Are you adequately resisting oppressive, racist systems? And how would you know?
A school district in Maryland’s trying to figure it all out.
Hence, the state’s Montgomery County Public Schools has requested a “systemwide anti-racist audit.”
It wants to know: Is the district doing enough to aid its students in “resist[ing] systems of oppression”?
If you’re rusty on anti-racism, here’s a bit courtesy of CNN:
Being anti-racist means more than ridding yourself of racist attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. It means you’re also actively fighting that reprehensible trinity as it manifests in your life on a daily basis.
Donating to activist organizations and protesting injustices are definitely good starts to becoming an ally. But that’s not enough. Actively rebutting prejudices in your own circles is key to lasting change, as those ideas and beliefs — unless challenged — are what our children absorb and are woven into the fabric of our culture.
Some white people know that to become anti-racist, they must start to listen and brush up on the history of racism in their countries.
Some people are describing obviously racist behavior as the the tip of the iceberg — calling people racist names or threatening people on the basis of race. Then there’s the part of the iceberg that’s not easily visible to people if they’re not looking. This includes a range of subtle but insidious attitudes, behaviors and policies.
Among these are microaggressions. They are brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, Tatum said.
Microaggressions can be intentional, unintentional or even well-meaning, but they communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial assumptions to the receiver. And they have an insidious effect on a black person’s psyche and continuing racist assumptions.
Three such microaggressions:
- “Don’t blame me. I never owned slaves.”
- “All lives matter.”
- “I’m colorblind; I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, green or purple.”
Montgomery County wants to make sure it’s doing enough to equip the students accordingly.
A “request for proposal” document obtained by The Washington Free Beacon indicates the district’s looking for a consultant with a “deep knowledge and expertise in…racial equity.”
To be put under the microscope: the district’s culture, hiring practices, and pre-K-12 lessons.
Per the document, the school system wants to make sure its curriculum “strengthens students’ sense of racial, ethnic, and tribal identities, helps students understand and resist systems of oppression, and empower[s] students to see themselves as change agents.”
The events of the last few months have helped put a fire under Montgomery. But they were already hot for epidermal equity:
Following the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, the school district said it would reevaluate its social studies curriculum to address systemic racism, “particularly for … younger students.” The school district already operates an “Equity Initiatives Unit,” which aims to counteract “bias … oppression, and inequity.”
In February, unit member Marya Hay posted photos online of the “equity” training undergone by faculty.
Staff got treated to a definition of Whiteness:
“A systemic, racial, social construct backed by no scientific evidence, created to benefit white people by unequally distributing power and [privilege] through society’s norms, traditions, and institutions.”
“The construction of global systems and structures that reinforce the inherent values, norms and advantages of white superiority and normalization.”
That was from “Examining Whiteness Day 1.”
Educators engage in deconstructing Whiteness in our beliefs, practices and policies with a deep dive into historical precedents shaping our current story and outcomes in schools. Examining Whiteness Day 1. @mcpsequityteam @ManiyaEquitySpc @Joan_Mory @MCstudycircles pic.twitter.com/7uhiyM31I7
— Marya Hay (@marya_hay) February 20, 2020
There’s more where that came from: The Beacon notes that “school districts in the Washington, D.C., suburbs are conducting similar initiatives. Since 2018, Loudoun County, Va., has spent $422,500 on equity training inspired by critical race theory, which claims racism is inherent in every aspect of America.”
Back to Maryland, Montgomery County’s Clarksburg High School recently posted a race-and-equity pledge, including a vow to support “anti-racist” policies.
Our Mission at Clarksburg High School continues to be one of commitment to an All In approach for student success. Read Our Promise to learn more. #CoyotePride 🐺 #BeGoodDoGood pic.twitter.com/nzLQVGLJOL
— Clarksburg HS 🐺 (@Cburg_Coyotes) October 5, 2020
Schools used to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I’m not sure how indivisible we are, but it seems these days — more than liberty — schools want to ensure racial justice for all.
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