This week, the Biden administration’s Department of Education proposed a rule that will allow taxpayer funds to be spent on anti-racism consultants and critical race theory curricula in public schools.
As the Free Beacon reported, “The rule would allocate federal funding for education contractors who work to ‘improve’ K-12 curriculum by promoting ‘racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically responsive teaching and learning practices.’ The rule would also require the Education Department to encourage social studies curricula that teach students about ‘systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.’”
Lest anyone doubt that the proposed rule change is ideologically motivated, it cites the work of the discredited New York Times’ “1619 Project” (the Biden administration calls it a “landmark” work) whose author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has recently been peddling lies about the origins of policing.
In other words, the Biden administration is opening the floodgates for anti-racism ideology to be taught uncritically to children in K-12 schools.
If you wonder what this might look like in practice, look at the schools already enacting similar programs (and lining the pockets of “anti-racism consultants”). As the Free Beacon notes, “The Illinois State Board of Education in February approved a set of learning standards that asks teachers to ‘mitigate’ behaviors that stem from ‘Eurocentrism’ and ‘unearned privilege’.” As Christopher Rufo described in City Journal recently, California’s new ethnic studies curriculum adopts a similar “education as social justice” approach, where “individual school districts have begun to implement programs that advocate ‘decolonizing’ the United States and ‘liberating’ students from capitalism, patriarchy, and settler colonialism.”
The use of “mitigate” in neo-racist ideology is intentional and incredibly polarizing. It is not enough to promote diversity; anti-racism requires that whiteness be “decentered.” This week, parents with children in Washington, D.C. public schools learned that the school system is eager to “mitigate the projected whitening” of many schools in the city. That’s right: Being white is something the school system wants to mitigate—i.e., make less severe. This wasn’t simply a statement about wanting to increase diversity at some of the city’s schools. It’s a distinct action item. The title of the proposal stated: “We need to preserve diversity and mitigate the projected whitening of the feeding pattern” of schools.
As the parent of two D.C. public school kids who happen to be white, how am I supposed to support a school system that is clearly hostile to my children based solely on an accident of their birth?
Never mind that D.C. is already a majority-minority city. Or that white kids are the racial minority in the city’s schools. D.C.’s public school population is 59 percent black and only 16 percent white (with 20 percent Hispanic and 5 percent Asian or multi-racial). Even at the schools considered the “whitest,” such as Wilson High School in the northwest quadrant of the city, whites are still not a majority (39 percent of students at Wilson are white).
Imagine the uproar if a suburban school district in a majority white state published a proposal that blatantly declared its intention to “mitigate the projected blackening” of its schools. It would be properly denounced as the worst sort of racism.
And yet, blatantly promoting the “mitigation” of whiteness is now hailed as the solution to structural racism by anti-racism ideologues and the many consultants and profiteers that have sprung up to promote their message in recent years. They have brought us such fads as mandatory racial “affinity group” meetings in schools and workplaces—merely a more anodyne way to say racially segregated.
One educational equity consulting group that trains teachers in anti-racist ideology claims that “racial affinity groups can help you dismantle white supremacy culture and build antiracist schools.” Interestingly, it is only “white folx” who are told to “excavate and reckon with their Whiteness, including their privilege and power. By contrast, for “BIPOC” participants, such groups are a time “to take care of themselves and one another while doing the following in the absence of Whiteness: Discuss the impact of White Supremacy Culture and the pressure of assimilation.”
Like many anti-racism grifts, the organization, Culturally Responsive Leadership, is also advertising a “Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools Conference” this summer, at the cost of $1,000 per ticket.
“Culturally responsive teaching” is another way of mitigating whiteness in schools, evidently. In states like Illinois, “culturally responsive teaching” standards have been enacted that, as Stanley Kurtz noted in National Review, mandate that teachers “assess how their biases … affect … how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.).” They also require teachers to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized people.”
If the Biden administration’s funding of anti-racist ideology in schools succeeds in indoctrinating children with the idea that they should “mitigate” their own immutable characteristics, they won’t be helping “marginalized people.” They will be marginalizing people of all races and backgrounds in the U.S. who understand the difference between healthy diversity with equality of opportunity and ideological power grabs pursued in the name of “equity.”