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In Portland, Ore., a cash-strapped school shelled out more than $500,000 to have teachers trained to think they’re racists, along with their sandwiches.

No, this is not something out of Portlandia — this is real life.

The training, called “Courageous Conversation,” included reading newspapers then discussing the stories through a prism of “white privilege.”

The training was influenced by the Pacific Education Group, a group that actually is kind of racist. Things that they believe are inherently “white” in culture include “self reliance,” “adherence to rigid time schedules,” and the belief that “hard work is the key to success.”

Meanwhile, in Portland, groups that exclude white kids are fine. For example, there’s a drum corps just for black and latino boys.

One example of the racism secretly hidden within the school was a teacher who talked about peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in a lesson plan.

Verenice Gutierrez from the Harvey Scott K-8 School asked, “What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches … Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.” Her suggestion? Say to the kids, “Americans eat peanut butter and jelly; do you have anything like that?”

I have so many questions. Why does American mean “white” to Ms. Gutierrez? Why are things American bad? Can we have kids learn about American culture, too? Why tell them that, if they come from another background, they aren’t American? Her words are the only example of intolerance in the whole sandwich affair.

I’m not sure how that’s helping. I’m also not sure how it’s helpful to invent racism that doesn’t exist. It’s like the boy who cried racism.

In a school district that had to lay off staff and cut resources, is it worth $526,901 to decide that sandwiches are racist? We need to take back our educational system before it’s too late. One more generation, and people are going to think this is normal.

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