BY DENNIS BYRNE, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Now that institutions of higher learning have been thoroughly molded in the principles and practices of white guilt, it’s time to turn to the high schools.
For that, we take you to Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, where the excellent New Trier High School has set aside an entire day to program student minds with the shame of white privilege.
Indeed, the children ought to be deeply chastened for being born into suburbs that are 80 percent white, upper-middle, and upper-upper class. They should feel profound remorse for living in a high school district where mind-blowing property taxes provide the highest-quality education. Where school superintendent Linda Yonke pulls down a dazzling salary in excess of $300,000, where 15 administrators and half of its 400 teachers make more than $100,000.
To hammer home their humiliation, the 14-to-18-year-olds will attend an all-day seminar on Feb. 28 called “Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights.” Not a bad idea for Black History Month. Except that the seminar is chock-a-block with left wing, white-guilt proselytizers.
Here a few of the 36 “invited presenters” who, we’re told, were carefully screened:
-Kevin Coval, a white rapper and poet who grew up attending another nearby elite high school called Glenbrook North. Seeing the sins of his advantaged upbringing, he has become a leading guilt apostle. He has made something of a reputation for himself as a Jew who hates Zionists, referring to the one Middle East democracy as “fascist.” How curious to bring on Coval in a school district that is significantly Jewish. Apparently Jewish children need to repent their blessed circumstances.
– Monica Trinidad will calmly lecture: “We Charge Genocide: An Emergence of a Continued Movement.”
– John The Author, a rapper, will explore “systemic racism” in Blackenomics 101.” In it, his rants include: “Cause all these other ni…s selling out, individualism is all these motherf…ers yelling about divide and conquer, white supremacy the silent monster…” which sounds, well, somewhat offensive.
Check out some seminars, which we are to believe contain not one iota of partisanship or far-left ideology: “21st Century Voter Suppression,” exploring, I’m guessing, the racist GOP and voter ID cards, and “Advancing Civil Rights or Reverse Discrimination” that will—seriously—”address common myths which often unnecessarily incite racial tensions and anxiety.” Throw in some sessions on “systematic racism,” “systemic racism in housing,” “microaggressions,” “mass incarcerations” and “Transpeople of color navigating the U.S.” One session asks, “Can the Voting Rights Act be saved?” whose answer probably is: Only if mean conservatives evaporate from the face of the Earth.
Among the day’s activities, students will be invited to take a “White Privilege Survey,” comprising 26 loaded questions to measure their guilt, Among the questions is whether bandages are available in a flesh-color that “more or less match the color of my skin.”
Some deplorable parents, surprised but hardly dumbfounded by the bias of the presenter selection, formed a group called “Parents of New Trier”. They suggested reasonable alternatives who would bring “balance, inclusion and diversity of perspectives” to the seminar.
Among them are Shelby Steele, a Hoover Institution senior fellow; Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist and a Manhattan Institute senior fellow; Star Parker, founder and president of CURE (Center for Urban Renewal & Education); Allen West, former congressman and executive director of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and the Rev. Corey Brooks, director of ProjectHood that tries to negotiate peace among gang factions on Chicago’s violent South Side.
All 12 are black, which eliminates accusations of whites talking to whites about blacks—a charge that’s applicable to many of the seminar’s scheduled speakers. (NB: The parents are not for silencing the selected speakers, as some have charged. They simply want to add other, legitimate points of view.)
The parents’ suggestions were, of course, rejected by the school administration because they didn’t arrive soon enough with their alternatives, that too many of the students already had signed up for their seminars, that it’s too inconvenient to make any changes, that the alternate speakers would be too expensive, that adequate room for additional speakers was unavailable. The excuses are so transparently bogus that they don’t even rise to the level of sophistry.
The administration has covered itself with pretentious window dressing: “The purpose of the seminar day is to help students better understand the history and current status of racial civil rights in the United States, not to promote the philosophy of one political party or another, or to connect a political party to the history of racial civil rights,” according to the school’s website.
“Every student is entitled to hold personal political beliefs. To that end, the seminar day will not portray any political party as good or bad or promote the views of one party. Such an approach would be just another example of stereotyping and would ignore each party’s complicated history with race and civil rights in our country.”
Nice sentiment, but the seminar’s reality defies the school’s own rules of neutrality, to wit: “Public institutions, paid for with taxpayer money, have the duty to present a balanced view with respect to controversial issues.”
The seminar will be held on a regular school day (parents aren’t allowed to attend), meaning that students who don’t show up will be truant. But the school will make an exception for anyone made to feel uncomfortable; he will be free to leave the session and have a “study” day. In other words, any student can announce his dissent by getting up and leaving in front of the entire classroom, and then suffer any ridicule that befalls him. In effect, there’s no “safe place” for dissenting students.
Parents of New Trier made one last attempt to bring some balance to the seminar at a overflowing school board meeting Monday evening, but the decision already had been made: The seminar will go on “as planned,” they were told.
The parents obviously were months, if not years, too late as some students who addressed the board confessed their white guilt: How regretful they were that their education at one of the nation’s premier high school had not prepared them for the real world in which other races existed. An odd charge to make about one of America’s best schools.
Not bothering to deploy (jargon warning) “critical thinking,” some seminar supporters chastised Parents of New Trier and other dissenters for trying to muzzle the schedule speakers or cancel the seminar. That despite the group’s repeated explanations that they were only seeking balance or postponement to a latter date to recruit other views. It fell on deaf ears as the board determined the seminar “is balanced,” with “no evidence” of a political or ideological bias.
This seminar, concocted by one of the nation’s most prestigious schools, undoubtedly will become a template for other mass indoctrinations. It will blossom into the latest fad approved by America’s education “experts” who have burdened America with so many failed school systems.
It will become a prototype for the kind of progressive paternalism practiced by white elites. For them “mutual understanding” means buying into their world views, “rejecting all others” as if it were a marriage vow. And it especially means that parents must have no say in what their children are taught.
Dennis Byrne is a Chicago writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.