Betsy DeVos’ White Privilege Is Hurting Us

Born into wealth

Married to wealth

It’s no secret that both whiteness and wealth provide entitlement and accessibility far greater than that which is available to others.

There likely hasn’t been anything that Betsy DeVos hasn’t been able to acquire or do during her lifetime as a result of her white privilege and wealth.

An advocate for school choice.

A major financial contributor to the Republican Party.

A successful business woman.

But, oh Betsy, you are doing a tragic job of serving as U.S. Secretary of Education.

There hasn’t been a singular, positive moment of public exposure for you.

From your questionable nomination, to your awkward confirmation hearing, and school visits and commencement speeches met with protests and retweets, opposers have made it very clear that they are not buying your limited expertise in education policies.

DeVos responded to her critics by appearing in an interview on 60 Minutes that demonstrated both poor preparation and shaky execution of improving the quality of education for students who need it most.

And although we seriously are not surprised by her sheer lack of effort and delivery of responses that make us cringe, if you can’t actually be effective in your role through course of action, can you at least do a good job of lying to us?

I mean, the questions that were asked weren’t even very complicated.

DeVos doesn’t even intellectually articulate false promises like most politicians are often known to do.

She just flat out either stuttered or said pure foolishness.

When questioned by 60 Minutes interviewer, Leslie Stahl about her stance on teachers possessing guns in school, DeVos responded:

“That should be an option for states and communities to consider. And I hesitate to think of, like, my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Zorhoff — I couldn’t ever imagine her having a gun and being trained in that way. But for those who are, who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered. But no one size fits all. Every state and every community is going to address this issue in a different way.”

She has a pattern of straddling the fence and throwing decisions onto the “states” rather than having a firm position on matters.

Stifled by contradiction and sheer incompetence, as both a parent and school staff member, I am afraid for my son and all students.

And angry because she is able to do this all because of her white privilege.

Time and time again, DeVos proves her critics right.

She is not suitable to serve as a leader for a country’s education system that has been attacked for its performance for decades.

I can’t help but think about the white privilege that carries DeVos through these outwardly painful moments.  Having a background of wealth and power, DeVos has likely not been challenged or felt inferior.

DeVos likely sleeps very comfortably at night, not plagued by the grief casted on citizens who are advocates for quality education because I’m unconvinced she engages in much self-reflection based on her response to Stahl’s inquiry regarding why she(DeVos) is the most “hated Cabinet secretary”

DEVOS: I’m not so sure exactly how that happened. But I think there are a lot of really powerful forces allied against change.

STAHL: Does it hurt?

DEVOS: Sometimes it does. Sometimes it does. Again, I think — I think —

STAHL: Do you ever say —

DEVOS:  — I’m more misunderstood than anything.

And this is no disrespect to anyone who has worked tirelessly to acquire a comfortable lifestyle to provide for and support their families; however, as a leader of a system that has a history of perpetuating the marginalization of minorities, you need to get down and dirty about what is REALLY going on.

Furthermore, you need to implement actual solutions and not just emphasize that they are needed.

DeVos is a perfect display of the shield from reality white privilege allows.

And unfortunately, it is our schools and students who need the most support who will continue to suffer most as DeVos displayed no urgency about getting a closer look into these schools:

STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they’re doing?

DEVOS: I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should. Yes.

Yes, Betsy, you should…


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