In July, the leadership of Los Angeles’s elite Harvard-Westlake School issued a 20-page confessional about the school’s role in perpetuating “racism and injustice” and promised changes. The school, which sends dozens of kids to the Ivy League every year, will now teach 11th-grade U.S. history from a “critical race theory perspective.” And diversity consultancies, which routinely charge six figures for their services, will facilitate the school’s transformation at every step.
On the East Coast, the wealthy Fairfax County public school district shelled out $20,000 for an hourlong speech from critical-race commentator Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. At one school in the district, faculty went further, disseminating “anti-racist” reading lists to parents and organizing students into “equity” committees.
Dozens of schools across the country, both public and private, have taken similar steps. The perceived need to announce sweeping changes in leadership and curricula has been a boon to the growing diversity-consulting industry, which is designed to profit from racial discontent.
A list of “anti-racism” resources, compiled just days after the death of George Floyd and featuring such writers as Kendi, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, and the authors of the New York Times‘s controversial 1619 project, was shared widely by colleges and high schools across the country.
At Fairfax’s Justice High School, emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show one of the school’s “equity leads” shared the list in an impassioned email to her colleagues. It was subsequently posted to the school’s website with the principal’s approval and shared in multiple community-wide emails. A representative of principal Maria Eck told theFree Beacon the list “represented the diversity of our families and students” and was posted “during a time of broad discussion of these issues in our community and in our society.”
Meanwhile, the tony Connecticut boarding school Loomis-Chaffee has introduced mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for students and now requires faculty members to read Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning and DiAngelo’s White Fragility for “professional development.” San Diego’s public schools have overhauled grading for fear of racist impact, and New York City wants to follow. The KIPP Schools, long a model for charter school excellence, have dumped their “Work hard. Be nice” slogan, claiming that “working hard and being nice is not going to dismantle systemic racism.”
These ostensibly progressive changes often enable bigotry. The aforementioned list includes the work of prominent anti-Semite Toni Morrison and was assembled by organizers of the Women’s March, a group that has demonstrated deeply ingrained anti-Jewish sentiment. That’s in line with the “woke” anti-Semitism at schools such as New York’s Fieldston Ethical and Baltimore’s Park School, where alumni activists have declaimed the Jewish-founded school’s “wealth hoarding” and “tolerance of Zionism.”
Such witch hunts have become commonplace as students, faculty, and alumni across the country have devoted themselves to ferreting out racism in their own communities. Many have taken to Instagram, launching “Black at [school name]” pages and encouraging their peers to share anonymous accusations of racism, bigotry, and other misconduct. Other accounts, dedicated to naming and shaming students accused of racial bias or insensitivity, are “popping up left and right,” one student told the New York Times.