Anti-racist educator Ibram X. Kendi recently headlined the American Federation of Teachers’ TEACH 21 Conference, speaking at a livestream session titled, “A Conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.” The official AFT conference agenda stated, “Hear from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in this free-ranging discussion with student activists and AFT members on his scholarship and on developing anti-racist mindsets and actions inside and outside classrooms.”
During the livestream, which has not been posted on the AFT website, Dr. Kendi compared those who oppose critical race theory to Southern segregationists from the 1950s. According to an article titled “Anti-racist education benefits all of us” published on the AFT’s website:
Ingram asked Kendi about the furor over critical race theory and related pushes against teaching about enslavement and discrimination. Kendi compared it to the reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, when some white people were fearful that desegregated schools—and the Black children in them—were going to be harmful to their children. Today’s fears are similar in that misinformation is being spread about potential harms; one bold lie is that teaching about racism conveys to white children that they are inherently evil. Kendi was clear and compassionate: He does not know of any anti-racist teacher who would believe or convey that any child or group of people is inherently bad or racist.
But Dr. Kendi misrepresents the growing concern by parents, educators, and community members over the toxic and polarizing tenets of critical race theory, and falsely states that no anti-racist educator teaches that all whites are inherently racist; Robin DiAngelo, whose anti-racist approaches are embedded in K-12 curriculum in a number of school districts – and whose book White Fragility is on recommended reading lists across America – explicitly teaches just that.
Instead of disassociating with such polarizing tenets of anti-racism – which is an example of critical pedagogy under critical race theory – Kendi attempts to gaslight educators when it comes to remembering his own ideas, as well as the ideas of other anti-racists who use an identity-based model, which polarizes by skin color and offers little in terms of holistic, universal solutions to the real problems of racism and racial disparities today.
Recently on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, John McWhorter once again gave his candid opinion of Robin DiAngelo’s bestselling book, White Fragility. The only use for the book was “to keep tables from wobbling,” McWhorter said, insisting such approaches to race relations treated Blacks like “silly babies.” In July of 2020, McWhorter published an article in The Atlantic titled “The Dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility.”
Long-time radio host Dom Giordano, an educator in a past life, returns with his fourteenth installment of his podcast centered on the ever-changing landscape of education. This week, Giordano is joined by Christopher Paslay, Philadelphia teacher and author of Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America’s Schools. In Exploring White Fragility, Paslay takes an in-depth look into the concept of ‘white fragility’ and ‘white guilt’ as the two phrases have become regular topics in discussions of race. In the book, and on his new YouTube channel, Paslay examines the effects that whiteness studies have on America’s schools, and investigates how the antiracist movement to dismantle “white supremacy culture” is impacting student and teacher morale and expectations, school discipline, and overall academic achievement. For more from Paslay, check out his YouTube channel HERE.
Reinventing Racism author Jonathan Church, and Exploring White Fragility author Christopher Paslay, discuss white fragility with Benjamin Boyce on his popular YouTube podcast, The Boyce of Reason. Thanks for watching!
Deb Fillman, a homeschooling parent of three, online educator, and former classroom teacher with an MSed from the UPENN Graduate School of Education, hosts a YouTube channel called “The Reason We Learn.” Deb has 10 years of experience homeschooling, tutoring, and teaching online, and runs a tutoring service to help families develop customized education experiences for their children in grades K-12. Yesterday, Deb invited me on her podcast, where we discussed Robin DiAngelo, Critical Race Theory, and the future of public education in America.
This afternoon, Dr. Karlyn Borysenko and I spoke about the effects of white fragility and critical race theory on American classrooms. Above is the video of our livestream on her popular YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!