This past week, a “left-wing New York City Democrat” parent wrote to The Atlantic’s “Homeroom” section lamenting how his kid’s private school is becoming overly “woke” — that is, it’s allegedly putting social justice ahead of academics.
“The school has brought in a consultant and now the kids are reading all this new woke literature, and at the expense of the classics we all grew up on, like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” the parent wrote. “I believe strongly in equal rights for all people. And I think we’ve still got a ways to go when it comes to equality. But I don’t want school to make my son feel bad just because he’s white. It’s not like he owned slaves.”
“Homeroom” proprietors Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer — who were educated in, and later taught in, private schools — told the parent they “applaud the willingness to change” in schools:
Of course, the execution matters enormously, and some schools have made smarter changes than others. But in our view, if you believe in equity and are concerned about your child’s education—as you do and are—you should be welcoming the school’s push to weave racial literacy more deeply into its curriculum. …
[I]f done right, anti-racist curricula will be challenging and edifying, giving children a meaningful, relevant education—not making your child feel bad, as you fear, but giving him the tools and knowledge to navigate a complex world.
That conditional statement is the key: “If done right.” And that’s the problem. “Right” means different things to different people, and for pro-“anti-racism” educators, “right” means a radical transformation of how schools function: race should be part of every aspect.
Which, of course, is ridiculous. The only areas in which an “anti-racist” curriculum realistically has a place is the social sciences and language arts, but it shouldn’t replace traditional materials. There’s nothing wrong with students reading contemporary novels by minority authors alongside classics like “Huck Finn.”
But then we have things like Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project which, horrifyingly, is used in more than 4,500 schools across the country. Jones ridiculously won a Pulitzer for her work, despite the 1619 Project not being history. Her effort is what critical race theorists actually want American history to be.
Critical race theorists won’t stop at history and language arts, however. They’re hard at work trying to inject its poison into subjects like math and elsewhere. Look at what California’s new math curriculum does, for example: “Mathematics has traditionally been viewed as a neutral discipline …” and math education initially was only for “privileged, young, white men.” So much for Furious Styles’ statement that “math is universal,” eh?
Freireich’s and Platzer’s “Homeroom” response was lauded by many on social media, but with caveats. Keep in mind that however tactful this duo is in their advice to the letter writer, there are many, many more who feel as follows. And this means CRT opponents had better be willing to meet such head-on — and with the same vigor.
As the parent of a Black child in private school (& a former student myself) these hot takes from white parents about their hand-wringing over their kids reading & re-examining history & works inclusive of other cultures is infuriating & insulting to me 🤬 https://t.co/9iuGlBZBny
— God-is Rivera (@GodisRivera) May 5, 2021
Their response was sooo kind and understanding 👏🏾 The worlds needs more people like them 👍🏾
It needs them because I’m tired of dealing with those questions and my utmost civil reply would have been “Shut up.” lol
— Ballin Wonderworld (@Day_Zhi) May 5, 2021
How can we white people call ourselves “educated” while ignoring the experiences, history, accomplishments, and struggle of people of color? If you’re not feeling uncomfortable, you’re not changing the way you think or feel, and you are not educated or “worldly”
— Christine Lively 🦛 (@XineLively) May 5, 2021
as a white person who went to a school focused on social justice and sent my daughters to the same,🤮. the need for the education is proven by the complaints about it, and there’s 0 conflict with what they say they want. e.g. our achievements have included ivy league etc.
— Lucinda (@LucindaD) May 5, 2021
It’s infuriating and insulting to everyone who isn’t stupid and a racist.
— Jocelyn Tyler (@jtyler1128) May 5, 2021
Thankfully, this appears to be happening: People are rising to the challenge and are battling those who want to turn places of learning into racial indoctrination (and submission) centers. But heed National Review’s Samantha Harris: The main focus should be in the courts, but especially in the realm of public opinion because CRT/anti-racism advocates will always package their product to appear much more palatable than it actually is.
IMAGE: Heritage Foundation / YouTube screencap