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Elementary school ‘whiteness’ lesson: Sympathizing with police is ‘racist’

School suggests controversial “1619 Project” as supplementary material for educators.

An elementary school in one of the country’s wealthiest districts will require fourth and fifth graders to read a book which asserts sympathizing with law enforcement is “racist.”

Students at Gladwyne Elementary School in Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District will get “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” which also claims it’s “racist” to not watch the news and showcases Colin Kaepernick as a hero in the fight against racial injustice.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, the same curriculum uses “A Kid’s Book About Racism” for kindergartners and first graders.

It seems the four “cultural proficiency” lessons already in use by Gladwyne were deemed “insufficient” by the school’s (aptly named) Cultural Proficiency Committee. Principal Veronica Ellers noted in a June email that the school plans “to continue designing lessons that promote anti-racist actions in the upcoming 20-21 school year and beyond.”

District spokeswoman Amy Buckman added that Lower Merion “fully supports the ongoing implementation of an anti-racist curriculum in its schools.”

“A Kid’s Book About Racism” reads in part “[racism] happens all the time. Sometimes it shows up in small ways. Like a look, a comment, a question, a thought, a joke, a word, or a belief…. If you see someone being treated badly, made fun of, excluded from playing, or looked down on because of their skin color call it racism.”

One outspoken parent was angry enough about these developments to pull her children out of the school:

Elana Yaron Fishbein, a mother of two boys and a doctor of social work, penned a letter to the district’s superintendent, board members, and the school’s principal demanding the school remove its new “cultural proficiency” curriculum.

“The book teaches kids not only to defy parents but to hate themselves,” Fishbein told the Washington Free Beacon. “To hate their parents also because they are white. By default, [the kids] are white, and they’re privileged, and they’re bad. [The school] is teaching this to little kids.” …

If kindergartners can be called racist for asking questions, so can parents who question the “anti-racism” being taught to their children. Fishbein told the Free Beacon that parents privately message her echoing their disapproval of the cultural proficiency curriculum, but are scared to speak out for fear of being branded racist.

“If you say anything that’s racist according to the school or parent’s definition of racism, you’re out,” Fishbein said. “You’re called a racist. No wonder the parents don’t talk.”

According to Gladwyne’s website, the Lower Merion InterSchool Council Committee on Equity & Race will host a Zoom discussion later this month on the book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. As founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson looks into cases involving “wrongly convicted or harshly punished defendants from marginalized groups including juveniles, the poor, and the mentally ill.”

Despite this noble endeavor, the author believes slavery never ended after the Civil War — it “just evolved.” He told graduates at the University of Delaware just this four years ago.

More worrisome is that Gladwyne suggests Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “1619 Project” as “supplemental material” for the Stevenson discussion.

Read the Free Beacon article.

MORE: Antiracism mandates: ‘huge source of potential illegal racial discrimination’

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 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.