Farrell: ‘Systemic Racism’ Is Not Solved by Segregating Students

Students arrive for school at Freedom Preparatory Academy on February 10, 2021 in Provo, Utah. Freedom Academy has done in person instruction since the middle of August of 2020 with only four days of school canceled due to COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

Our country cannot pursue racial unity and inclusion through promoting disunity and exclusion. Yet the same people who decry America’s alleged systemic racism are enacting policies and practices reminiscent of the worst days of racial segregation.

In one recent case Judicial Watch uncovered 111 pages of records showing that in the quest for “diversity, equity and inclusion,” Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts established five “affinity spaces” that divide students and staff based primarily on race. The school district’s “Equity Strategic Plan 2020-2025” includes a “District Equity by Design” scheme which seeks to “amplify student voices” by providing “opportunities for affinity spaces for students with shared identity.” Likewise, “Diversity Staffing” includes providing resources for “affinity spaces for specialized populations within the wider Faculty/Staff (ie. ALANA [Asian, Latino, African, and Native American], Admin Leaders of Color, LGBTQ+, White Educators for Antiracism, etc.).”

It should be apparent that establishing these types of bureaucratic frameworks puts the “systemic” in “systemic racism.” There has been a legal war against similar structures established by white racists of “shared identity” for seven decades. Yet the ideologically-driven educators at Wellesley rationalize that the purpose of these groups is not to stoke divisions but to “continuously examine systems of privilege and bias, and work collectively to disrupt and dismantle inequity in all its forms.” Except, of course, this really obvious form.

Perhaps a student would like to escape this toxic emphasis on identity and simply focus on intellectual development. But no, increasingly topics inspired by critical race theory are worming their way into the main curriculum. At Wellesley Schools “Equity Literacy” is now a required part of the program. Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Charmie R. Curry noted in an email to colleagues that two required courses – “Understanding Equity and Inequity” and “Learning to Be a Threat to Inequity” —  focus on “helping us to build/sharpen our structural ideological lenses” and are “are essential to our ability to address inequities in our community.” Whether math has been declared racist has yet to be determined.

Judicial Watch inquired whether these and other racially motivated policies at Wellesley schools were consistent with state and federal law, including the 14th Amendment, the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment or the state School Attendance Law. The district responded that “no such records exist” of the school addressing these questions. Small wonder, since it would take little intellectual exertion to see the problematic nature of this approach. The Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment is an issue in particular since it mandates that equality under the law “shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.” The type of color-blind, gender-blind equality that previous generations idealized is exactly what is being denied by Wellesley schools, and it is hard to see how this neo-segregation could be upheld in court.

Similar efforts are underway nationwide to elevate race to a priority focus in education. In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the top high school in the United States, eliminated its rigorous admissions test in favor of a more subjective and geographically-based system that would result in a more diverse, less academically proficient – and less Asian — student body. The new system is facing a severe court challenge and is likely to be overturned.

Judicial Watch also examined records from Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools which include documents related to their critical race theory classes. Here students were taught that the expression “Make America Great Again” was an example of “covert white supremacy,” and part of a spectrum of racist behavior which included racial slurs, “the N-word,” hate crimes, and lynching. The school district also paid nearly half a million dollars to The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium to conduct an “Anti-racist system audit.” The company claims that their “expertise in using intersectionality as part of its theory of change makes us uniquely positioned to conduct the Anti-Racist Audit and mitigate the root causes of systemic barriers.” Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile in Dedham, Massachusetts Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of David Flynn, who lost his position as head football coach after raising concerns about his daughter’s seventh-grade history class curriculum, which was changed to include biased coursework on politics, race, gender equality, and diversity.

Most of the problematic changes taking place in the nation’s schools are being decided behind closed doors with no parental input. They are presented as faits accomplis, and any who then question them are subject to charges of racism and calls for cancellation. But it is imperative for parents and concerned citizens to expose these neoracist programs for what they are and protect their children from this divisive, ideologically-driven agenda. The cure for racism is not more racism. One person’s “affinity space” is another person’s “no whites allowed.”

Chris Farrell is the director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog.

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