A cached webpage of the Seattle District’s page regarding “Equity & Race,” had defined racism as: “The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.”
However, the change noted, “In response to the numerous concerns voiced regarding definitions posted on the Equity & Race website, we have decided to revise our website in a way that will hopefully provide more context to readers around the work that Seattle Public Schools is doing to address institutional racism. The intended purpose of our work in the area of race and social justice is to bring communities together through open dialogue and honest reflection around what is meant by racism and the impact is (sic) has on our society and more specifically, our students. Our intention is not to put up additional barriers or develop an ‘us against them’ mindset…”
Cached paged of Seattle school definition of racists as ‘whites’
The website also said it no longer is effective, or its desire “to hold onto unsuccessful concepts such as a melting pot or colorblind mentality.”
The department is the same that issued a letter to staff members recently reminding them that Thanksgiving is a time of mourning for “Natives,” and suggesting an exploration of an outside website for ways to “deconstruct” the holiday.
It also recalls a now-discontinued program at the University of Delaware that taught residents of campus housing facilities that “all whites are racists.”
The cached page of the Seattle school website was retained by a former teacher, a Southerner who described being accused of being a racist for having an accent in her speech.
The school also defined “cultural racism” to include “those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as ‘other’, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.”
It also instructed that “institutional racism” is: “The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for Whites, and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for people from targeted racial groups. The advantages created for Whites are often invisible to them, or are considered ‘rights’ available to everyone as opposed to ‘privileges’ awarded to only some individuals and groups.”
University of Delaware officials halted their program after its contents came to light.
“While I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, there are questions about its practices that must be addressed and there are reasons for concern that the actual purpose is not being fulfilled. It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review,” said a statement posted on the school’s website by President Patrick Harker.
“Upon the recommendation of Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert and Director of Residence Life Kathleen Kerr, I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted,” he said.
Harker said Gilbert will work with the University Faculty Senate and others “to determine the proper means by which residence life programs may support the intellectual, cultural and ethical development of our students.”
University of Delaware President Patrick Harker
WND had reported on concerns raised by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which wrote to Harker citing documents from the schools’ Office of Residence Life Diversity Education Training program.
“Somehow, the University of Delaware seems terrifyingly unaware that a state-sponsored institution of higher education in the United States does not have the legal right to engage in a program of systematic thought reform,” the letter from FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, Samantha Harris, said. “The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of conscience – the right to keep our innermost thoughts free from governmental intrusion. It also protects the right to be free from compelled speech.”
She said included among the school’s teaching resources was the following: “A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. ‘The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination….
As WND reported, the Delaware program also noted that “reverse racism” is “a term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege.” And “a non-racist” is called “a non-term,” because, the program explains, “The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift the responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called ‘blaming the victim’).”
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