjoined-That! works in this field. I believe critical thinking CAN exist outside of language competence, and maybe ms. stupidhead’s comments reflect more on the kids’ inability to articulate their thoughts clearly in a second language.

    Should we hone the kidz ability to reason clearly in English? Absolutely. But which should come first: reasoning or language command? That’s where I see reasonable minds differing. I truly don’t know, but it’s something to be open to.

    1. SHG Post author

      So don’t show up? To cherry pick one piece out, twist, squint, contort it into something entirely different, while ignoring everything else, is mind-numbingly . . . unhelpful. As for critical thinking existing outside of language competence, read more Orwell and remember how well ebonics and new math worked out. It was all the rage among pedagogues.

      1. DaveL

        Those who deny the importance of learning “standard English” should try teaching GED English classes at their local maximum-security prison. Only first, make sure to spread the word that they’re “a well-known pedagogue”.

    2. DaveL

      As an engineer, I sometimes have people opine that language competency is not important in my profession, provided that one’s underlying technical skills are sound. I like to provide them with the following as a response:

      “Nxt weeknd we is reefulling da #8 reaktur dont wory itz not danjerus LOL”

  8. Bruce Godfrey

    We standardize languages, and use those standardized languages, for a number of reasons, some more valid than others. When schools and universities (laboratories, courts, newspapers etc.) enforce standards, they should explain why – for clarity and precision to benefit broad audiences, including future readers and those who will rely on those readers, such as medical patients, litigants, etc.

    Sometimes dialects and entire languages get suppressed not to support broad-based communication standards but as a means of hegemony, of class warfare. Witness, for example, the aggressive suppression of all but Parisian French in France, to the detriment of Provencal, Catalan, Occitan, Breton, Basque; the insults given to the mother tongue of Americans who speak African-American Vernacular, the literal beatings by the state of speakers of autochthonous languages of this continent in so-called “Indian Schools.” She could have explored this point academically, with facts, and details, but in dramatic irony indulged in-house SJW Thieves’ Cant instead.

    1. Patrick Maupin

      Any serious scholarship on this issue would come to the inescapable conclusion that learning the dominant language is a Good Thing regardless of why it is taught, and that many white, native English speakers were also receiving regular beatings in the schoolhouse at the time of the Indian Schools.

      As far as the “mother tongue … of African-American Vernacular” goes, it’s complete crap for modern society, as documented in Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science by Eleanor Wilson Orr, way back last century.

      1. Bruce Godfrey

        What makes Black vernacular “crap”?

        Agreed, it isn’t suitable for academic use any more than the Swabian dialect of my ancestors would have worked in a university environment. Is Swabian or Bavarian dialect “crap”?

        Going back to Swabia, Germany’s wealthiest region near the French and Swiss borders and the industrial heart of Mercedes Benz, , there is a phrase: “wir konnen alles, ausser Hochdeutsch” – we can do everything except (speak) standard German. Nothing about Black American English is wrong or “crap” except the fact that it is non-standard dialect.

        Lots of educated Black Americans speak one dialect at the kitchen table and another in appellate argument, at the operating table or; the term you don’t know, but should know, is “code-switching” or diglossia. Diglossia is fairly common in Europe; Swiss Germans, educated or not, do not speak the same way that they write. Ditto in many other parts of Europe; Catalans often speak one language and conduct business in another.

        It’s no more wrong than Robert Burns’ Scots. Never heard a white racist take a shot at “Auld Lang Syne.” Never will, either.

        1. SHG Post author

          Patrick provided his source for why it’s crap, which you chose to ignore. Stop wasting my bandwidth with this nonsense.

  9. Jack handy

    “Instead of having “answers” on a math test, they should just call them “impressions,” and if you got a different “impression,” so what, can’t we all be brothers?”

Comments are closed.