Expert: Tennessee’s ‘White Privilege’ Training Worsens Race Relations


The concept of “white privilege,” as taught recently to teachers in Hamilton and Williamson counties, ultimately creates a culture of low expectations for black children and makes those same children bitter toward their white teachers.

This, according to Patrick Hampton, an African-American Chattanooga man, who opposes this type of in-service teacher training.

Yet the opinion writers of The Chattanooga Times Free Press are unhappy with Hampton and have called him out. They seem to blame “white privilege” for the Hamilton County School System’s low academic scores.

But Hampton, who was a teacher, said he witnessed things the paper’s opinion writers failed to document.

“Teachers that are in the school system for a long time become numb to the culture of low expectation and failure. I always refused to become numb, and administrators hated me for that. Many say ‘Well, the kids are not going to get any better. I need my job. Let’s just make it through the year,'” Hampton told The Tennessee Star this week.

“This attitude and culture creates a system that promotes kids through grades who can’t read, can’t properly write a sentence or send an email. All teachers know this, but for the sake of keeping their job they will not shake the wagon or blow the whistle. There is simply a code of silence.”

No members of the Hamilton County School Board returned The Tennessee Star’s requests for comment on the matter before Wednesday’s stated deadline.

As reported, Hamilton County School Board members are unlikely to hold anyone in the school system accountable for the “white privilege” training, done as part of a state-funded Adverse Childhood Experiences curriculum.

Times Free Press Opinion Editor Pam Sohn wrote of an achievement gap between children of color, poor children, and children who don’t speak English as their first language versus wealthier white children.

This, of course, gives Sohn impetus to believe in “white privilege.”

But Hampton told The Star “white privilege” “doesn’t focus on the individual heart of a person, but it focuses on the systems and structures.”

In other words, it compels people to believe well-intentioned white people still participate in a racist system, Hampton said.

“Think about how this belief system affects the psyche of a student. A student will enter into the classroom and not only will they dislike the teacher, but now they will buy into the belief that this teacher is a part of a bigger racist system that’s against them always wanting them to fail. Now the student is prejudging the teacher solely based on her color which is racist in and of itself,” Hampton said.

“This creates a culture of animosity to the point kids can’t learn because they have this preconceived notion that all white people, including the one paid to educate, are racist because they participate in this racist educational structure. It will make things worse and actually sets us back to the 1950s and 60s when people were segregated and hated each other based on color.”

As reported, Hampton gathered screenshots of the “white privilege” training in Hamilton County and sent them to the media. These screenshots infuriated the public.

As The Star reported, taxpayers paid thousands of dollars for the white privilege training that county teachers recently had to sit through.

School board member Rhonda Thurman, however, said she plans to hold school system employees accountable for the curriculum — even if she is the only board member who does so.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Patrick Hampton” by Chattanooga Tea Party. 



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One Thought to “Expert: Tennessee’s ‘White Privilege’ Training Worsens Race Relations”

  1. […] Hampton said “white privilege” ultimately creates a culture of low expectations for black children and makes those same children bitter toward their white teachers. He also said “white privilege” cripples blacks, forces them to accept self-defeat, and does nothing to make them realize their fullest potential in life. […]