The racialization of everything continues apace, helped along by an op-ed whose publication has no obvious justification. But this was inevitable. If yogurt, pilates, and pumpkin lattes can be seen as signs of white privilege, why not mittens?
Yes, Bernie in mittens is supposed to symbolize white privilege, at least according to Ingrid Seyer-Ochi writing in the San Francisco Chronicle (click on screenshot below). What makes this pathetic attempt at virtue signaling even scarier is that Seyer-Ochi is a teacher, described by the Chronicle as “a former UC Berkeley and Mills College professor, ex-Oakland Unified School District principal and current San Francisco Unified School District high school teacher.”
Indeed, she describes the “lessons she gives her students” in the piece below.
A few excerpts will suffice.
Three weeks ago I processed the Capitol insurrection with my high school students. Rallying our inquiry skills, we analyzed the images of that historic day, images of white men storming through the Capitol, fearless and with no forces to stop them. “This,” I said, “is white supremacy, this is white privilege. It can be hard to pinpoint, but when we see, it, we know it.”
Well, I won’t fault her for the white supremacy stuff, but she really shouldn’t be inculcating the notion of “white privilege” into high-school students. That’s not education, but the instillation of guilt on top of propaganda.
But it gets worse when she applies “white privilege” to Bernie Sanders, who we know came to the inauguration wearing a winter coat (not a “puffy” down jacket, as Seyer-Ochi implies) and, of course, the famous mittens. This disdain for the more formal attire of others, of course, is seen as another instantiation of white privilege, and that’s the lesson conveyed by Seyer-Ochi to her students:
Fast-forward two weeks as we analyzed images from the inauguration, asking again, “What do we see?” We saw diversity, creativity and humanity, and a nation embracing all of this and more. On the day of the inauguration, Bernie Sanders was barely on our radar. The next day, he was everywhere.
“What do we see?” I asked again. We’ve been studying diversity and discrimination in the United States; my students were ready. What did they see? They saw a white man in a puffy jacket and huge mittens, distant not only in his social distancing, but in his demeanor and attire.
We took in the meaning of the day, the vulnerability of democracy, the power of ritual, traditions and the peaceful transition of power.
We talked about gender and the possible meanings of the attire chosen by Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden, the Biden grandchildren, Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman and others. We referenced the female warriors inspiring these women, the colors of their educational degrees and their monochromatic ensembles of pure power.
And there, across all of our news and social media feeds, was Bernie: Bernie memes, Bernie sweatshirts, endless love for Bernie. I puzzled and fumed as an individual as I strove to be my best possible teacher. What did I see? What did I think my students should see? A wealthy, incredibly well-educated and -privileged white man, showing up for perhaps the most important ritual of the decade, in a puffy jacket and huge mittens.
And it’s not just white privilege that Bernie was radiating. There were other types too (see below). He’s a veritable gemisch of every type of privilege in America.
Here we have a teacher propagandizing her students with her own interpretation of sociology, so upsetting that she puzzled and fumed. But no, she was not trying to be the best possible teacher—unless she thinks that inculcating her students with wokeness is the right thing to do.
I mean in no way to overstate the parallels. Sen. Sanders is no white supremacist insurrectionist. But he manifests privilege, white privilege, male privilege and class privilege, in ways that my students could see and feel.
“When you see privilege, you know it,” I’d told them weeks before. Yet, when they saw Sen. Bernie Sanders manifesting privilege, when seemingly no one else did, I struggled to explain that disparity. I am beyond puzzled as to why so many are loving the images of Bernie and his gloves. Sweet, yes, the gloves, knit by an educator. So “Bernie.”
Not so sweet? The blindness I see, of so many (Bernie included), to the privileges Bernie represents. I don’t know many poor, or working class, or female, or struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk who would show up at the inauguration of our 46th president dressed like Bernie. Unless those same folk had privilege. Which they don’t.
This woman is a blithering idiot. First, she doesn’t realize that Bernie is an eccentric, and dresses the way he’d dress in Vermont. He wasn’t exerting some kind of “privilege”. Was his failure to wear fancy clothes some kind of proclamation about his freedom from “white convention”, then? If you dress up, you’re showing white privilege, and if you flout that, you are as well.
What Bernie is being faulted for here is not what he wore, but the color of his skin. For Bernie is a progressive, located on a part of the political spectrum beloved by the Woke, and so should be celebrated by a teacher of this stripe (and remember, I voted for Bernie in the primary). But he’s also white, and being of Jewish ancestry apparently is no mitigation.
But does Bernie really have white privilege and class privilege and male privilege? In fact he had a hardscrabble upbringing, as described by Wikipedia, and he’s fought for racial justice his whole adult life. One thing I learned is that the Bern went to the University of Chicago!
Sanders later described his time in Chicago as “the major period of intellectual ferment in my life.” While there, he joined the Young People’s Socialist League (the youth affiliate of the Socialist Party of America) and was active in the civil rights movement as a student for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Under his chairmanship, the university chapter of CORE merged with the university chapter of the SNCC. In January 1962, he went to a rally at the University of Chicago administration building to protest university president George Wells Beadle’s segregated campus housing policy. At the protest, Sanders said, “We feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university-owned apartments”. He and 32 other students then entered the building and camped outside the president’s office. After weeks of sit-ins, Beadle and the university formed a commission to investigate discrimination. After further protests, the University of Chicago ended racial segregation in private university housing in the summer of 1963.
Joan Mahoney, a member of the University of Chicago CORE chapter at the time and a fellow participant in the sit-ins, described Sanders in a 2016 interview as “a swell guy, a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but he wasn’t terribly charismatic. One of his strengths, though, was his ability to work with a wide group of people, even those he didn’t agree with.” He once spent a day putting up fliers protesting police brutality, only to notice later that Chicago police had shadowed him and taken them all down. He attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” speech. That summer, Sanders was fined $25 (equivalent to $209 in 2019) for resisting arrest during a demonstration in Englewood against segregation in Chicago’s public schools.
Nooo, but that’s not enough for Ms. Seyer-Ochi, because Bernie is white and wore mittens.
What I find most reprehensible about this woman is that she’s a high school teacher, and the “education” she gives her students apparently involves pouring woke garbage into their brains, filling them with guilt and instilling them with ideas of racial identity and division. She shouldn’t be a teacher, and were I a parent of one of her students, I’d try to find another school or teacher.
As far as I can see, Seyer-Ochi taught an education course at UC Berkeley, presumably as an adjunct, and some of the students complained of the same ideological agenda at Rate My Professors (to be fair, she has some good ratings, too). There’s no way this isn’t the same woman:
The Daily Fail has a photo of this teacher, and it shows another example of white privilege: tattoos. Doesn’t she know that it’s hard to see tattoos on black skin?
Perhaps the worst part of all this is that the San Francisco School District probably wants teachers like this. She’d be perfect to teach the new ethnic-studies course.
Oh, and until I saw the tweet below I had forgotten that Bernie put the mittens meme on all sorts of merchandise on his site, with the money being used for charity. According to the AP, Bernie’s White Privilege Mittens raised a ton of dosh!:
About those wooly mittens that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders wore to the presidential inauguration, sparking endless quirky memes across social media? They’ve helped to raise $1.8 million in the last five days for charitable organizations in Sanders’ home state of Vermont, the independent senator announced Wednesday.
The sum comes from the sale of merchandise with the Jan. 20 image of him sitting with his arms and legs crossed, clad in his brown parka and recycled wool mittens.
Sanders put the first of the so-called “Chairman Sanders” merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers, on his campaign website Thursday night and the first run sold out in less than 30 minutes, he said. More merchandise was added over the weekend and sold out by Monday morning, he said.
. . .The groups that will benefit from the proceeds of the “Chairman Sanders” items include Area Agencies on Aging to fund Meals on Wheels throughout Vermont, Vermont community action agencies, Feeding Chittenden, Chill Foundation, senior centers in Vermont and Bi-State Primary Care for dental care improvements in the state, Sanders’ office said.
Sanders’ attire has also sparked other charitable endeavors. A crocheted doll of Sanders in his garb was auctioned off online and Burton Snowboards donated 50 jackets to the Burlington Department for Children and Families in Sanders’ name, his office said.
What fresh hell is this take, I don’t even understand. The dude wore mittens and a big coat because it was cold and then he turned around and raised a ton of money for charity https://t.co/q3oWVLxU6e
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) February 1, 2021