Fred Taylor has lived in Manhattan Beach for 45 years, runs his business there, and has had two daughters in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD), one who has since graduated.
Taylor’s daughters are both Hispanic, and he asked the one who graduated a few years back, whether she had experienced any racism in her time at school. His daughter said, no, and told him: “We hardly had any Black students there.”
Taylor found it curious that his own daughter did not immediately identify with racial injustice even though she herself is considered a minority. This is one bit of evidence that racism and racist viewpoints are less systemic issues and more attitudes that are taught.
In terms of the City of Manhattan Beach and race relations, aside from the Bruce’s Beach controversy, Taylor talked about the 2015 incident involving Ron and Malissia Clinton, a Black family who are a part of the Manhattan Beach community. An evil individual threw a flaming tire on the Clintons’ porch, setting the front of the house ablaze. Taylor knew of the family because his daughter played AYSO soccer with the Clintons’ daughter.
Malissia Clinton gave a talk for TEDxManhattanBeach about the horrific incident, and why her family chose to stay in Manhattan Beach despite what they experienced. One of her main reasons: How the community came together around them.
Ron and Malissia Clinton spoke with the Los Angeles Times soon after the vigil the community mounted for them:
He said they had initially blamed the community. However their attitude changed when they saw the overwhelming amount of support.
Mr Clinton added: ‘I have to admit, initially, we considered it, but you know, this community is just too amazing for us to let one individual force us to leave.’
The vigil was organized as a show of support to the family, but also to show their stand against hate and violence in any form. Taylor continued his reflection:
“I went down with my daughter two nights later, ’cause one of the City Council people called a vigil,” Taylor remembered.
“And we had hundreds stand there with candles, and walking around, and people were hugging each other, and I had an opportunity to actually talk with the daughter and express my condolences, you know.
“So, if you want to see a racist city, I guess that’s what a racist city looks like.”
However, in a recent interview with CBS News about the return of the Bruce’s Beach land back to the original family, Malissia Clinton, whose three Black children were part of the public school system, alleged that the reason Manhattan Beach is less than one percent Black is due to racism.
For some 20 years, Malissia Clinton has raised her kids in Manhattan Beach and said that she would consider the city a racist community.
“So we are less than 1% African American. That defines racism to me,” Clinton said.
Back in 2015, she said someone threw a burning tire at her family’s front door early one morning. Everyone escaped unhurt, but the trauma remains.
“What it reminded me is that things haven’t changed that much. The terror is still real. People who look like me are terrorized. We aren’t entitled to the comfort of security,” Clinton said.
The mind boggles. A Black couple who through hard work, sacrifice, and some good fortune, can afford to live in a community, own their own home and business where the home prices range from $1.35 million to 12 million, but because other Blacks cannot — or do not choose — to do the same, it is due to racism?
My colleague Jeff Charles would call this “Sesame Street” thinking.
It is exceptionally sad that Malissia Clinton’s trauma is such where she has lived in one of the most comfortable cities in Los Angeles County for decades, yet still feels she is not “entitled to the comfort of security.”
From this Black woman’s perspective, this is a more tragic state than combatting actual racism. Clinton’s thought process appears to be no different than a Black woman in central Los Angeles who rents from a slumlord and has to dodge bullets and step over the homeless. But this has little to do with environment, and everything to do with a mindset — a mindset which CRT seeks to not only exacerbate, but embed into young minds.
If Clinton is representative of the feelings of the less than one percent of Blacks in Manhattan Beach, and the MBUSD Board are using these thoughts and feelings as a reflection of the true state of the community, one can see how Woke activists with an agenda can ride in on a white horse and pretend to have a solution. This mode of thinking is a horrible way to live and is neither healthy nor grounded in truth. It is criminal that these so-called leaders and educators want to enslave other people to think, relate, and live in this same fashion.
Taylor said that he made his first public comments on the school board’s agenda in March of this year, and has been commenting ever since. He has done much research not only into the MBUSD Board EDSJI Initiatives, but the Board members themselves. Taylor had a sit-down meeting with Jason Boxer, a newly elected board member, in order to just get to know him.
So much for the impressions given in the Manhattan Beach local rag of stalking and gender-policing.
Taylor did express concern that Boxer’s associations might color his leadership on the board.
“I have met with Jason Boxer. Jason is a pleasant, very pleasant young man, 28 years old. I say this, he’s a member of Diversify Your Narrative, which is a hard, hard left.”
The MBUSD Board president Jen Fenton has also come under Taylor’s scrutiny, and in a recent school board meeting, Fenton made it known that she did not appreciate it. In this 7-minute video that launched the October 8 board meeting, the statement Taylor made (outlined in Part 1 of this series) was brought up, and according to Taylor, Fenton had the Manhattan Beach Police Department in attendance at this meeting to reinforce her opening screed.
Taylor gave this context to the video:
“The hateful letter is the WEPMB email I released to you about ‘Sexual Improprieties.’
“She talked about getting threatening emails and personal email attacks conflating them with our parent group with no evidence…and had MBPD in the Board room for that 10/6 meeting [Two days after the DOJ labeling us as ‘domestic terrorists.’]
“We actually don’t have a domain, just an email address [redacted]
“She labeled us as “DISSENTERS” while endorsing ‘free speech’ since she’s a lawyer.”
The video is filled with not-so-veiled threats against WeTheParents, and really any Manhattan Beach USD parent who does not agree with the work the MBUSD Board is seeking to accomplish.
You heard it straight from Fenton’s own mouth.
The National Association of School Boards has already walked back its involvement in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s contentious letter, and there has been another incident reported in Indiana where a school board member physically attacked a parent who disagreed with him.
Just from Board President Fenton’s performance on October 8, and the behavior of the member in Indiana, the actual evidence shows the label “domestic terrorist” may have been applied to the wrong parties.
The CLEAR (Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research) organization that performed the MBUSD Equity Audit has been around since 2011.
Its stated mission, from its LinkedIn page:
The Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR) is dedicated to eliminating educational and social disparities which impede equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students and the communities from which they arrive. This includes advocacy by its leadership which is called upon to intentionally amplify a collective voice of educational leaders and allies through a forum of professional learning, political action, and community empowerment.
From posts about the January 6 “insurrection” and this post expressing approval of General Mark Milley trumpeting his incorporation of CRT into the military, it appears that CLEAR’s political leaning and intentions are less “equitable” and more exclusionary. It seems if parents’ voices do not align with “professional learning, political action, and community empowerment,” then CLEAR encourages that these voices not be heard.
If you are looking to serve an agenda rather than isolate issues and solve them, you will find or manufacture anything that furthers that agenda. The “research” arm of CLEAR did just this in crafting its Equity Audit report for MBUSD.
Here is what the Equity Audit report stated as its purpose:
The purpose of this Equity Audit is to identify the most common causes of inequities that exist in MBUSD and elevate the voices of the stakeholders so that meaning can be brought to the Board policies, Board goals, processes, and practices within the District based on stakeholders’ lived experiences, including students, staff, and families. This report represents data collected from stakeholders, including administrators, staff, parents, and students, among other groups. Equity Audits are tools that allow Districts to make guided reforms, which are based on data.
From my reading of the Equity Audit report, and from initial reports from Fred Taylor and Pam Davidson of WeTheParents about what occurred in an October 20 meeting where the results of the Equity Audit were supposed to be discussed, it does not appear that the school’s policies needed to be changed in order to reflect more diversity or create a more welcoming environment. What is apparent is that MBUSD Board and its Trustees were looking for reasons to change policies so that they could incorporate CRT-like, inclusive, and equity curriculum and programs.
Pamela Davidson is a grandparent to an MBUSD student. Davidson is a Ph.D. who analyzes data for a living, and she saw the disconnects between the stated goals of the CLEAR Equity Audit and what the MBUSD Board is choosing to implement.
As an experienced data analyst herself, Davidson was originally slated to speak at the October 20 meeting. However, the title of her analysis perhaps raised a few eyebrows:
CLEAR Equity Audit Report weak, flawed, biased, and inaccurate
Audit Report recommendations not tied to the data/evidence
It is fascinating that once Davidson sent her analysis and recommendations to the MBUSD Board and Trustees, she was disinvited from speaking at the meeting, but was allowed to make a public comment.
Doesn’t sound very equitable or inclusive, does it?
Here are Davidson’s summarized conclusions:
There is a disconnect between the data collected and reported and the voluminous recommendations that emerged from the report. With limited or no foundation in the actual data, Pages 32-41 impose the CLEAR/CRT framework. The recommendations in the report seek to restructure the MB School District policies, processes, and resources in a direction the community and parents are not informed of and will be strongly opposed to when they learn more.
Most notably, none of what is proposed in the report is linked to pursuing educational excellence. This Consulting Company should be dismissed immediately and the resources should be redirected into interventions directly linked to educational outcomes associated with academic excellence.
In my interview, Davidson made these salient points about what was at work here with the CLEAR Equity Audit and the MBUSD Board’s push to incorporate their recommendations.
“We want the educator to stay focused on the core subjects, and we don’t want them moving into this agenda that they’re moving into what we refer to as CRT principles, and also gender identity, and all of that. We don’t want our teachers and our school leaders indoctrinating our students,” Davidson said.
“School prayer was taken out. We’re not allowed to have school prayer, right? Prayer actually reflects my values, but that’s gone. It was disallowed. But, rather, we’re trying to replace it with this secular philosophy and indoctrination that has kind of… it feels a little bit like Communism or Marxism to me.”
From 2020 census data, the MBUSD has 6,500 students in a city population of just over 35,000. According to the CLEAR report, the ethnic origin/racial demography is as follows:
61.2 percent White, 1.1 percent Black/African American, less than 1 percent American Indian, 10.1 percent Asian, 1.2 percent Filipino, 11.7 percent Hispanic or Latinx, less than 1 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 13.4 percent of students who identify as two or more races, and less than 1percent non-reporting. For students with specific classification for services, 12.9 percent are students with disabilities, 4.7 percent are socio-economically disadvantaged, 1.6 percent are English Learners, less than 1 percent are homeless, and none are reported and [sic] foster or migrant youth.
The CLEAR Equity Audit report goes on to say this:
Typically families and community connected with a public school district such as MBUSD reflect the same diversity as the school composition; however, in this case, the Equity Audit revealed the District’s diversity does not seem to be well-recognized by the larger community.
This is a flat-out lie as the census data shows. Just because a community is not throwing up bright, shiny symbolic gestures and holding parades over its diversity, doesn’t mean it is not recognized. It is, frankly, an insult to the people of Manhattan Beach to reach such a conclusion on so little evidence.
In fact, in certain areas, the community reflects more than the number of student demographics listed above. This is probably because of the 13.4 percent of children who do not identify with just one race. In this day and age, it is more common than not for people to identify biracially and tri-racially. Yet our betters on “racial equity” fail to recognize and incorporate this as a fact, nor do they bother to study the damage caused by injecting curriculum and language that labels one racial group as an oppressor and the other as oppressed; especially when both racial groups exist genetically in the young person. Instead, they’d rather breed anger and confusion in a child who has one white parent, and another with a different race/ethnicity to further their own ends.
It’s also interesting that Asians and Hispanics are the second-largest minority groups in the district, and are strongly reflected in the community; but it appears this is data that CLEAR chooses to ignore, as Davidson referenced in her analysis.
Of further note, many of the so-called measures MBUSD wishes to achieve (e.g., Social/Emotional Learning) are measures that in the past, and currently, are best served by parents and religious institutions. These are two societal entities that the public educational system has done its best to marginalize and eliminate. Organizations like CLEAR and these so-called Equity audits appear to want to make this elimination complete.
The October 20 MBUSD Board meeting to discuss the Equity Audit report occurred last Wednesday and was intended to look at the findings of the audit and decide whether its recommendations should be incorporated by the MBUSD. After WeTheParents’ Lauren Harger attended the meeting, she emailed this update:
“I assume you tuned in to last night’s clown show, aka ‘workshop’ where the board listened enthusiastically to various committee members talk about all the EDSJI-compliant plans they have in store for our kids. It’s a Woke nightmare. I learned a new buzz word last night: Positionality. I hope a video or at least a transcript will be available for you to review soon. Bring wine.”
In Part 3 of this series, we will analyze that October 20 meeting, perhaps with an adult beverage in hand.