There was a time in America when racial discrimination and segregation were not just supported by the government, but imposed. Restaurants had separate areas for black and white Americans, people were only allowed to use restrooms and water fountains specifically designated by their skin color, and black and white students were taught in separate school systems. . It was only after Brown v. Supreme Court Board of Education in 1954 that the nation began to integrate its educational institutions and heal the wounds of the Jim Crow era, moving closer to a society that does not judge individuals by their skin color or ethnic origin.
But fast forward to 2022 and the pendulum has swung sharply in the opposite direction. Today, in the name of “equity,” there is a major push to incorporate elements of the thinking that was pervasive in Jim Crow times in K-12 schools today, but this times from people who present themselves as social justice warriors, bringing back a race-conscious school in the name of anti-racism.
Many school districts now promote racial affinity groups, which the Great Schools Partnership defines as “a group of people who share a common race who come together for the purpose of finding connection, support and inspiration.” The ostensible purpose of these groups is to “provide participants with support to survive the racial isolation that exists in many schools and institutions.”
Affinity groups are generally based on common interests, but racial affinity groups are specifically designed to provide activities and meetings that include or exclude students based on their skin color.
The Wellesley, Massachusetts school district recently settled a lawsuit brought by the parenting advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE) over its implementation of racial affinity groups. One of the points of contention was an ad for an event that specifically excluded white students:
“Note: This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and students of color, *not* for students who identify as white only,” the ad reads. “If you identify as white and need help dealing with recent events, please know that I am here for you and your guidance counselors. If you need to know more about why this is not for white students, please ask me!”
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) provided another example of this disturbing trend when it was reported that its new contract with the Minneapolis Teachers’ Federation (MFT) stipulated that white teachers must be fired or reassigned before ” educators of color” in the event the district is forced to downsize.
When the policy goes into effect, it will mean that if a nonwhite educator is likely to be fired, the district will instead fire a white teacher with “nearest” seniority.
Faced with the inevitable backlash, Greta Callahan, the president of the teachers’ union, redoubled her efforts. “This contractual language is something that we are, first of all, extremely proud to have achieved, but it also does not go far enough… We need to support and retain our educators, especially those who are under- represented, and this language takes a tiny tiny step towards that, but does not solve the real crisis that we find ourselves in right now,” she said.
But this kind of racial thinking when it comes to teaching children is rampant. Last year, a third-grade teacher at a school in Cupertino, California, gave a lesson in which students had to identify the parts of their identity that were either privileged or oppressed. The students were tasked with creating an “identity card” that included their race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender and sexuality. Students were then asked to circle the parts that represented power and privilege.
These are just a few of the many examples of ideas inspired by critical race theory presented to young children in the classroom.
In attempting to right the wrongs of one of the most evil eras in American history, the hard left is pushing an overcorrection in our public schools that looks more like the wrongs of the past than genuine solutions. Worse still, this is not just happening in schools; this extreme pendulum swing occurs in many other American institutions.
If this trend is allowed to continue, the results will inevitably cause far more harm than good.
Jeff Charles is the host of the “A Fresh Perspective” podcast and a contributor for RedState and Liberty Nation.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.