A physics teacher at a fancypants private high school in Seattle has created and is spreading the gospel of a six-day physics curriculum covering the all-important physics concepts of white privilege and social justice.
The teacher is Moses Rifkin. He teaches at University Prep, “a coeducational day school” where annual tuition for high schoolers runs $29,500. He designed the white privilege physics curriculum for seniors.
National Review noticed the existence of the white privilege physics curriculum after Rifkin described it in detail on Feb. 12 at Quantum Progress, an obscure blog. (The 1,012-word description is just a taste of things to come, by the way, as it is labeled “part 1” of at least three parts.)
The proprietor of Quantum Progress is John Burk, who teaches physics at an unidentified Delaware boarding school.
Rifkin and Burk connected rapturously at a recent People of Color Conference. Burk introduces white privilege physics by claiming that it “brilliantly brings lessons about social justice, privilege, and institutional racism into the physics classroom.”
Thereafter, Rifkin takes over.
“I was jealous of my colleagues in English and History who got to talk every day in class about society and how it worked and how to be moral and caring and kind, whereas those conversations with students only happened for me outside the classroom,” the science teacher explains.
He also laments that he toils away at “a private school” where he fears students “aren’t learning about their own privilege (academic and, in most cases, economic and racial).”
He justifies the six-day white privilege physics curriculum by saying that he tells students: “I’ve found that it’s useful to tie this into the overarching class goal I stated on the first day of physics class — to give them ‘a better sense of why things happen as they do.'”
One segment of Rifkin’s white privilege physics curriculum covers the paucity of black physicists.
“Why, percentage-wise, are there dramatically fewer black physicists than black Americans?” he implores. Rifkin’s homework then asks students tough physics questions: “Is it because black students are not interested in physics? Not capable? Something else?”
Another of Rifkin’s physics homework assignments is to have his students read an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh.
McIntosh, an inconsequential feminist, kicked off the white privilege movement with the 1987 essay. (RELATED: ‘White Privilege’ Activists Are Grateful That Everyone Thinks They Are Crackpot Racists)
“Hip-hop is not just memorizing words,” the white, certainly-never-poor rapper instructs in the song. “It’s rooted in authenticity something you literally can’t learn.”
Rifkin, who describes himself as a “Seattle physics teacher, coach,” Ultimate Frisbee and “social justice activist,” will present an Internet conference entitled “Teaching Social Justice in the Physics Classroom” on Wednesday Feb. 18. Space is limited.