What’s the best way to teach white elementary school children how to examine their “whiteness” and realize the “privilege” that goes along with it? Move the black students into their own room and offer them comfort and cupcakes.
At least, that’s how they’re doing it at the Bank Street School for Children in Manhattan. The New York Post reported on the school’s “Racial Justice & Advocacy Curriculum” headed by social justice activist and “director of diversity,” Anshu Wahi.
The program has a few set “goals” that are presented in the K-8 classrooms at this elite private school. There are separate activities for black and white students. The black students are moved to a “dedicated space” where they will not only be the majority, but will “feel embraced” by minority teachers who will allow them to “share experiences about being a kid of color” and offer them a safe space to “voice their feelings.” Sometimes they even get cupcakes.
But the atmosphere for the white kids is decidedly different. They are essentially shamed for being white. They’re made aware “of the prevalence of Whiteness and privilege” and are challenged on the false “notions of colorblindness” and “assumptions of ‘normal,’ ‘good’ and ‘American.'” They are also taught to “understand and own European ancestry and see the tie to privilege” and finally, they will “learn models of White anti-racist advocates.”
And parents are furious. Speaking anonymously to The Post, they said:
“Ever since Ferguson, the school has been increasing anti-white propaganda in its curriculum.”
“One hundred percent of the curriculum is what whites have done to other races. They offer nothing that would balance the story. Any questions they can’t answer they rationalize under the pretense of ‘institutional racism,’ which is never really defined.”
These parents are noticing their young children coming home in tears feeling like bad people. (Plus, they’re mad they didn’t get any cupcakes!)
Wahi refused to answer The Post‘s questions, instead referring them to the communications office, but the report had access to conversations between the director and parents as well as various handouts. In one handout, Wahi explains her belief that children are born racist. The Post explains:
She believes the answer to racism is teaching white kids to see race in everything — a process called “white racial socialization.”
Forget teaching them to be color-blind — that’s a cop-out, she suggests, an excuse to ignore the hardships of people of color. It’s also a “tool of whiteness” to perpetuate the “oppression” of people of color, according to one paper she recommends parents read.
Wahi believes even white babies display signs of racism, so she encourages parents to talk to their kids about race as early as kindergarten, making them hyperaware of racial differences, and even “examine your own whiteness.”
The director downplays the segregation aspect of the program, preferring to call it “separation” instead, by saying the safe space is where children of color can share their “ouch moments” — that is, when they’ve been “victimized” by microaggressions.
Once, Wahi decided to show students the PBS documentary Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which glorified the extremely violent movement.
But this isn’t the first time parents have been troubled by Wahi’s actions. Shortly after the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist attack, she sent out an e-mail to parents, urging them to “be mindful of stereotypes and dangerous ideas” regarding Muslims or Arabs. She even linked to a Salon article titled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.”
Bank Street School isn’t the only private school doing this. According to The Post, there are several others in the New York area that are shaming it’s white students, as well.
This is Obama’s America, the land of racial healing.