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Book ‘White Fragility’ banned from Florida high school after parent complaints

A high school English teacher in Florida recently caused a stir after she used Robin DiAngelo’s best-selling book “White Fragility” in class.

Choctaw High School’s Keisha Thomas said she had read the book over the summer, chatted about it with her principal, and “felt supported.”

As such, she thought it would be ok to teach the subject matter to her students.

According to WEAR-3, Thomas said “We are dealing with race in our country and all over the world, why not have a safe place to talk about that?”

But once word got out about the book, Thomas said she got “calls from a few parents who was [sic] appalled.” She said some of the complaints noted racism “is not an issue” in society which, for her, meant “White Fragility” needs to be taught.

Nevertheless, Thomas was told to stop using the book — at least for the time being.

Last week, Thomas justified use of “White Fragility” to the Okaloosa County School District Board. Board member Dewey Destin told Thomas he knows “students are ready to talk about” race issues as he said those with whom he’s talked “wanted to have an open and free debate about the issues that are important in our times.”

Thomas told WEAR-3 that parents should show a little trust in their kids’ teachers: “[U]nderstand we are dealing with a culture that deals with race and diversity, so we have to talk about it.”

Interestingly, one of Thomas’s justifications for using “White Fragility” is to have her students “think critically.” But as noted by The Fix, DiAngelo’s book doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for that. For example, DiAngelo claims “when a person denies they are racist, this denial is actually proof of both racism and white fragility.” The violates the principle of falsifiability — that is, “for anything to be considered scientific, it must be able to be proven false.”

Meanwhile, over in California in sort of a reverse situation, the Burbank Unified School District’s quest for anti-racism led it to ban “until further notice” the classics “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Of Mice and Men,” “The Cay” and “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.”

These books were “challenged” by four parents, three of whom are black, because of “potential harm” to black students.

Read the WEAR-3 article.

MORE: UConn pays Robin DiAngelo $20,000 for antiracism workshop

MORE: Robin DiAngelo says whites must stop becoming teachers

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 15 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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