The Fresno Unified School District hired Peter Beck to teach three cultural studies classes in its just-about-to-open Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School. According to the school district, he was one of four candidates that they interviewed who has experience teaching this type of classes. He's taught similar classes at the high school level for a decade.
But there is one problem that some local residents have a problem with: his skin color.
Rev. Karen Crozier, local pastor and activist, is leading an effort to protest the district's decision. She explained:
We're just saying what the community wants. We didn't fight for a white male or female teacher to educate our babies.
We still are at these racial fault lines, and we want someone who will be able to think critically about those racial fault lines and how do we help heal, to restore the problems that have existed.
In other words, Rev. Crozier supports discrimination of skin color for the position of teaching about the evils of discrimination of skin color.
The school district has not relented to the pressure thus far, and their spokesperson referenced the “controversial” criteria currently being used to pick potential hires:
We are always looking at the best, most experienced, most qualified who can provide the best education for our young people.
A trustee for the district, who was not involved in the actual decision to hire Beck, simply added:
I do not believe colorism trumps qualifications. I don't care whether it's white, whether it's black, brown or yellow.
Every non-bigoted American wants the country to be considered fair by all, but clearly there is a debate about how we get there as a country. It may seem a little silly, but one must ask this question given the issue: Should particular melanin-levels and cultural backgrounds be essential requirements for certain teaching positions, or should schools hire qualified candidates regardless of skin color in order to best educate our children?