Racial Segregation in Seattle

by Christopher Paslay

The King County Library System’s fixation on skin color is quite ironic.

According to the King County Library System, there is rampant racism within their libraries. So much so that KCLS officials were forced to bring in Racial Equity Consultants, which in turn held racially segregated “listening sessions” to help root out systemic oppression.  These sessions were marked with pre-civil rights era signs which read DEI Session People of Color, and DEI Session People Who Are White.

A picture of the signs recently went viral on Twitter.

Christopher Rufo, a writer for the City Journal, reported the story:

At the King County Library System, a private consulting firm called Racial Equity Consultants recently held racially segregated “listening sessions.” The consultants “begin with an anti-oppression framework,” internal documents show, and they use segregated sessions to root out “institutional privileges and systemic inequities.” Widespread “institutional racism” is said to exist in the libraries, and employees who reject that premise are accused of “internalized racism.” When reached by e-mail, Racial Equity Consultants said that it was not authorized to comment.

The story prompted the KCLS to deny accusations of segregation, stating it was misinformation. “In 2019, under the guidance of our consultants, Racial Equity Consultants (REC), we provided caucused listening sessions for staff to help inform REC’s institutional racial equity assessment work,” the statement read in part. “These listening sessions were voluntary for staff and designed to gather information to help us better understand institutional racial equity concerns . . .”

Under REC’s “services” is something called “Racial Caucusing.” This is where “members work separately in their respective identity groups as either POC or White people,” the website states. “In racial caucus, POC and White people learn to work towards dismantling racism from their separate and particular positionality.” 

Separate — and segregated — positions. 

Racial Caucusing involves separating whites and people of color into “affinity groups” based on race, where POC are asked to reflect on their Internalized Racial Oppression, and whites are asked to reflect on Internalized Racial superiority. Some questions posed to whites are:

  • How was I socialized by IRS?
  • How do you collude with white culture in your institution/team at meetings, in organizing, during your day? 
  • How is white supremacy reflected in your institution/team?

Recently, at the urging of President Trump, the Department of Justice began investigating the City of Seattle for such trainings. Amazingly, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan stood by these workshops. 

“This is a stunning illustration of the administration’s warped priorities,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a recent statement. “In the midst of a nationwide reckoning with systemic racism and police violence, (the administration) is considering suing the City of Seattle for a training we provide that specifically seeks to combat racism and advance equity.”

Joe Biden, in the first Debate with President Trump, claimed these workshops are simply “benign sensitivity training.” 

But reality paints a different picture. A leaked video from a 2017 Seattle training shows facilitator Ashleigh Shackelford, a Black Lives Matter activist and organizer, disparaging whites in attendance. 

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has argued that racially segregated training sessions violate the 1964 Equal Employment Opportunity act, which prohibits employers from segregating employees based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”  

The KCLS’s fixation on skin color is quite ironic.  Named after Martin Luther King, Jr., the county is still judging its people by the color of their skin, and ignoring the content of their character. 

Dr. King is probably rolling over in his grave. 

Click here to watch the companion video, which provides additional commentary and video clips on the topic.  

The Battle to Keep ‘White Fragility’ Out of Okaloosa County Schools

by Christopher Paslay

The debate over the use of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility in a high school English classroom is heating up in the Okaloosa County School District. 

As Reported in the Northwest Florida Daily News:

A book called “White Fragility” has been removed from the reading list at Choctawhatchee High School at the direction of the Okaloosa County School District.

The book, whose full title reads “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism,” was not included on this year’s approved reading list for the Choctaw English Department, a statement from the School District said.

“More importantly, the Florida Department of Education has established standards for each course in the public-school setting that define what students should be taught in that course,” the statement said. “It is not apparent that this material aligned with the standards for the course.”

The book’s removal, which was prompted by a complaint from a parent, quickly sparked a response from social justice advocates. The Niceville chapter of Black Lives Matter soon got involved, and launched a petition to keep the book in the high school which has now received over 1,300 signatures.

As Jennie McKeon reported for WUWF:

According to the change.org petition, an English teacher at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach was planning a lesson on racism — past and present — using excerpts from the 2018 book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, a white academic with experience in diversity training. 

When a parent made a complaint, the Okaloosa County School District backed the parent. 

However, when Niceville parent Misti Schneidewind heard about the incident, she contacted her daughter, Hannah, who started the petition Wednesday. 

When she was home from Northeastern University during the summer, Hannah was part of the students that helped facilitate four Black Lives Matter billboards around the city. Hannah said the petition may not do much but raise awareness, but that’s OK with her.

“Many people in our community are so uncomfortable with this topic,” said Hannah. “But it’s not just something you can shut down and ignore.”

But those familiar with the book White Fragility know it’s more than simply a conversation about race, diversity, or multiculturalism; White Fragility is a polarizing and divisive book, which teaches that all whites are racist by default, suffer from white supremacy and anti-blackness, and labels all who challenge or disagree with this dogma as “fragile.” It is all about indoctrination through identity politics, and provides no real means for discussion, collaboration, or critical thinking. 

The Okaloosa County School Board agreed to read the book for themselves, and ruled that the book would be granted the opportunity to be considered as part of their English curriculum, as long as the proper procedure was followed.   

To watch my video commentary on the topic, which contains excerpts of the official Okaloosa County School Board meeting, please click here.