Monday, July 04, 2016

Elite New York school tells white children they should be ashamed of their privilege and segregates pupils by race

A clear racist:  "She added that the answer to racism is for white kids to see the 'race in everything'"

Parents with children at an elite Manhattan school are furious about a diversity program that segregates pupils by race and claims that 'even white babies are capable of racism'.

Bank Street School for Children on the Upper West Side has said the approach is intended to 'fight discrimination' by creating a 'dedicated space' in the school for kids of color.

But one parent whose children currently attend the school told the New York Post: 'Ever since Ferguson, the school has been increasing anti-white propaganda in its curriculum.'

A slide from the school program obtained by the Post, reveals that children in the KOC Affinity group  - meaning children of color - will 'feel embraced', 'explore risks' and 'share experiences about being a kid of color'.

While children in the Advocacy Group - meaning white children - are taught to 'raise awareness of the prevalence of Whiteness and privilege', 'challenge the notion of colorblindness' and of 'normal', 'good' and 'American' and 'learn models of White anti-racist advocates'.

Another parent said that the children of color are rewarded with treats and other privileges while the white children are 'made to feel awful about their 'whiteness'.

While another said: 'One hundred per cent of the curriculum is what whites have done to other races. They offer nothing that would balance the story.'

But despite parents' concern, administrators at the school claim that several other New York private schools, such as Riverdale Country School, Brooklyn Friends School and Little Red School House, are teaching a similar thing.

The teaching is applied to the K-8 school of 430 kids but parents say it 'deliberately instills in white children a strong sense of guilt', with some children reportedly coming home in tears saying they feel like a 'bad person'.

The extreme program is run by Bank Street's director of diversity, Anshu Wahi, who said that even babies display signs of racism and encourages parents to make children as young as kindergarten age to talk about race, according to The Post.

She added that the answer to racism is for white kids to see the 'race in everything' and that the program merely empowers children of color who may otherwise feel 'alienated' and 'devalued in a 'dominant white culture'.

Segregating the children of color, she says,  gives them a  'safe place' where they can share their 'ouch moments.'

There have also been concerns over the school screening of Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which depicts Panthers founder Huey Newton as a martyr.

And while parents claim that the program forces white children to feel guilty about acts of racism committed by people they have never met, Wahi believes it is the only way to stamp the institutional racism that still exists across the country. 


Calif. Anti-Discrimination Bill Seeks to Prevent Religious Colleges From Making Faith-Based Decisions

A bill currently before the California State Legislature seeks to prevent religious universities in the state from using their faith as the basis for certain administrative decisions.

“All students deserve to feel safe in institutions of higher education, regardless of whether they are public or private,” said state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) in an April 6  press release introducing the legislation.

Lara added that “private universities should not be able to use faith as an excuse to discriminate and avoid complying with state laws.”

Section 3 of Senate Bill (SB)-1146, which is meant to deal with anti-LGBT discrimination, would add a new section to the state’s Education Code.

The new section would make religious colleges that receive state funding subject to Section 11135 of the code, which prohibits discrimination or denial of access to a program or activity “ on the basis of “race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, genetic information, or disability.”

SB-1146 notes that schools can still make gender-based administrative rules, so long as they do not discriminate based on someone’s gender identity or sexual preference. Moreover, the bill emphasizes that schools are not prohibited from refusing to use their property “for any purpose that is not consistent with the religious tenets of the organization.”

According to Lara’s press release, private universities use religious beliefs to “avoid complying with Title IX” without disclosing the exemption to students or staff at the institutions. It claims that “students are completely unaware of the exemption and what the potential consequences would be in the event their sexual orientation or gender identity did not align with the universities’ values.”

In response, the proposed bill’s second section would require schools that claim a religious exemption from Title IX to “disclose to current and prospective students, faculty members and employees the basis for claiming the exemption and the scope of the allowable activities provided by the exemption.”

The bill was passed May 26 by the California Senate. On June 22, the state General Assembly’s Higher Education Committee amended and approved the legislation, and referred it the next day to the Judiciary Committee, which further amended it on Wednesday.

However, the bill is facing opposition from religious and academic leaders in California and elsewhere.

In an interview with, Kim Colby, the director at the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom, said that even though the bill as currently amended “would not apply to chapel attendance or to religious requirements of the students,” it would not allow institutions to make “decisions based on sexual issues such as gender identity and sexual orientation.”

“This is certainly an example of overreach on the part of the California General Assembly, and it is a threat to religious liberty because religious colleges typically have conduct standards for their students that implement traditional Christian beliefs regarding proper conduct for students,” Colby said.

“It’s not really appropriate for the state to be telling religious colleges what their beliefs should and shouldn’t be regarding marriage, sexuality and family matters, and how they require their students to abide by those beliefs,” she added.

“Even the amended law is a huge infringement on the relationship between the colleges and their faculty and what colleges can expect of their faculty in adhering to traditional religious viewpoints regarding sexuality, family and marriage,” Colby concluded.

Meanwhile, the California Family Council (CFC) says the bill’s intent is “to target Christian schools that maintain biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality.”

CFC claims the law would “force religious colleges and universities into a dreadful choice": either give up state funding or relinquish the “ability to maintain the school’s religious convictions.”

However, LGBT rights groups in California have expressed their support for SB-1146. “Students and staff have a right to know when their school requests a license to discriminate against the LGBT community,” said Dave Garcia, director of policy and community building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. 

His support was echoed by Equality California executive director Rick Zbur. "This bill would let any school seeking to skirt federal anti-discrimination protections know that its policies would be public, and that anyone discriminated against would have legal recourse,” said Zbur.


After Brexit: British academics need to get out more

The referendum has revealed how closed-minded academia has become

The result of the EU referendum has made abundantly clear the gulf that exists between the intellectuals and the masses; between those with PhDs and those with GNVQs; between those who spend their days in front of a computer and those whose work prevents them from tweeting their every thought.

A poll conducted in the run up to the referendum suggested 90 per cent of academics intended to vote Remain. We now know that the academics who took to social media to declare ‘I don’t know anyone who is voting Leave’ were not exaggerating. In the days since the referendum result was announced, this unfamiliarity with the strange Other – that is, the 52 per cent of the electorate who voted Leave – has brought many academics’ barely concealed contempt for the masses out into the open. According to one professor, Leave supporters are irrational, xenophobic, ignorant Little Englanders.

Not only have many academics become remote from the views of ordinary people, universities are rapidly becoming politically homogenous institutions. Another poll, this time carried out just before the last General Election, showed 46 per cent of British academics intended to vote for Labour and 22 per cent for the Green Party. Higher education now needs to stop and consider the consequences this closed-mindedness might have for scholarship and academic freedom.

While commentators have been busy shining a light on the antics of censorious students, lecturers have quietly transformed universities into an ideological bubble. For many academics, higher education has become a political Safe Space, a place where they can retreat from ideas, and people, they disagree with. This position of safety allows some scholars to celebrate their self-declared radicalism, their supposedly progressive work on gender identity, intersectionality, critical race theory and heteronormativity, without ever having to test their views on the general public.

In an academic department, when one political position becomes dominant, those who disagree are told implicitly or explicitly to fall in line and conform – or shut up. Post-referendum, the outrage scholars have directed at those who voted to leave the EU has sent a very definite message about who is and is not welcome in academia.

This growing political homogeneity is detrimental to academia’s most basic goal – the pursuit of knowledge. When a majority of lecturers and researchers think alike, the university stops acting as a marketplace of ideas, where truth claims can be rigorously challenged. Instead it becomes an echo chamber where awkward questions are avoided and prejudices are confirmed.

Despite being so unashamedly, even proudly, out of touch with the majority of people who voted in the referendum, many academics have been vehement in their outrage at not having had their expertise and superior opinions listened to. Most of their vitriol has been directed at Leave campaigner Michael Gove, and his suggestion that ‘people have had enough of experts’.

But, for the most part, this newfound love of knowledge, evidence and the truth is coming from the very same people who have made academic careers out of asserting that there is no truth – that, at best, we can have multiple truths, and that knowledge is dependent on the perspective and identity of the originator. Such is their love of knowledge, they readily ditched the canon in a bid to turn the curriculum into relativistic homage to identity politics.

The current demand to ‘fight back against Brexit anti-intellectualism’ unwittingly reveals how little academics understand about what knowledge means. Yes, scholars may have greater access to information and data sets. But there is no one correct way to understand and interpret facts. Information and data may be useful for pub quizzes – as desperate educationalists have often been quick to point out – but knowledge involves an understanding of how people interpret data in relation to their experiences and prior learning.

There is, for example, no single correct way to interpret economic statistics. The same data may be understood very differently by someone living in Oxford on an academic salary than by someone employed on a zero-hours contract in Sunderland. Ironically, this is why being more in touch with the general public can enhance academic knowledge in the social sciences. At the very least, academics would have been less shocked at the outcome of the referendum.

It is academics themselves who have problematised and jettisoned knowledge from higher education and left an intellectual vacuum at the heart of the university. One way this has been filled is through attempts to socialise young people into a particular set of liberal values. Consent classes and campaigns against lad culture are the most explicit attempts at modifying the behaviour of students. The hidden curriculum of higher education promotes the causes of global citizenship, sustainability and feminism. In the weeks to come we will no doubt see calls for universities to redouble their efforts in inculcating students into such values. The growing political consensus means that both the project of promoting values rather than teaching knowledge, and the particular values being promoted, go unchallenged.

Using higher education to mould a certain type of citizen with an approved political outlook on the world has historically been the hallmark of dictatorships. In more democratic societies, universities have traditionally been concerned with the conservation, transmission and pursuit of knowledge. Students need access to this knowledge, and to be confronted with a range of viewpoints, in order to make up their own minds about the world they will inherit.

In the aftermath of the referendum, scholars must move out of the ideological and intellectual Safe Space they have constructed. Failure to do so will only feed the suspicion that academic fondness for the EU is driven by a shared disdain for the masses.


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