This past Tuesday, an Illinois school district was slammed with a lawsuit that alleges that the school district was in violation of anti-discrimination laws for the teaching of a series of “anti-racist” coursework.
A middle school drama teacher, Stacy Deemar, issued the lawsuit against the school district for its current curriculum that allegedly forces students to take part in “privilege walks” while being forcibly separated by race, comparing “whiteness” to the devil, and a series of other lessons that seek to put “different racial groups against each other,” as stated by the suit.
“Fostering racial identities, promoting the idea that they are in conflict, and perpetuating divisive stereotypes pits teachers and children against one another based on the color of their skin,” stated the lawsuit that was filed. “They teach them that their whole identity comes from the color of their skin. They teach them to hate each other. They teach them not only how to be racist, but that they should be racist.”
The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), which is currently the party representing Deemar in the suit, issued an outline of some of the allegations put forth in the lawsuit:
… The school engaged in racial segregation, depicted “whiteness” as a devil, and taught that whites are inherently oppressive. …
Teachers were separated by race, instructed on the problems with “white talk” and “white privilege,” and required to participate in “privilege walks.” …
Students as young as kindergarten were separated by race into “affinity groups,” told to participate in “privilege walks” based on their skin color, and given books depicting “whiteness” as a devil that “mess[es] endlessly” with “all fellow humans of color.” …
The children were also taught “whiteness is a bad deal,” white people send “overt and subliminal messages” that they are “superior” and black people are “bad, ugly, and inferior,” and color-blindness is racist. …
The school website proclaimed 5-year-old children, “especially while children,” are not “racial innocents.” The complaint alleges these discriminatory and hostile practices violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection guarantee.
Located just to the north of Chicago, the Evanston School District has been extremely outspoken in its complete commitment to “racial and educational equity.”
“District 65 recognizes that excellence requires a commitment to equity and to identifying practices, policies and institutional barriers, including institutional racism and privilege, which perpetuate opportunity and achievement gaps,” stated the website for the school district.
The website continues on to say that the district is currently focused on race as “one of the first visible indicators of identity.” The site also goes on to say that the district is seeking equity, not equality “where all students are treated the same.” It directly states:
… District 65 is committed to focusing on race as one of the first visible indicators of identity while recognizing that the district’s students hold multiple, intersecting identities such as mental or physical ability, sexual orientation including gender identity and/or expression, religion, economic status, national origin and any other personal characteristics.
The concept of educational equity goes beyond the definition of equality – where all students are treated the same – to fostering a barrier free environment where all students’ unique needs are addressed and supported by resources which are allocated in a fiscally responsible manner.