Anti-racist educator Ibram X. Kendi recently headlined the American Federation of Teachers’ TEACH 21 Conference, speaking at a livestream session titled, “A Conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.” The official AFT conference agenda stated, “Hear from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in this free-ranging discussion with student activists and AFT members on his scholarship and on developing anti-racist mindsets and actions inside and outside classrooms.”
During the livestream, which has not been posted on the AFT website, Dr. Kendi compared those who oppose critical race theory to Southern segregationists from the 1950s. According to an article titled “Anti-racist education benefits all of us” published on the AFT’s website:
Ingram asked Kendi about the furor over critical race theory and related pushes against teaching about enslavement and discrimination. Kendi compared it to the reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, when some white people were fearful that desegregated schools—and the Black children in them—were going to be harmful to their children. Today’s fears are similar in that misinformation is being spread about potential harms; one bold lie is that teaching about racism conveys to white children that they are inherently evil. Kendi was clear and compassionate: He does not know of any anti-racist teacher who would believe or convey that any child or group of people is inherently bad or racist.
But Dr. Kendi misrepresents the growing concern by parents, educators, and community members over the toxic and polarizing tenets of critical race theory, and falsely states that no anti-racist educator teaches that all whites are inherently racist; Robin DiAngelo, whose anti-racist approaches are embedded in K-12 curriculum in a number of school districts – and whose book White Fragility is on recommended reading lists across America – explicitly teaches just that.
Instead of disassociating with such polarizing tenets of anti-racism – which is an example of critical pedagogy that is under critical race theory – Kendi attempts to gaslight educators when it comes to remembering his own ideas, as well as the ideas of other anti-racists who use an identity-based model, which polarizes by skin color and offers little in terms of holistic, universal solutions to the real problems of racism and racial disparities today.
This video compares two pathways to equality: one that is identity-based and endorsed by Ibram X. Kendi (critical race theory and anti-racism), and one that is principle-based and endorsed by Thomas Sowell (individual skill-building and universal values).
Joy Reid recently had Christopher Rufo on her MSNBC show, The ReidOut, where she failed to engage in a rational debate about Critical Race Theory, and instead attempted to spin a pre-packaged narrative about the topic.
After accepting Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo’s requests via Twitter to appear on her MSNBC show, host Joy Reid declined to engage in a debate on the topic of critical race theory — resorting instead to constant interruption and insults, insisting, “it’s my show … so it’s how I want to do it.
Long-time radio host Dom Giordano, an educator in a past life, returns with his fourteenth installment of his podcast centered on the ever-changing landscape of education. This week, Giordano is joined by Christopher Paslay, Philadelphia teacher and author of Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America’s Schools. In Exploring White Fragility, Paslay takes an in-depth look into the concept of ‘white fragility’ and ‘white guilt’ as the two phrases have become regular topics in discussions of race. In the book, and on his new YouTube channel, Paslay examines the effects that whiteness studies have on America’s schools, and investigates how the antiracist movement to dismantle “white supremacy culture” is impacting student and teacher morale and expectations, school discipline, and overall academic achievement. For more from Paslay, check out his YouTube channel HERE.
Reinventing Racism author Jonathan Church, and Exploring White Fragility author Christopher Paslay, discuss white fragility with Benjamin Boyce on his popular YouTube podcast, The Boyce of Reason. Thanks for watching!
Deb Fillman, a homeschooling parent of three, online educator, and former classroom teacher with an MSed from the UPENN Graduate School of Education, hosts a YouTube channel called “The Reason We Learn.” Deb has 10 years of experience homeschooling, tutoring, and teaching online, and runs a tutoring service to help families develop customized education experiences for their children in grades K-12. Yesterday, Deb invited me on her podcast, where we discussed Robin DiAngelo, Critical Race Theory, and the future of public education in America.
This afternoon, Dr. Karlyn Borysenko and I spoke about the effects of white fragility and critical race theory on American classrooms. Above is the video of our livestream on her popular YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!
According to the Washington Free Beacon: “GoFundMe bowed to pressure from progressive activists and deactivated a fundraiser affiliated with a group of Virginia parents fighting the infusion of critical race theory in Loudoun County Public Schools. Scott Mineo created his GoFundMe in mid-March after members of a private Facebook group called Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County launched an intimidation campaign against a number of parent groups, including his Parents Against Critical Theory. The group compiled a list of parents, identified their spouses and employers, and called for members to find ways to shut down their websites.” Thanks for watching.
There’s nothing unifying about Critical Race Theory, Mr. President.
“I’m rescinding the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training and abolishing the offensive, counterfactual 1776 commission,” President Biden stated at a recent press conference. “Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies.”
It’s painful to watch Joe Biden squint at the teleprompter and stumble though a bunch of lines he seems to know nothing about. It’s unclear whether Joe has been duped by his handlers and staffers — those who tell him what to say and what sign — or whether Joe actually believes what he’s saying. The fact is, President Biden’s words to the American people about lifting a supposed ban on “diversity and sensitivity training” are so off-base it almost seems as though he comes from another planet. Either that, or he’s simply gaslighting the country with flat out propaganda.
Those familiar with Critical Race Theory — and its offshoot, anti-racism — know that it has little to do with “diversity and sensitivity,” and even less to do with unity. In fact, Critical Race Theory and anti-racism emerged because things like diversity and sensitivity training — and Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement based in classic liberalism — were moving too slowly for militant activists who wanted a more aggressive and provocative approach to so-called racial equality.
Believers in Critical Race Theory and anti-racism don’t want unity, and freely admit as much. The notion of unity, along with trying to identify universal qualities that bring us together, is a big no-no for anti-racist educators pushing Critical Race Theory. People like Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility, and Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, insist universal human values don’t exist, literally. Whites are so privileged and steeped in systemic racism, and people of color are so oppressed and victimized, that these two groups can only experience the world relative to their own cultures, and a universal or unifying system of values and communication is impossible; to anti-racists, everything is relative to culture, and processed through the lens of race.
Which is why anti-racists preach that whites could never understand the oppressive lives of people of color, and any attempts to do so are met with accusations of racism or claims of white acculturalization — which is a fancy way of saying that whites who believe traditional values transcend race are pushing white supremacy culture on people of color.
Robin DiAngelo flat out states, “Niceness is not anti-racist.” In fact, suggesting people should be nice to each other is a form of violence, she believes, because being nice isn’t going to stop systemic racism or oppression; being nice simply perpetuates white supremacy. This is why KIPP charter school founder Richard Barth recently announced KIPP was retiring its national slogan, ‘Work hard. Be nice.’ According to Barth, the slogan “ignores the significant effort required to dismantle systemic racism, places value on being compliant and submissive, supports the illusion of meritocracy, and does not align with our vision of students being free to create the future they want.”
So much for the phony notion of unity, at least where Critical Race Theory and anti-racism are concerned. Anti-racism, stated another way, could be called “anti-unity.” Again, the unity model, based in “niceness” and understanding, does not attack so-called systemic racism and white supremacy culture head on, but serves to perpetuate it. What anti-racists who espouse Critical Race Theory want is agitation, provocation, and confrontation — and advocate for the kind of racial unrest we witnessed over the summer. In short, they want to shock white society out of its inherently racist, privileged bubble.
Critical Race Theory aims to target, disrupt, and dismantle “whiteness.” It stereotypes entire groups of people into polarizing identity groups — oppressive whites on one side, oppressed people of color on the other. Trainings based in Critical Race Theory, in public schools and government agencies, require participants to segregate themselves into affinity groups by race, deconstruct their racial identity, and admit their privilege and participation in a racist system.
Despite what President Biden says, none of this has anything to do with sensitivity training or unity. The ban on Critical Race Theory was an attempt to stop the polarization of people by race, the racialization of government agencies and schools, and from using skin color to judge entire groups of people. It was an attempt at universal communication and values, an attempt at unity.
In essence, President Biden is calling for unity by rescinding a ban aimed at bringing unity. He’s rescinding a ban on judging people by the color of their skin, and not the content of their character. He’s rescinding a ban that aimed to forward the Civil Rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His out-of-touch Executive Orders are what’s counterfactual, as is his bizarre notion of “sensitivity training.”
Ironically, it was the 1776 Commission that aimed to counter the misinformation being purported in the New York Times “1619 Project,” misinformation called out by Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, who in November of 2019, began circulating a letter objecting to the project, and of author Nikole Hannah-Jones’s work in particular.
Soon James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, and James Oakes — all leading scholars in their field, signed the letter which stated the 1619 Project fabricated facts and that the project reflected “a displacement of historical understanding by ideology.”
The New York Times refused to correct the misinformation about Americas’ founding, and author Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize. But even Hannah-Jones admitted that the 1619 Project wasn’t necessarily about history, but about journalism. Loose translation: it was first a piece of social justice propaganda, which put activism over history, and politics over facts.
And yet President Biden inverts reality and flips facts on their head. The 1776 Commission was created to correcthistory, not distort it. The ban on Critical Race Theory was made to bring America together, not drive it part.
Unity and healing, Mr. President, indeed start with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies. Perhaps, as the new leader of the free world, you’d like to get some perspective on both.
Tragically, today’s leading anti-racist educators are anti-science, and forward theories filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry.
Modern anti-racism, which is based in Critical Race Theory and focusses on systems instead of people, has become the new way to think about race in America. Although the term “anti-racism” sounds admirable and courageous — and brings to mind equality and justice — its core tenets are far from productive, healing, or unifying. Anti-racism actually turns Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream” on its head, because it uses race and skin color to stereotype and judge entire groups of people, and operates under the premise that in order for one race or culture to succeed, we must disrupt or dismantle another.
Unlike classic multiculturalism — or Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey’s “Mutual Accountability Approach,” which uses Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening to unify rather than divide — anti-racism is zero-sum and teaches that all whites are inherently racist and privileged and suffer from internalized superiority; that all people of color are victims who suffer from internalized oppression; and that failure to support anti-racism is to support and perpetuate racism and white supremacy.
The most concerning thing about anti-racism is that it is anti-science. Not only do the leading scholars promoting anti-racism fail to adequately test their theories using measurable, quantitative analysis, but today’s leading anti-racist educators have outright rejected the scientific method as biased, because they argue objective science is the product of Western, white European culture.
Robin DiAngelo, whose book White Fragility has sold over two million copies, has minimalized the use of quantitative analysis. In an article by writer and economist Jonathan Church, titled “The Orwellian Dystopia of Robin DiAngelo’s PhD Dissertation,” Church exposes DiAngelo’s lack of scientific rigor:
For her dissertation, DiAngelo conducted four two-hour sessions on inter-racial dialogue with only thirteen participants—a very small sample from which to derive wide-ranging interpretations about things like whiteness and racism. But that is par for the course in fields like Whiteness Studies and Critical Race Theory. As one paper argues, “many critical race scholars are fundamentally skeptical of (if not simply opposed to) quantitative data and techniques to begin with.”
In DiAngelo’s seminal paper, “White Fragility,” she states “Whiteness Studies begin with the premise that racism and white privilege exist in both traditional and modern forms, and rather than work to prove its existence, work to reveal it.”
DiAngelo starts her work with a conclusion (that racism and white privilege exist everywhere), not a hypothesis (do racism and white privilege exist everywhere?), and rather than running tests to prove this false, she only performs scant qualitative studies, based on anecdotal observations, to prove it true. In other words, she sets up her theories so that they can only be confirmed, not falsified — which is a major flaw and does not meet what is known as the principle of falsification.
DiAngelo turns the classic six-step scientific method on its head. She skips the “research question,” the “hypothesis,” and the “experiment,” and goes right to the so-called “results and conclusions.” And what are her conclusions? That racism and white privilege exist everywhere. Has she run tests or done any rigorous quantitative studies to prove this? Of course not. Why? Because she considers objective science biased, and the tools of a white supremacist culture.
Anti-racism is anti-science, and is filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry; one common fallacy of anti-racism is that correlation equals causation. Which is why DiAngelo refuses to engage in any kind of scholarly debate. She’s more of a political activist or cult leader than she is a serious social scientist. In July of 2020, when her book White Fragility blew up after the George Floyd protests, she was invited to debate John McWhorter on MSNBC’s Moring Joe. But of course, DiAngelo didn’t show. She stayed behind, sending Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson to do her dirty work.
Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Anti-Racist, is also anti-science, which forces him to play the same game as DiAngelo. Kendi refuses any kind of public debate — turning down invitations from Coleman Hughes and John McWhorter — instead preferring to play the role of activist minister, lecturing his faithful anti-racist congregation, shielding himself from any real academic debate over his ideas.
Why? Because as John McWhorter has pointed out, Kendi’s ideas are overly simplistic and lack the backing of scientific research and rigorous quantitative analysis.
Take his idea about the racial achievement gap in America, for example. The very idea itself is racist, he argues, insisting the supposed gap is simply the result of poorly designed, culturally biased standardized tests. As Jonathan Chait writes in The Intelligencer:
It does not matter to [Kendi] how many different kinds of measures of academic performance show [the achievement gap] to be true. Nor does he seem receptive to the possibility that the achievement gap reflects environmental factors (mainly worse schools, but also access to nutrition, health care, outside learning, and so on) rather than any innate differences.
To Kendi, all racial disparities are the result of only one thing: racism. Hence, the racial achievement gap in America isn’t really a gap at all, but merely the result of racist thinking.
But science shows this isn’t the case. The Princeton study, called “Parsing the Achievement Gap II,” by noted researchers Paul Barton and Richard Coley, use three decades of educational and social science research to show that the skills gap is indeed real, and that a multitude of factors — in addition to systemic racism — play a part in the gap. Things like rigor of curriculum, teacher preparation, teacher experience and turnover, class size, technology in the classroom, fear and safety at school, parent participation, frequent school changing, low birth weight, environmental damage, hunger and nutrition, talking and reading to children, and television watching, have an effect on academic achievement.
But to Kendi, who espouses the anti-science behind anti-racism, the skills gap is a myth, based in racism and white supremacy. Because to Kendi, any suggestion that any of these factors has an impact on success in school is a racist idea.
To Kendi, you are either racist or anti-racist, period. Like DiAngelo, Kendi starts with his conclusion — that every racial disparity is the evidence of racism — and instead of running tests to prove this false, he only performs research to prove it true. In other words, he sets up his theories so that they can only be confirmed, not falsified — which is a major flaw and does not meet what is known as the principle of falsification.
Kendi also turns the classic six-step scientific method on its head. He skips the “research question,” the “hypothesis,” and the “experiment,” and goes right to the so-called “results and conclusions.” And what are the conclusions? That racism and white privilege exist everywhere, and are the sole factor at the heart of the skills gap. Has he run tests or done any rigorous quantitative studies to prove this, as Barton and Coley did with their groundbreaking paper, “Parsing the Achievement Gap II? Of course not. Why? Because he considers objective science racist, and the tools of a white supremacist culture.
Anti-racism is anti-science, and is filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry. Until we admit as much, this trendy yet divisive movement will further polarize and divide, placing politics over science, and indoctrination over education.
Classic multiculturalism — or Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey’s “Mutual Accountability Approach,” which uses Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening to unify rather than divide — is a better option for bringing about positive, holistic change.