In the Name of Equity, Schools Are Reintroducing Racism | Opinion

There was a time in America when racial discrimination and segregation were not only supported by the government but mandated. Restaurants had separate areas for Black and white Americans, people were only allowed to use restrooms and water fountains that were specifically designated by their skin color, and Black and white students were taught in separate school systems. It wasn't until after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that the nation began integrating its educational institutions and healing the wounds caused by the Jim Crow era, edging closer to a society that does not judge individuals based on their skin color or ethnicity.

But fast forward to 2022 and the pendulum has swung hard in the opposite direction. Today, in the name of "equity," there is a major push to incorporate elements of the thinking that was pervasive in the Jim Crow era into today's K-12 schools, but this time from people who cast themselves as social justice warriors, who are bringing race-conscious schooling back in the name of fighting racism.

Many school districts now promote racial affinity groups, which the Great Schools Partnership defines as "a group of people sharing a common race who gather with the intention of finding connection, support, and inspiration." The ostensible purpose of these groups is to "provide participants support to survive the racial isolation that exists in many schools and institutions."

Affinity groups are typically based on shared interests, but racial affinity groups are specifically designed to provide activities and meetings that include or exclude students based on their skin color.

The Wellesley School District in Massachusetts recently settled a lawsuit lodged by parental rights advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE) over its implementation of racial affinity groups. One of the points of contention was an advertisement for an event that specifically excluded white students:

"Note: This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and Students of Color, *not* for students who identify only as White," the advertisement read. "If you identify as White, and need help to process recent events, please know I'm here for you as well as your guidance counselors. If you need to know more about why this is not for White students, please ask me!"

equity
Catholic schoolchildren from Saint Mary's in Austin cheer during the Veteran's Day parade up Congress Avenue and ceremony at the Texas Capitol. Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) provided another example of this disturbing trend when it was reported that its new contract with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) stipulated that white teachers are to be laid off or reassigned before "educators of color" in the event that the district is forced to reduce its staff.

When the policy takes effect, it will mean that if a non-white educator is subject to being laid off, the district will instead fire a white teacher with the "next least" seniority.

When faced with the inevitable backlash, Greta Callahan, the president of the teachers' union, doubled down. "This contract language was something that we are, first of all, extremely proud of for achieving but it also doesn't go far enough ... We need to support and retain our educators, especially those who are underrepresented, and this language does one tiny, minuscule step towards that but doesn't solve the real crisis we're in right now," she said.

But this kind of racial thinking when it comes to teaching kids is rampant. Last year, a third-grade teacher at a school in Cupertino, CA gave a lesson in which students were told to identify parts of their identities that were either privileged or oppressed. Students were instructed to create an "identity map" that included their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexuality. Students were then told to circle the parts that represented power and privilege.

These are just a few of the many examples of ideas inspired by critical race theory being presented to small children in the classroom.

In attempting to right the wrongs of one of the most evil epochs in American history, the hard Left is pushing an overcorrection in our public schools that resembles the evils of past moreso than authentic solutions. Even worse, this is not only happening in schools; this extreme pendulum swing is occurring in many other American institutions.

If this trend is allowed to continue, the results will inevitably cause far more harm than good.

Jeff Charles is the host of "A Fresh Perspective" podcast and a contributor for RedState and Liberty Nation.

The views in this article are the writer's own.