By: Mark Glennon*
Brace yourself for a trip to Crazytown.
Following are the latest, racist phrases teachers must never use. They’re from a recent training program for teachers in Evanston, Illinois’ District 65. However, it turns out the same program is being used in other schools across the country.
You can find these and many more in the presentation used in the program, linked here, which also explains why the phrases are wrong to use:
“Where are you from?” Sorry, that’s like telling somebody they’re not real Americans.
“America is a melting pot.” That sends the message people are supposed to “assimilate/acculturate to the dominant culture.”
“I believe the most powerful person should get the job.” That’s equivalent to saying “people of color might get extra, unfair benefits because of their race.”
Asking an Asian, “Why are you so quiet?” No, no. You might as well tell them to “leave your cultural baggage outside.”
Where were you born?” Heck, that’s just like telling somebody they’re a foreigner.
Asking somebody to teach you “words in their native language.” Heaven forbid, that, too, is like calling somebody a foreigner.
“Everyone can succeed in society if they work hard enough.” That’s just saying “people of color are lazy.”
Be aware that these microagressions, as they are called in the presentation, “are not micro at all,” according to the author. They are “jagged thorns being thrown at you.”
The author is Darnisa Amente. She’s CEO and founder of DEEP, the Disruptive Education Project, which put on the program. She’s also a lecturer at Harvard’s graduate school of education. DEEP has been presenting the program at schools around the country, including at least one other in Illinois — Niles West High School.
DEEP’s program, and similar ones we’ve written about before, are intended to address underperformance of minorities in schools. Most go under the “equity” label and focus primarily on “implicit bias.” Underperformance, you see, is really a simple matter of biased teachers.
Evanston schools have been aggressive champions of the equity approach to minority academics – “beyond appalling,” said a U.S. Civil Rights Commission member in a letter scolding the district. It does not appear to be working out, at least for the district as a whole, based on a recent survey showing decline in four of five essential areas.
If you are not familiar with these programs, you should be. Illinois law now mandates implicit bias training for all public school teachers.
And you should keep in mind a quote from Frederick Douglass, used by Amente in one of her presentations. “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” That’s right. If you want to keep this lunacy out of your schools as they implement Illinois’ mandatory implicit bias training, you better be demanding something better.
Salute to New Trier Neighbors that brought DEEP to my attention. They’ve been doing a great job monitoring equity programs and similar issues in Evanston and other places.
*Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints.