ST. LOUIS, Mo. – If you’re white, you’re racist.
That’s the basis of an American Federation of Teachers Racial Equity Task Force that gathered recently at the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis, STLToday.com reports.
“In order to face racism, we have to internalize it and understand it,” AFT President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten said. “Those of us that are white, we have to internalize and understand our own racism. Not just your own privilege, but our own racism and out own biases.”
At the meeting, about 40 members of the task force analyzed how the public school system is racist against black and Hispanic students, building on the “white privilege” movement promoted to schools in recent years.
“White privilege” theory stems from the idea that the public school system is hopelessly stacked against minorities and the only way to change the learning gap and disproportionate suspensions for those students is to cater the system to their “culture.”
Mary Armstrong, president of the St. Louis AFT, believes teachers can “break that pipeline from school to prison” through professional development and cultural sensitivity training.
The attendees of the weekend-long get-together also talked about addressing criminal justice, economic and education injustices against minorities, and developed strategies to reform the system using experts in those fields, like chief deputy U.S Marshal Matthew Fogg and Schott Foundation for Public Education president John Jackson, STLToday.com reports.
Also in attendance was Julianne Malveaux, an “African-American economist, author, liberal social and political commentator” who is “well known for her left-wing political opinions,” according to Wikipedia.
Malveaux noted that the AFT union often likes to talk about solutions to the nation’s problems, but takes little action to actually do anything about them.
“What I admire about this union — they’ve been ahead of the curve on some of these policy issues,” said Julianne Malveaux, an economist, educator and political commentator, who’s helping the group put together an action plan. “But in terms of action I’m not sure they’ve been ahead of the curve.”
So far, though, it seems the AFT’s focus on racial equality has been mostly talk.
It started in January with an initial discussion among paraprofessionals and school-related personnel in Florida, then union officials took up the topic again at the AFT convention this spring, according to the AFT website.
In those meetings, members railed on police brutality, and recent shooting deaths of young black criminals. They also brainstormed ideas to save black male students from themselves.
The ideas included positive behavioral supports, cultural diversity training for teachers and police officers. They also want to shift schools away from suspensions for unruly or dangerous students and instead use “restorative justice” and other means to keep them in school despite their bad behavior.
Those are the same type of policies the Obama Administration has pushed on numerous large metropolitan school districts in recent years to reduce the disproportionate number of minority students receiving suspensions or expulsions.
Obama’s Justice Department has forced large districts to implement “restorative justice” or other soft punishments for bad actors, and the result has reportedly been chaos in the classroom.
New York Post reporter Paul Sperry wrote about the Obama administration’s push to reduce suspensions and its connection to the Pacific Educational Group, which makes millions from public school districts by promoting white privilege theory and employee training to counteract it.
“I know that PEG has had an outsized role in reshaping not only discipline policy in these districts but also curriculum — including lesson plans, activities and materials — as well as even hiring,” Sperry told EAGnews. “They emphasize the recruitment of minority faculty and even recommend ‘racial equity’ and ‘restorative justice’ coordinators.
“What’s more, they do the racial-sensitivity training of teachers as part of professional teacher training workshops, reprogramming them to think that THEY are the problem, not the misbehaving kids, that their ‘whiteness’ and ‘cultural insensitivity’ is the reason African-American students tend to be, on average, more disruptive and violent than other students and tend to underperform academically.
“Some of the teachers come out of the workshops sobbing. It’s classic brainwashing. As we’ve seen in St. Paul and Baltimore and Portland and Los Angeles and Philly and other school districts, PEG’s race-based programs are backfiring.”