In a recent tweet, antiracist educator Ibram X. Kendi wrote, “Some white colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.”
These comments were made in the context of the discussion of SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two children from Haiti. Kendi ultimately argued that White adoptive parents of Black children can still be racist.
Tragically, when Ibram X. Kendi sees whites welcoming black children into their family, his psyche turns to colonization and racism. This video looks at Kendi’s controversial statements, as well as his polarizing and counterproductive antiracist ideas.
“Nice White Parents” is the New York Times‘ new five-part podcast series about “building a better school system, and what gets in the way.” This video analyzes part #1, titled “The Book of Statuses.”
In 2015, a cohort of proactive parents, many of whom were white, enrolled into the Boerum Hill School for International Studies in Brooklyn, NY. After opening a dual-language French program for the middle school, funds poured in. Soon test scores shot up, as did enrollment and interest in the school. By 2019, the school became successfully integrated, and had an even distribution between white, black, and Latino students. But not all were happy.
Three writers with an interest in Robin DiAngelo’s white fragility theory — an economist (Jonathan Church), a Christian and theoretical chemist (Neil Shenvi), and a Philadelphia public school teacher (Christopher Paslay) — critique DiAngelo’s controversial concept.
The New York Times’ ‘1619 Project’ is a problematic work of historical revisionism, and has been criticized by historians and scholars on all sides of the political spectrum for its fundamental inaccuracies and biased narrative.
John McWhorter, an African American professor of linguistics at Columbia University, takes issue with the historical facts at the center of the “1619 “Project.” As McWhorter writes in Reason Magazine:
The verdict is in: The idea that America’s real founding was in 1619 does not wash. And yet, it will be considered a mark of sophistication to pretend otherwise.
Since last August, The New York Times has asked us to consider that America’s real founding was not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first Africans were brought to these shores. Nikole Hannah-Jones teaches that the Revolutionary War was fought mainly not to escape British tyranny, but out of fear that British tyranny was about to threaten the institution of slavery.
In a Wall Street Journal article titled “The ‘1619 Project’ Gets Schooled,” Elliot Kaufman further elaborates on the criticisms of well-respected scholars and historians:
“So wrong in so many ways” is how Gordon Wood, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the American Revolution, characterized the New York Times’s “1619 Project.” James McPherson, dean of Civil War historians and another Pulitzer winner, said the Times presented an “unbalanced, one-sided account” that “left most of the history out.” Even more surprising than the criticism from these generally liberal historians was where the interviews appeared: on the World Socialist Web Site, run by the Trotskyist Socialist Equality Party.
In an Atlantic article titled “A Matter of Facts,” Sean Wilentz, Professor of history at Princeton University, detailed the letter he wrote to the New York Times, requesting the publication correct its basic mistakes:
On December 20, the Times Magazine published a letter that I signed with four other historians—Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, James Oakes, and Gordon Wood. Our letter applauded the project’s stated aim to raise public awareness and understanding of slavery’s central importance in our history. Although the project is not a conventional work of history and cannot be judged as such, the letter intended to help ensure that its efforts did not come at the expense of basic accuracy. Offering practical support to that end, it pointed out specific statements that, if allowed to stand, would misinform the public and give ammunition to those who might be opposed to the mission of grappling with the legacy of slavery. The letter requested that the Times print corrections of the errors that had already appeared, and that it keep those errors from appearing in any future materials published with the Times’ imprimatur, including the school curricula the newspaper announced it was developing in conjunction with the project.
Curiously, the New York Times chose to let the flawed revisionist history stand in an effort at bringing awareness to past racial injustice. But as America’s leading historians have pointed out, altering facts to forward so-called social justice causes is in fact doing a disservice to the cause itself. How is teaching America’s youth inaccurate depictions of America’s past going to help educate them as knowledgeable and informed citizens? Accuracy of information is necessary to allow students to think critically about the world around them, and altering such information — in the name of social justice — is not providing our children the resources they need to become proactive, self-empowered learners.
Reframing America as country based on slavery and victimization — rather than on freedom, liberty, and democracy — works well if the aim is to indoctrinate our children into the polarizing and divisive world of identity politics.
“We are now to instruct black kids just a few years past diapers in this way of thinking — in studied despair over events far in the past, and a sense that it is more enlightened to think of yourself as a victim than as an actor,” McWhorter writes in his Reason article. “At no other point in human history have any people, under any degree of oppression, conceived of this kind of self-image as healthy . . .”
Yet American schools are doing just that.
Which is why Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., recently introduced a bill that proposes denying federal funds to schools that incorporate the New York Times’ controversial “1619 Project” into its teaching curriculum, and why President Trump said Sunday that the Department of Education is examining the use of the New York Times Magazine‘s 1619 Project in schools, and warned that institutions that teach this alternative narrative of American history could lose federal funding.
The insistence on maintaining the 1619 idea is rooted in a pervasive modern notion that when evaluating race issues, it is a form of intelligence and morality to duck truth when it is inconvenient to a victimhood-focused construct. W.E.B. Du Bois tackled the Dunning School with facts; today people sensing themselves as his heirs insist we accept alternative facts. Yet, to point out that neither Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, nor Martin Luther King Jr. would see this as progress renders one a heretic. This is one more thing we must overcome.
A new directive states that Federal agencies must cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund trainings using critical race theory, white privilege, or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist.
The toxic, discriminatory tenets at the center of critical race theory — which serve as the basis for anti-racism, white fragility, white privilege, and so-called white supremacy culture — are being exposed at the highest levels of government. At the urging of Christopher F. Rufo, a contributing editor for City Journal whose investigative reporting has exposed how critical race theory has infiltrated the Federal government, the heads of executive departments and agencies have been directed to identify and terminate all Federal training which teaches all whites are inherently racist.
It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.
For example, according to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.” According to press reports, in some cases these training have further claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.
These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce. We can be proud that as an employer, the Federal government has employees of all races, ethnicities, and religions. We can be proud that Americans from all over the country seek to join our workforce and dedicate themselves to public service. We can be proud of our continued efforts to welcome all individuals who seek to serve their fellow Americans as Federal employees. However, we cannot accept our employees receiving training that seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.
The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions. Accordingly, to that end, the Office of Management and Budget will shortly issue more detailed guidance on implementing the President’s directive. In the meantime, all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory/9 “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un- American propaganda training sessions.
The President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States. The President has a proven track record of standing for those whose voice has long been ignored and who have failed to benefit from all our country has to offer, and he intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed. The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.
This directive from Vought is long overdue. The toxic, divisive policies at the center of critical race theory — which extend to anti-racism, white privilege, white fragility, white supremacy culture, implicit bias, and microaggressions — must no longer be tolerated. Singling people out by their race or culture clearly violates Federal anti-discrimination laws, and has been doing so for some time.
One can only hope state and local governments will use Federal agencies as a guide, and in turn commit to routing out such divisive trainings and discriminatory practices as well.
The above video is an episode of “The Glenn Show” featuring Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury and Columbia University linguistic professor John McWhorter, who take a critical look at the New York Times controversial 1619 Project.
McWhorter explains that to boil-down the complexities of the American experiment — and everything that’s happened over the past 400 years — simply to slavery is intellectually lazy and dishonest.
McWhorter states, “it’s simplistic thinking, and none of this work, to me, provides a coherent justification for why we should go from the way we looked at these things 30 years ago, to this new paradigm, where we reduce everything to this moralizing . . . and that’s what it is . . . it’s not intellectual, it’s moralizing . . . about slavery and slavery alone. And so I’m disappointed because I feel like it’s low rent thinking disguised as higher wisdom.”
A leaked slide from an employee training course at the Goodyear Topeka plant revealed a discriminatory policy that allowed Black Lives Matter shirts and apparel to be worn by employees, but not Blue Lives Matter. Later, the company clarified that they ban all political speech outside racial justice and equity issues. But what are “racial justice” and “equity issues” if not political? The above video is a companion to the blog post “BLM, Goodyear, and the Censoring of Free Speech.” Thanks for watching.
Either ban all political slogans or provide an honest forum open to all perspectives.
There’s an old saying that used to govern corporate H.R. departments and most social gatherings: Don’t talk about religion or politics. Religion and politics — while extremely important and necessary — can be quite polarizing, and have the tendency to hurt feelings and damage friendships, and alienate employees and customers.
This hasn’t stopped corporate America (as well as schools and sports) from pumping-in politics by the boat-load, embedding partisan messaging and agendas in their products, services, and curriculum for all to see.
Recently the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company went down this slippery slope. A leaked slide from an employee training course at the Goodyear Topeka plant revealed a discriminatory policy that allowed Black Lives Matter shirts and apparel to be worn by employees, but not Blue Lives Matter (5 Dallas officers were shot and killed at a BLM protest in 2016) or All Lives Matter clothing. After Goodyear’s stock took a nosedive overnight, dropping more than 4%, the company scrambled to explain it was all simply a misunderstanding, that the slide was not representative of the national office, and that their policies do not allow for political speech in the workspace.
To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination. To enable a work environment free of those, we ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.
Goodyear’s response lays bare the obvious political games America’s corporations (as well as schools and sports) are playing with semantics. What are “racial justice” and “equity issues” if not political? This obfuscating language is simply a way to deem some forms of political speech more legitimate than others, and is a tactic that’s being employed by many across America. While you may agree with the goal of equity and justice for all, you may choose to express this by believing All Lives Matter.
But this is not acceptable according to the gradians of today’s woke culture, a network of openly partisan gatekeepers who get to define terms and language (the way Robin DiAngelo has redefined “whiteness” to mean inherent racism), and who not only control which politics are deemed acceptable, but what even qualifies as “politics” at all; the political agenda underlying BLM is so deep, partisan, and well-funded, it’s ludicrous to suggest this organization/slogan is not political.
Mascaraing under the guise of “equity” and “racial justice” is the latest tactic to silence opposing political points of view while keeping other political agendas front and center. Chloe Clark, an English professor at Iowa State University, was forced to correct her syllabus after informing her students that they could not submit work that opposes Black Lives Matter, abortion, and other social issues. Although the university said in a statement that the syllabus “was inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students,” the fact that Clark felt she could openly censor free speech in such a manner is a cause for concern.
Earlier this summer Starbucks, in an effort to keep their image clean and stay out of the muck of political controversy, issued a policy that barred employees from engaging in political speech at work. The company explicitly stated that BLM attire was prohibited under its dress code policy, which did not allow for any kind of political expression to be worn, because it could incite violence, controversy, or unrest. Interestingly, this policy only lasted several days before the political might of BLM forced Starbucks to reverse its decision and announce its support of Black Lives Matter; all other forms of political expression, such as All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, or Unborn Lives Matter, are still banned.
The NBA is perhaps the highest profile supporter of BLM, and one of the biggest censors of free speech it doesn’t agree with. The league has not only painted Black Lives Matter on their Orlando court, but also allows for players to wear the name of the activist organization on the backs of their jerseys as well, along with over a dozen approved so-called “social justice” slogans; these slogans all fall within the narrow window of perceived equity and racial justice, and the phrases All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and Unborn Lives Matter are prohibited.
The phrase Free Hong Kong is also banned. In an effort to bring awareness to the human rights atrocities being committed by the Chinese government against Hong Kong protesters in October of 2019 (such as police clubbing demonstrators and shooting teenage protesters), Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy demonstrators. The tweet tarnished the NBA’s extremely lucrative relationship with China, so Morey became an instant outcast.
Lebron James, at an effort at damage control, stated that Morey was “misinformed” or “not really educated,” suggesting that the clubbing and shooting of Hong Kong protesters by the Chinese police (and the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has arbitrarily detained between 1 million and 3 million Uighurs in so-called “reeducation centers” and forced them to undergo psychological indoctrination programs), was some kind of misunderstanding. Incredibly, when NBA fans tried to side with Hong Kong protesters and design “Free Hong Kong” NBA jerseys on-line, the NBA first blocked — then completely disabled — the personalized apparel option on its website.
The polarizing, agenda-driven BLM movement still has a home on NBA courts and player jerseys, however. But this kind of selective political censorship doesn’t sit well with everyone. Former NFL all-pro defensive end Marcellus Wiley, who is African American, said he thought the NBA painting “Black Lives Matter” on the court was a bad idea. He stated on the FOX Sports 1 show:
There’s a problem with when you start to go down this road of the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and how much social space is allowed for those who don’t support in that same space, and that’s where I wonder where this is going to go in terms of identity politics. We know what identity politics does: it divides and it polarizes.
Wiley also highlighted concerns over Black Lives Matter’s mission statement, whose goal is to “dismantle the patriarchy” and “disrupt the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” Wiley explained many people have not taken time to read or understand BLM saying, “I don’t know how many people really look into the mission statement of Black Lives Matter, but I did, and when you look at it, there’s a couple things that jump out to me.”
Wiley went on to explain why BLM is detrimental to Black families and personal success. He said that growing up, he observed friends who didn’t have intact family structures and they “found themselves outside of their dreams and goals and aspirations.” Wiley cited data backing up his observations about children raised in a single-parent home: “[They] are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 6 times more likely to be in poverty, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 20 times more likely to end up in prison, 32 times more likely to run away from home.”
These facts brought up by Wiley don’t seem to concern the NBA, or the NEA, for that matter; the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in America, has officially embraced the BLM movement, promoting BLM’s goals and mission statements in official BLM curriculum.
The ultimate issue, however, is not the agenda of BLM, but the limiting of free speech. Either ban all political slogans or provide an honest forum open to all perspectives. Doing otherwise is dishonest and un-American, and a violation of the First Amendment.
Everyone must come out of their comfort zone and take responsibility, and roll up their sleeves to do the hard work of finding win-win solutions.
Correction: When this article was originally published on August 18, 2020, I mistakenly tied Baylor University sociology professor George Alan Yancey together with Emory University philosophy professor George Dewey Yancy. The intention was to write solely about George Alan Yancey, whose Mutual Accountability model I very much admire and respect. I have rewritten the article to correct the mix-up. My sincere apologies to both professors.
In a July 16th article on Patheos.com, Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey wrote a very powerful critique of white fragility and anti-racism titled, “Not White Fragility, Mutual Responsibility,” where he proposed having a true dialogue on race relations, not merely a monologue disguised as a conversation. Named the Mutual Accountability Approach, Yancey suggested using sociological research (Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening) to unify rather than divide, making solutions win-win rather than win-lose.
Historically speaking, there have been systems in America that have favored one group over another, and the effects of this are still felt today. As Yancey states in his Patheos article, “We need to move from these racialized institutions that work better for majority group members to systems that are fair for everybody.”
However, certain aspects of anti-racism including DiAngelo’s White Fragility — in an effort to level the playing field — actually flip the tables on whites, alienating them from the conversation on race and from giving meaningful input on solutions.
As Professor Yancey writes: “People of color in their zeal to correct racial problems can also go too far and set up unfair conditions for whites. Group interest theory indicates that allowing either group total control of what we are going to do means that this group will create rules that benefit them but put others at a disadvantage.”
This is where Professor Yancey’s Mutual Accountability Approach comes into play. His solution is that we all have the responsibility to communicate and listen to one another. He states, “We have to work with each other to find win-win solutions instead of relying on win-lose scenarios. I need to hear from whites about the concerns and they have to listen to me about mine. Only then can we work towards fashioning solutions to the racialized problems in our society that can serve all of us well.”
Is there research indicating that working together can help us deal with racial alienation? Empirical work suggests that a theory known as the contact hypothesis may offer us answers. It basically states that under the right conditions intergroup contact produces more tolerance and less prejudice. While I do not want to go into all of the conditions necessary, there is research indicating that when we have an overarching identity with those we are in contact with that we move from seeing them as foreigners to seeing them as part of our group. At that point our biases towards former outgroup members tend to become dramatically reduced. . . .
This very process can bring us together and reduce the racial animosity that never seems to go away in our society. But it will be hard work. We will not easily give up the idea that we can get everything we want or that we are right but those who disagree with us have no clue. But if we can overcome these tendencies and learn how to fashion win-win solutions, then we have a chance to move forward.
This is interesting, as Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility Theory — as well as many anti-racist approaches — do not allow for this mutual conversation. Again, most modern anti-racists like DiAngelo call for a monologue, where whites are viewed as “racially illiterate” and are expected to “shut up and listen.”
Yancey says this is a recipe for continued problems. The model may work for a while, but if both groups are not part of solutions, it will perpetuate backlash, resentment, and continue the cycle of inequality.
At the center of Yancey’s mutual accountability approach is active listening — something antiracists do push, but only on whites. Yancey writes:
If you rely merely on accusation, blaming and canceling to compel whites to support you, we will get what we have gotten thus far. Some whites will respond to that. Others will engage in a backlash. Others will simply ignore us. I run into plenty of whites who are not insensitive to the plight of people of color, but have been called racist one time too many and now want nothing to do with anything antiracists or with ideas such as white fragility. Ironically sometimes I run into these whites after they have read some of my work and are willing to work on race relations again because of my work. It is not that I am magical or anything like that. It is that when I write or speak, I do so from having listened to whites and thus have knowledge on how to reach them. . . .
If you are still not convinced that working for win win solutions is the best approach, then let me frame this one final way. Think about the whites who want to figure out how to deal with our racial conflict but are not comfortable with just being told to shut up. They are open to learning about institutional racism but not open to not having a say in how to deal with it. So their choice is an anti-racism program where they have no say in the process or to just ignore racism altogether. My experience is that many of them will try to go the anti-racism route for a while but will be called a racist or be asked to turn a blind eye to a person of color misusing his or her cultural power and eventually gave up. Then that person will still be concerned about racial issues but will not accept a “white fragility” path towards a solution. . . .
Will that person move towards ignoring racial issues? That is a possibility. Most likely though that person will not have a solid way to deal with his or her concern about racial alienation or racism. They will probably be paralyzed not trusting the rhetoric heard by anti-racism activists but wanting to do something. I know because I have met these people and heard their stories. . . .
We need solution that pull us together, not drive us apart. That is the only way we will have sustainable pathways away from the racial alienation poisoning our society. We do not need to engage in more recrimination and name calling. Victories gained by those techniques will face constant challenge and keep our society in turmoil. The way forward is to move forward together. . . .
To summarize, in contrary to the questionable research surrounding White Fragility, research suggests that a common identity and fruitful interracial contact can reduce prejudice. My work indicates that interracial couples and multiracial churches have found ways to solve racial problems with respect and understanding those in other races. Conceptually the mutual accountability approach is more likely to produce unity across racial and ideological groups since it does not force anyone to totally ignore their own group interest – just compromise a bit on them. I choose to head in a direction with empirical support and that is tied to bringing us together. Doing this will be hard. Extremely hard. But why should we be surprised at that? Usually the things worth having are hard.
Amen. Everyone must come out of their comfort zone and take responsibility, and roll up their sleeves to do the hard work of finding win-win solutions.