Last October there were a few Seattle schools that had a Black Lives Matter Day to talk about racism in the United States. Some teachers even wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school in solidarity against the police brutality and racism against people of color. You may think that the liberal area of Seattle would not have any problem with this, but you’d be wrong.
Many parents sent angry emails to their schools when they found out that school teachers showed that they cared about racism. These parents complained that the schools were biased and racially divisive. Importantly, these areas are some of the wealthiest and whitest parts of Washington (and the US), but they certainly are not immune to racism.
Here are a few emails white parents sent their school’s principals after they found out some teachers wore shirts that said black lives matter. The emails are public record since they were sent to public school officials, but the names had to be removed.
“Can you please address … why skin color is so important? I remember a guy that had a dream. Do you remember that too? I doubt it. Please show me the content of your character if you do.” – Parent at Laurelhurst Elementary
“What about red and black or yellow and white and black? How does supporting Black Lives Matter help that gap?” – Parent at Eckstein Middle School
“I’m writing to share what my 9-year-old daughter told me about what she learned in class regarding the Black Lives Matter discussion. She said she ‘felt bad about being white.’ And that ‘police lie and do bad things.’” Parent at Bryant Elementary
Wow. It seems like these liberal white parents are happy to say they are against racism, until they actually confronted with their biases.
Stephan Blanford, who studied race and public education for his PhD and is also a Seattle school board member, had a few comments on the issue.
“This is what I’ve come to call Seattle’s passive progressiveness. We vote the right way on issues. We believe the right way. But the second you challenge their privilege, you see the response.”
The Northwest is an extremely progressive area of the United States. Progressives from these areas may scoff at the racism in the Southeast, but it seems they should look in the mirror before casting too much judgement.