by Christopher Paslay
Bree Picower, an Associate Education Professor at Montclair State University, projects her own racist anti-white worldview onto preservice teachers in education programs, as well as on active teachers in K-12 schools.
Bree Picower, an Associate Education Professor at Montclair State University, is anti-white. Her new book, titled Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom, projects her own racist anti-white worldview onto preservice teachers in education programs, as well as on active teachers in K-12 schools.
Which makes Picower’s particular brand of anti-whiteness even more concerning, being that her audience are educators instructing America’s children, who not only mold the minds of youth, but also have the ability to indoctrinate these young people with Picower’s poisonous ideas.
Like DiAngelo’s White Fragility (which begins with a Forward from noted Black Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson), Picower’s book begins with a Forward from Bettina Love, a Black “abolitionist” professor from the University of Georgia. Beginning each book with a Forward from a person of color is obviously their attempt to provide a level of authenticity to their racist worldviews — worldviews which see America as a nation founded on slavery and oppression, and see “whiteness” and the cultures of those who identify as white as violent entities that must be disrupted and dismantled.
“The United States is not just racist; it is anti-Black,” Love writes in her forward to Picower’s book. “The word ‘racism’ does not adequately describe the ways in which the US kills, destroys, and spirit murders Black people.”
Love goes onto write that “America’s obsession with greed, violence, hate, and Black suffering always reaches into the most sacred spaces of American democracy, including schools.” This line is important, because it serves as a thesis for Picower’s book, Reading, Writing, and Racism: that the United States is a violently racist and anti-Black country, and that this violence and anti-Blackness stems directly from the white supremacist curriculum pervading K-12 schools, curriculum steeped in so-called “whiteness” that must be called out and eradicated.
Love states in her Forward:
Too often teachers want to reflect a happy world to children, where no one was enslaved, no one was beaten, no families were separated, and White people never hurt anyone. These feel-good stories of White heroes and do-gooders uphold White supremacy and undermine the mental well-being of youth of color. To be frank, I am tired of seeing children, all children, opening up a textbook and reading about Black people as slaves and Native Americans as savages. I am even more appalled when teachers do not see anything wrong with these representations.
Love’s logic, or lack of logic, is a microcosm of the fallacious and propagandistic nature of Picower’s entire book. In literally the same paragraph, Love insists slavery shouldn’t be white-washed from school textbooks, but then complains that she’s sick of seeing children opening up books that portray Black as slaves. But again, this lays bare the central theme of the book: that whites, no matter what they teach, are racist and oppressive and can do no good.
Thus the stage is set for Bree Picower’s anti-white book titled Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom. In it, Picower cherry-picks bizarre and strange examples of so-called “viral racist curriculum,” some of which she literally pulls from anonymous sources on Facebook, others which she dredges up from dusty, long-abandoned textbooks from the early 1970s. And it’s these strange, cherry-picked curriculum resources, which have been collected under the #CurriculumSoWhite, that Picower holds up as the norm in America’s K-12 schools.
“I have made the choice to focus on these viral examples because they are telling for many reasons,” Picower writes in her Introduction. “These singular examples reflect the toxicity of the entire body of school curricula. People outside of education rarely have a window into what happens behind classroom doors, so when these examples appear online for all to see, they call into question what other racial injustices are going on in schools.”
This is a key part to Picower’s anti-white indoctrination: like DiAngelo, she prays on naïve and unsuspecting preservice teachers and college education majors, baiting them with distorted facts and misinformation, hoping to turn them into activists who will go out and recruit others to push the radical message.
But these singular examples do not reflect the entire body of school curricula, not by any stretch of the imagination, and saying so is a form of educational malpractice. Like DiAngelo, Picower seems very comfortable generalizing about entire groups of people and entire bodies of curriculum.
The ideas at the heart of Picower’s book, most of which are creative regurgitations of DiAngelo’s questionable theories, are packaged into five chapters. The first is titled “Curricular Tools of Whites” (defined by Picower as “scripted responses used to maintain teachers’ investment in White supremacy”), is a clear rip-off of what DiAngelo refers to as “moves of whiteness” (defined by DiAngelo as “a linguistic strategy used to support or challenge current power relations”).
In a nutshell, the chapter lays out seven “tools” racist teachers use to maintain white supremacy in schools, none of which are based in any rigorous scientific analysis or backed-up with any quantitative research. In short, these “tools of whiteness” have come straight out of Picower’s brain, invented to increase the appeal of her anti-white racism and to better enable her to indoctrinate young, unsuspecting preservice teachers into this toxic ideology.
Chapter 2 is called “The Iceberg: Racial Ideology and Curriculum,” which is a reinvention of DiAngelo’s “iceberg of culture” and “white racial frame,” and examines four “case studies” to show how America’s teaching force both consciously and unconsciously produces curriculum based in white supremacy and anti-black racism.
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 continue to recycle DiAngelo’s writings on historical racism, white socialization, white privilege, systemic racism, colorblind racism, and how these combine to form a K-12 educational system steeped in white supremacy and anti-blackness. Again, no rigorous testing of any of these theories are done by Picower, and she employs no quantitative studies of any kind.
Picower indeed acknowledges in her book that she is a privileged white person, who has no right profiting off of black suffering. She has two principles when it comes to her racial justice work. One, she keeps her “gaze” on “Whiteness” (which means she focusses all her research on how only whites need to change for the world to improve). And two, when asked to present or consult on racism, she makes sure she has a person of color with her, so she can hide behind them and claim she’s not racist.
Perhaps a third principle could be to refrain from indoctrinating America’s future teachers with racist propaganda aimed at disparaging entire groups of people, or to stop writing racist books that do all of the above.