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Oklahoma high school teacher: 'To be white is to be racist, period'

Posted at 4:53 PM, Oct 18, 2016

A high school in Norman, Oklahoma has apologized after a class discussion about racism offended some students.

According to KFOR-TV, an unidentified teacher told his class that “to be white is to be racist, period,” during an elective philosophy course at North Norman High School.

One student began recording the discussion on her cell phone as the teacher played a video about the mistreatment of Native Americans in the United States. She also recorded the teacher’s comments about white privilege and racism.

"Am I racist? And I say yea. I don't want to be. It's not like I choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised?" the teacher is heard saying on tape.

"You start telling someone something over and over again that's an opinion and they start taking it as fact," the student told KFOR. "So I wanted him to apologize and make it obvious and apparent to everyone that was his opinion."

Norman Public Schools released the following statement:

"Racism is an important topic that we discuss in our schools. While discussing a variety of philosophical perspectives on culture, race and ethics, a teacher was attempting to convey to students in an elective philosophy course a perspective that had been shared at a university lecture he had attended. We regret that the discussion was poorly handled. When the district was notified of this concern it was immediately addressed. We are committed to ensuring inclusiveness in our schools." - Dr. Joe Siano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.