Check out the backstory from Washington Post.
Ok, obviously white folks can be racially discriminated against and when it happens, folks need to be held appropriately accountable. Note the emphasis on folks. White people do face interpersonal racial animus every day in America, that’s real, everyone does. So far, stay with me, I’m jiving with the finding of guilt for Board of Education. Consequences must ensue.
However, I’m not sure $350,000 is just. That seems like a hell of a lot for one white man, who obviously encountered some fucked up, bullshit, racist treatment from his superiors. This was not only bad for him as a professional and employee, but bad for the school, it’s culture and most importantly the students. While I don’t know if I’d claim that he deserve $350K–noting how people of color deal with this shit on the daily, as well as systemic racism–I do think the amount of money hopefully serves as a deterrent for interpersonal racism in the office place. What isn’t being said is, his white privilege allows him a particular visibility and credibility necessary to make such a claim. That shit is real. That shit is fucked. Though racism isn’t a zero-sum game, in a way–despite his experience of fuckery–he’s still cashing in on privilege. When an individual within a small segment of the system screwed him, the system coughed up mad cash.
The other issue, the more important issue, is the question of the source of the payment. The 350K isn’t coming from some system benefitting or investing or operating in the subordination of white people. We’re talking about a predominantly black (64.7%) or latin@ (25.8%) and mostly economically disadvantaged (63%) student populace according to 2014 data. The money we–now that i live in the area–are paying this man is coming out of the classrooms of the students already injured by the interpersonal racism noted above. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars could buy quite a few books, pay for ample field trips, improve technology and provide a full year’s salary for several qualified teachers. Hell, it could probably fund a couple studies on how power, race, gender, sexuality and class operate in the classroom, both through the teacher and between/among students. This is troublesome, problematic and irritating to say the least. When the system finally does it work–penalizing racial animus (note: i’m not speaking of systemic racism but interpersonal, race-based animus)–it still students of color, already survivors of systemic and sociopolitical racism/white supremacies, that pay the cost…in this case…for a white man’s feelings.
The late, great Derrick Bell would call this “interest-convergence.” This is the notion that whites and/or the system of white supremacy, will only attend to minority rights or racialist policies when the former have something to gain from it. Critical Race Theory is still so damn valid.