No Left Turn: Ending Indoctrination in Education

Dr. Elana Yaron Fishbein recently launched “No Left Turn” to combat leftist indoctrination in K-12 public schools. In June, she removed her two children from an elementary school in the Lower Merion School District because she didn’t want them exposed to “cultural proficiency” curriculum, which, according to Dr. Fishbein, used resources designed to “inoculate Caucasian children with feelings of guilt for the color of their skin and the ‘sins’ of their forefathers.”

The Battle to Keep ‘White Fragility’ Out of Okaloosa County Schools

by Christopher Paslay

The debate over the use of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility in a high school English classroom is heating up in the Okaloosa County School District. 

As Reported in the Northwest Florida Daily News:

A book called “White Fragility” has been removed from the reading list at Choctawhatchee High School at the direction of the Okaloosa County School District.

The book, whose full title reads “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism,” was not included on this year’s approved reading list for the Choctaw English Department, a statement from the School District said.

“More importantly, the Florida Department of Education has established standards for each course in the public-school setting that define what students should be taught in that course,” the statement said. “It is not apparent that this material aligned with the standards for the course.”

The book’s removal, which was prompted by a complaint from a parent, quickly sparked a response from social justice advocates. The Niceville chapter of Black Lives Matter soon got involved, and launched a petition to keep the book in the high school which has now received over 1,300 signatures.

As Jennie McKeon reported for WUWF:

According to the change.org petition, an English teacher at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach was planning a lesson on racism — past and present — using excerpts from the 2018 book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, a white academic with experience in diversity training. 

When a parent made a complaint, the Okaloosa County School District backed the parent. 

However, when Niceville parent Misti Schneidewind heard about the incident, she contacted her daughter, Hannah, who started the petition Wednesday. 

When she was home from Northeastern University during the summer, Hannah was part of the students that helped facilitate four Black Lives Matter billboards around the city. Hannah said the petition may not do much but raise awareness, but that’s OK with her.

“Many people in our community are so uncomfortable with this topic,” said Hannah. “But it’s not just something you can shut down and ignore.”

But those familiar with the book White Fragility know it’s more than simply a conversation about race, diversity, or multiculturalism; White Fragility is a polarizing and divisive book, which teaches that all whites are racist by default, suffer from white supremacy and anti-blackness, and labels all who challenge or disagree with this dogma as “fragile.” It is all about indoctrination through identity politics, and provides no real means for discussion, collaboration, or critical thinking. 

The Okaloosa County School Board agreed to read the book for themselves, and ruled that the book would be granted the opportunity to be considered as part of their English curriculum, as long as the proper procedure was followed.   

To watch further commentary on the topic, and to see excerpts of the official Okaloosa County School Board meeting, please click here.

The NYT’s ‘Nice White Parents’: Shaming White Parents for Improving a Brooklyn School

Nice White Parents” is the New York Times‘ new five-part podcast series about “building a better school system, and what gets in the way.” This video analyzes part #1, titled “The Book of Statuses.

In 2015, a cohort of proactive parents, many of whom were white, enrolled into the Boerum Hill School for International Studies in Brooklyn, NY. After opening a dual-language French program for the middle school, funds poured in. Soon test scores shot up, as did enrollment and interest in the school. By 2019, the school became successfully integrated, and had an even distribution between white, black, and Latino students. But not all were happy.

Thanks for watching. 

Federal Agencies Directed To End ‘White Privilege’ Trainings

by Christopher Paslay

A new directive states that Federal agencies must cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund trainings using critical race theory, white privilege, or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist. 

The toxic, discriminatory tenets at the center of critical race theory — which serve as the basis for anti-racism, white fragility, white privilege, and so-called white supremacy culture — are being exposed at the highest levels of government. At the urging of Christopher F. Rufo, a contributing editor for City Journal whose investigative reporting has exposed how critical race theory has infiltrated the Federal government, the heads of executive departments and agencies have been directed to identify and terminate all Federal training which teaches all whites are inherently racist. 

On September 4, 2020, Russell Vought, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a letter addressing training in the Federal government titled, “MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES.” 

The letter reads:

It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.

For example, according to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.” According to press reports, in some cases these training have further claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.

These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce. We can be proud that as an employer, the Federal government has employees of all races, ethnicities, and religions. We can be proud that Americans from all over the country seek to join our workforce and dedicate themselves to public service. We can be proud of our continued efforts to welcome all individuals who seek to serve their fellow Americans as Federal employees. However, we cannot accept our employees receiving training that seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.

The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions. Accordingly, to that end, the Office of Management and Budget will shortly issue more detailed guidance on implementing the President’s directive. In the meantime, all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory/9 “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un- American propaganda training sessions.

 The President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States. The President has a proven track record of standing for those whose voice has long been ignored and who have failed to benefit from all our country has to offer, and he intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed. The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.

This directive from Vought is long overdue. The toxic, divisive policies at the center of critical race theory — which extend to anti-racism, white privilege, white fragility, white supremacy culture, implicit bias, and microaggressions — must no longer be tolerated. Singling people out by their race or culture clearly violates Federal anti-discrimination laws, and has been doing so for some time. 

One can only hope state and local governments will use Federal agencies as a guide, and in turn commit to routing out such divisive trainings and discriminatory practices as well. 

Replacing Anti-Racism with Mutual Accountability (Creating Win-Win Solutions)

Baylor University sociology professor Dr. George Alan Yancey

by Christopher Paslay

Everyone must come out of their comfort zone and take responsibility, and roll up their sleeves to do the hard work of finding win-win solutions. 

Correction: When this article was originally published on August 18, 2020, I mistakenly tied Baylor University sociology professor George Alan Yancey together with Emory University philosophy professor George Dewey Yancy. The intention was to write solely about George Alan Yancey, whose Mutual Accountability model I very much admire and respect. I have rewritten the article to correct the mix-up. My sincere apologies to both professors.

In a July 16th article on Patheos.com, Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey wrote a very powerful critique of white fragility and anti-racism titled, “Not White Fragility, Mutual Responsibility,” where he proposed having a true dialogue on race relations, not merely a monologue disguised as a conversation. Named the Mutual Accountability Approach, Yancey suggested using sociological research (Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening) to unify rather than divide, making solutions win-win rather than win-lose. 

Historically speaking, there have been systems in America that have favored one group over another, and the effects of this are still felt today.  As Yancey states in his Patheos article, “We need to move from these racialized institutions that work better for majority group members to systems that are fair for everybody.”

However, certain aspects of anti-racism including DiAngelo’s White Fragility — in an effort to level the playing field — actually flip the tables on whites, alienating them from the conversation on race and from giving meaningful input on solutions. 

As Professor Yancey writes: “People of color in their zeal to correct racial problems can also go too far and set up unfair conditions for whites. Group interest theory indicates that allowing either group total control of what we are going to do means that this group will create rules that benefit them but put others at a disadvantage.”

This is where Professor Yancey’s Mutual Accountability Approach comes into play. His solution is that we all have the responsibility to communicate and listen to one another. He states, “We have to work with each other to find win-win solutions instead of relying on win-lose scenarios. I need to hear from whites about the concerns and they have to listen to me about mine. Only then can we work towards fashioning solutions to the racialized problems in our society that can serve all of us well.”

Yancey writes in his article: 

Is there research indicating that working together can help us deal with racial alienation? Empirical work suggests that a theory known as the contact hypothesis may offer us answers. It basically states that under the right conditions intergroup contact produces more tolerance and less prejudice. While I do not want to go into all of the conditions necessary, there is research indicating that when we have an overarching identity with those we are in contact with that we move from seeing them as foreigners to seeing them as part of our group. At that point our biases towards former outgroup members tend to become dramatically reduced. . . .

This very process can bring us together and reduce the racial animosity that never seems to go away in our society. But it will be hard work. We will not easily give up the idea that we can get everything we want or that we are right but those who disagree with us have no clue. But if we can overcome these tendencies and learn how to fashion win-win solutions, then we have a chance to move forward.

This is interesting, as Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility Theory — as well as many anti-racist approaches — do not allow for this mutual conversation. Again, most modern anti-racists like DiAngelo call for a monologue, where whites are viewed as “racially illiterate” and are expected to “shut up and listen.”

Yancey says this is a recipe for continued problems.  The model may work for a while, but if both groups are not part of solutions, it will perpetuate backlash, resentment, and continue the cycle of inequality.

At the center of Yancey’s mutual accountability approach is active listening — something antiracists do push, but only on whites.  Yancey writes:

If you rely merely on accusation, blaming and canceling to compel whites to support you, we will get what we have gotten thus far. Some whites will respond to that. Others will engage in a backlash. Others will simply ignore us. I run into plenty of whites who are not insensitive to the plight of people of color, but have been called racist one time too many and now want nothing to do with anything antiracists or with ideas such as white fragility. Ironically sometimes I run into these whites after they have read some of my work and are willing to work on race relations again because of my work. It is not that I am magical or anything like that. It is that when I write or speak, I do so from having listened to whites and thus have knowledge on how to reach them. . . . 

If you are still not convinced that working for win win solutions is the best approach, then let me frame this one final way. Think about the whites who want to figure out how to deal with our racial conflict but are not comfortable with just being told to shut up. They are open to learning about institutional racism but not open to not having a say in how to deal with it. So their choice is an anti-racism program where they have no say in the process or to just ignore racism altogether. My experience is that many of them will try to go the anti-racism route for a while but will be called a racist or be asked to turn a blind eye to a person of color misusing his or her cultural power and eventually gave up. Then that person will still be concerned about racial issues but will not accept a “white fragility” path towards a solution. . . .

Will that person move towards ignoring racial issues? That is a possibility. Most likely though that person will not have a solid way to deal with his or her concern about racial alienation or racism. They will probably be paralyzed not trusting the rhetoric heard by anti-racism activists but wanting to do something. I know because I have met these people and heard their stories. . . . 

We need solution that pull us together, not drive us apart. That is the only way we will have sustainable pathways away from the racial alienation poisoning our society. We do not need to engage in more recrimination and name calling. Victories gained by those techniques will face constant challenge and keep our society in turmoil. The way forward is to move forward together. . . .

To summarize, in contrary to the questionable research surrounding White Fragility, research suggests that a common identity and fruitful interracial contact can reduce prejudice. My work indicates that interracial couples and multiracial churches have found ways to solve racial problems with respect and understanding those in other races. Conceptually the mutual accountability approach is more likely to produce unity across racial and ideological groups since it does not force anyone to totally ignore their own group interest – just compromise a bit on them. I choose to head in a direction with empirical support and that is tied to bringing us together. Doing this will be hard. Extremely hard. But why should we be surprised at that? Usually the things worth having are hard.

Amen.  Everyone must come out of their comfort zone and take responsibility, and roll up their sleeves to do the hard work of finding win-win solutions. 

Fundamental Flaws of White Fragility with Jonathan Church

Writer and economist Jonathan Church examines some fundamental flaws of Robin DiAngelo’s white fragility theory, and how it’s a Kafka trap that falls prey to logical fallacies. His book critiquing Robin DiAngelo’s white fragility theory will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in January of 2021. Jonathan’s articles about whiteness studies and other topics have appeared in Quillette, Areo, Arc Digital, The Agonist Journal, Merion West, The Good Men Project, New Discourses, and The Federalist, among others. Thanks for watching!

My Interview with Ron Jolly on NewsTalk 580 WTCM

Above is the audio of my 8/13/20 interview with Northern Michigan’s Ron Jolly, who invited me on his radio program after reading my article in American Thinker titled, “Speaking Out Against Robin DiAngelo’s Toxic White Fragility.”  Ron has been covering Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility on his show for several weeks, and has voiced his concern over the divisive nature of the underlying tenets, as well as the polarizing qualities of modern anti-racism.  

More importantly, Ron has brought attention to the recent letter sent home to parents by newly appointed Leland Public Schools Superintendent Stephanie Long, who states that it’s the job of white parents and students to “question and examine our beliefs, implicit biases, and intentional or unintentional roles in perpetuating white privilege.” 

Long also writes in the letter, “we need to examine the disparity in our experiences and the underlying reasons that have created the privilege we who are white enjoy.” She also encourages parents and students to join a Black Lives Matter Chapter, and engage in anti-racism work; she has also placed White Fragility on her school district’s recommended reading list. 

The above radio interview is 23 minutes long.  I apologize in advance for the sound quality in the beginning of the segment.  My cellphone reception made parts of the conversation a bit hard to hear.  Thanks for listening!