Famed teacher Ron Clark laments after police shootings: “white privilege is real”

Ron Clark and his talented students have made national headlines with their impressive and informative dance routines. Now he’s going viral with a lament spurred by this week’s shootings of two black men by police officers. “My heart breaks when I think how the beautiful and strong students I work with are basically one bullet away from becoming a #‎hashtag,” he wrote in a post that was quickly shared nearly 20,000 times.

UPDATE: Beyonce’s call to action following police shootings

Ron Clark

Ron Clark

Here’s the rest of his message:

“I see racism through a different view; I’m a white man who watches my students as they are treated with caution, disdain and misunderstanding. Views of who they are are formed instantly by their appearance, and brilliant young children are often frowned upon as being thugs. I tell my students to say yes sir and to smile when dealing with the police and that everything will be okay, but I am losing faith in my own advice.

I can tell you all, white privilege is real because I experience it both in noticing how I am treated and how those who don’t look like me are mistreated. When only white people are in the room some people feel comfortable to make horrible and stupid comments, and the biggest problem is that they aren’t even aware of their ignorance. We, as white people, have to be leaders in this movement to end the racism and misunderstandings. If only African-Americans speak, I promise you, people only hear the “angry black people who are being ridiculous.” It takes white people to have the courage to speak up when you hear racism and let others know it’s not acceptable. The cops out there who are racist have had their thoughts fed into them by family members and friends who were also raised to have those thoughts. People aren’t born racist; their community makes them racist. We, as part of the community, have a duty to stand up and speak out. We all must stand against ignorance and let our voices and options be heard before those we love become #‎hashtags as well.

Posts like this by African Americans are seen in the eyes of many as angry rants. Posts like this from white people will be looked at differently. It is our obligation to stand up.

Where are the white people at?

Don’t be silent.”

Reader Comments 0

210 comments
Shelly C Foss
Shelly C Foss

Danielle Jean Morgan please read this article so you can be enlightened!

John Roberts
John Roberts

Articles like this is why people only buy your crap newspaper for the coupons....

Wilma Lloyd
Wilma Lloyd

Why shouldn't we be cautious. I'm cautious around everyone but I am still friendly with everyone. A person has to be aware of dangers of every kind in this sick, perverted world we live in today. Act like a decent human being, don't blame others for your problems. If you do negative things expect negative reactions. If you break laws then expect the lawman to be looking for you.

David Henderson
David Henderson

He says he sees how they are treated but fails to mention how they behave.

BaruchZed
BaruchZed

Dear white people...STOP white 'splainin' STOP "all lives matter" STOP doing whatever it is you may be doing to hide from your own racism and FACE YOURSELF. Own it. Remember how you learned it. Notice all of the subtle and not so subtle racism in the media. Notice your privilege! This is not about guilt or shame, it's about EMPOWERMENT. Empower yourself to be PART OF THE SOLUTION by coming to terms with your own programming. You can change it, but only if you face it first. If you want to help people of color to be safer, to be valued, then face the ways that you participate in institutional racism, and change. It's that simple.

Michael Yimesgen
Michael Yimesgen

There were times when some resented whites standing up and bringing notice to a humanitarian issue involving color - I teach students about people like Cheney, Scwerner and Goodman - and I could care less what ur skin color is and whether your message and method reaches more ppl than mine. I have learned, we cannot win a struggle if all of my family - black and white, brown, red and yellow - cannot relate to one another, walk in each other's shoes and at least try to, in all sincerity, reach a place where we can all say to one another: "I may not now what it is like for you, but I will try to understand..." I was so dismayed about what's happening, especially as I await the birth of my first born son...God's ppl are everywhere n darkness shall not overcome the light in all of us...blessings to you, Ron

Burnis Williams
Burnis Williams

We are still conditioning people in this country and, indeed, all over the globe to the myth of white superiority. We are constantly being told that we don't have racism in this country anymore, but most of the people who are saying that are white. White people think it isn't happening because it isn't happening to them.” Jane Elliot quote

Kimily Holland
Kimily Holland

Thank you Ron Clark for speaking out on this issue. It will take people of other color to speak on this problem .

Cyndie Steck
Cyndie Steck

Racism is taught at home and has been handed down from each generation. I am speaking about blacks and whites. The fortunate part is it is not true of all on either side. Poverty, parents attitudes and poor education plays a big role. Racism will continue until the minimum wage is increased, public education is improved and parents become more active in their children's lives.

BaruchZed
BaruchZed

Actually you have already been proven wrong.  Cities in the US where the minimum wage has gone up to $15 have NOT had increases in prices etc. as you assume.  

Minimum wage has no bearing on anything except to raise prices where implemented. United States taxpayers spend more on education than any other country. When a parent does attempt to discipline their child a government agency gets involved and punishes the parent. So...

Ronnie Kemp
Ronnie Kemp

Where do they get these dumbass selfies hahahahahhaha

Jim Chapman
Jim Chapman

I have been White all of my life and never felt any privilege. Some days I wonder if I will slip through the cracks no matter how hard I work.

Carie Moreau
Carie Moreau

I'm sick of this attitude. White people have been here, all along. A majority of us ensuring equal rights and protections. You sir are ignorant. White people say yes sir and no sir to the police. White young men are more likely to be shot by police than black. This attitude being taught that the rules shouldn't apply to me or that whitey is out to get me is creating this insane chapter in our history. To understand that people are truly equal, you must lose this attitude you have of privilege. It is an invention. Being white is not something to apologize for. Cops are not inherently racist and there have been tragedies like Sandra Bland and Walters that expose rotten eggs. That does not make every traffic stop about race. The numbers don't lie. Stop measuring these children you teach against the backdrop of being white. Instill civility in them. Connect with both parents and involve them. Stop feeding them lessons that make them fearful of people different from them. Stop hating me for your woes bc I am white. Stop assuming I enjoy less disadvantages than you bc I am white. Stop using bad cops as an excuse to espouse hatred of my race.

Jan Almond
Jan Almond

Just read all of these comments and it is quite revealing about who the haters are...just read and really pay attention to who is saying what about this issue. Very revealing.

Kori Robinson
Kori Robinson

How can the white people speak up if they don't even understand why people are so angry. Judging by these comments, white people truly feel like education is the key to not being discriminated against. Newsflash we have a black president, plenty of black politicians, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs. The point is we are discriminated because of the color of our skin not how many degrees we hold. If you don't understand our struggle please and I beg of you please stop giving your illegitimate opinion. Kind Regards, an educated black woman that still gets discriminated against

I am a White man, there are times when I get poor service or am otherwise treated poorly in everyday life. I just have to chalk it up as "that's life", you, being Black will see the very same treatment as racism.

Randy Palm
Randy Palm

will you boycott only white owned businesses or will your boycot include Asian, Hispanic, or black.....or ill it include all? Will you simply not patronize businesses, or attempt to keep them from doing business.

Hope Wills
Hope Wills

Consumerism doesn't stop. No matter what color you are. Soooo.

Veronica Marie
Veronica Marie

All businesses #nospending on tbis day. No we will not attempt to keep them from doing business at all, we are doing a peaceful demonstration

Smiley Mathieu
Smiley Mathieu

It should not be like that we all flowers with different colors that's what makes us human

Deep thinker...walk up to the next Black officer that you see and run your theory by him/her.

LamarDi Wayne Battle
LamarDi Wayne Battle

They may not be racist but they keep quiet. That's aiding and abetting . The getaway driver is guilty as the robber or so the cops say.

Paul Knot
Paul Knot

We all have the same abilities some choose not to try to get an education with most they choose crime

Sheryl Meyer
Sheryl Meyer

Oh b.s!! Where is my white priveleges? I have worked all my life, took care of myself and when I got in trouble I paid my debt. No special treatment here. So you can take your " white privelge bunk" and shove it where the Sun don't shine dude!!!!

Yes, when I was 12 years old in Atlanta's Lakewood Heights I was aggressively surrounded by Black kids who told me I'd better leave THEIR neighborhood. Didn't feel my White privilege then and have not seen it yet. I'm 70 by the way.

Rodney Eslinger
Rodney Eslinger

Every PROPAGANDA post like this SEGREGATES the state of Georgia, and is pure racebaiting, which is Racist. Ajc wants to make sure that people don't get along by putting garbage up like this! Total BS and Total Propaganda!

Ron Davis
Ron Davis

And the insanity continues. .....

Kathy Patreka
Kathy Patreka

John Fair - why don't you try writing at another time . . Perhaps when you stop seeing green and purple people. We here on the planet earth are dealing with real and serious issues.

Darren Serati
Darren Serati

White privilege is a made up racist term meant to shut down any debate from white people. It generalizes and marginalizes people based on the color of their skin

Mory Morales Wilson
Mory Morales Wilson

It is a very real concept that people like you apparently will never understand. It is not meant to shut down any debate from anyone. And your idea that it is a racist term is simply disingenuous on your part. You stand corrected.

Amanda L. Nielsen
Amanda L. Nielsen

White privilege is actually a term that researchers coined to explain the social benefits afforded to whites. It absolutely exists and is something you don't notice as a white person without humbling yourself and asking the hard questions. When you have been pulled over for a traffic violation. . .are you told to put you hands up? Are you told to exit the vehicle without cause? Is a gun pulled on you because you reach for your ID in your pocket or glovebox? Yeah, me neither. That is white privilege. And no, I had nothing just handed to me, but I also was not denied interviews because name was clearly identified as a black or Latina name. The research is out there. Humble yourself. Educate yourself. And stand with us against injustices. If America is not safe for all, then it is UNSAFE for all. Be blessed.

Urban America is, indeed, not safe. You know why it's unsafe.

Johnny Freebread
Johnny Freebread

It is not to imply that your life cannot be incredibly hard if you are white. It means your life isn't incredibly hard because you are white.

LamarDi Wayne Battle
LamarDi Wayne Battle

I guess Jim crow wasn't white privilege ?or when the white guy was standing by the black with a gun but the police took down and killed the black guy instead with the white guy watching with his hand on his gun. I guess that wasn't white privaledge either. I guess a thousand blacks in Mobile being set up and imprisoned by racist cops who admitted doing it was black privilege or affirmative action.

Patricia Baker Charles
Patricia Baker Charles

It is all about Choices! Anyone in this country can be whatever they want to be with hard work and perseverance. Thank you for doing a good job with your students!

Barbara Byrd Booker
Barbara Byrd Booker

Amen,we all know where the problem comes from and the hate comes from,they have been taught that from generations past.

Cherie Tluzek
Cherie Tluzek

What privilege do we get? I still work 40 hours a week, my husband does too. We pay all our bills, and lucky if anything is left over. So please tell me, so I can start getting this privilege.

Nika Jones Alban
Nika Jones Alban

Still waiting for my white privilege package to arrive in the mail...as we both work to support our children...pay for bills and groceries. ..and community college and put my bills in a pile and figure what I can afford this month and what gets paid whenever I can afford it...my car is 11 years old ..my kids need glasses

Mory Morales Wilson
Mory Morales Wilson

And yet statistics (& plain old real life), show that you still have more access & opportunity when it comes to housing, loans, schools, location of grocery stores, jobs, etc. you will also more than likely receive better treatment, hospitality, & customer service when you go to restaurants, shopping stores, call companies, etc. White privilege is much more than what you think it is, it exists on so many different levels of life. It's not about how much money you make. Smh.

Amanda L. Nielsen
Amanda L. Nielsen

White privilege exists and is something you don't notice as a white person without humbling yourself and asking the hard questions. When you have been pulled over for a traffic violation. . .are you told to put you hands up? Are you told to exit the vehicle without cause? Is a gun pulled on you because you reach for your ID on your purse or glovebox? Yeah, me neither. That is white privilege. And no, I had nothing just handed to me, but I also was not denied interviews because name was clearly identified as a black or Latina name. The research is out there. Humble yourself. Educate yourself. And stand with us against injustices. If America is not safe for all, then it is UNSAFE for all. Be blessed.

Marilyn Atkinson
Marilyn Atkinson

Amanda L. Nielsen you are my hero!! Please keep speaking up and educating!! #unity

Cherie Tluzek
Cherie Tluzek

How many whites have been pulled over, guns pulled on them during a traffic stop. Facts don't lie more whites have been killed by cops than blacks. Have you looked at my name? Does that look like a "white" name to you?