When a public high school in the Chicago suburbs announced that students would be required to attend an all-day seminar that focuses on leftist propaganda about “racial civil rights,” parents decided they’d had enough of indoctrination posing as education. They started a campaign to bring more balance to the program, but they have been shut down at every turn.
The All-School Seminar Day at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, is set for February 28 and focuses on “understanding today’s struggles for racial civil rights.” It’s a full day of panel discussions led by radical left-wing speakers, covering topics such as “Behind the Veil of Racism,” “21st Century Voter Suppression,” “Examining Our Biases,” “Microaggressions: Voices from Literature,” Empowering Diversity Through a Growth Mindset,” and workshops on “Appropriate Alliances: Working in White Spaces.”
Parents are concerned that the seminar is extremely biased. For instance, the program claims that “disparities between races are defacto [sic] evidence of ‘systemic racism.” Nothing, however, is said regarding “government policies that confine poor children to failing inner city schools, devastate black families, and encourage crime and dependence.”
The seminar also fails to show true diversity by including conservative viewpoints. Instead, “systemic racism” is central to every discussion. Parents say, “That means real solutions — choice in education, federal tax, regulation, and welfare policies that encourage marriage and families, independence, and entrepreneurship — are squeezed out.”
Parents have made the case that public schools have a duty to present a balanced view of issues, but New Tier has violated its own policy by organizing a program that gives only one point of view. Parents have been pleading with school officials since October to allow the other side to be heard. Their concerns, however, have not been taken seriously, and the school has refused to incorporate their views into the seminar’s agenda.
Speakers are also a problem. One of the panelists is rapper John the Author, who has written the following lyrics:
Divide and conquer, white supremacy the silent monster
I see you sneaking in the corner trying to have some karma
We ain’t looking to know your honor, No your honor we (?) problem
The resolution is an economic revolution, All in the name of retribution, you ready? Let’s do it,
They integrated then infiltrated through immigration
The richest folk in our neighborhood ain’t even our neighbors
They take the dollar back across town, don’t you dare tell me to calm down
(?) mister doghouse, We want it all now, it’s time to push ‘em all out—I’m ready to start now
And this is from his poem “Blackenomics”:
Blackenomics nigga (repeat 8x), Black beat black, nigga, Black beat black, sugar, Black heat black, nigga, Take a back seat back nigga, Not graduate from back, Give back, nigga,Tell them get back, nigga, Blackenomics nigga (repeat 8x), Black beat black, nigga,Black eat black, sugar,Black heat black, nigga,Take a back seat back nigga,Not graduate from back,Give back, nigga,Tell them get back, nigga
Another seminar leader is Monica Trinidad, who is teaching a seminar on “We Charge Genocide: An Emergence of a Continued Movement.” One has to ask if New Trier vetted their speakers because Trinidad has posted some racist tweets about cops, including “Get them animals off those horses,” and advocates books such as Conspiracy to Riot in Futherance of Terrorism.
To bring balance to the panelists, all of whom are from a leftist perspective, parents suggested that other speakers who have a different point of view be included — experts like Shelby Steele, Jason Riley, Walter Williams, Allen West, and Star Parker. School officials refused to consider these suggestions.
— Wheaton IL News (@wheatonnews) February 4, 2017
Robert Blackwell, a black parent of a child at the high school, opposes the program and says inviting Black Lives Matter activists to the seminar is offensive because the group “does NOT represent the best of black Americans and does not advocate anything that has a track record of making black lives better.”
All this emphasis on trying to make whites feel guilty for the real and perceived sins of descendants of Europe is non productive.
If you want to hold a seminar on Socialism then invite whoever you want. But don’t have a seminar of Race and invite socialists that have no other message except America and White Americans in particular are evil.
White Guilt doesn’t make black lives matter and neither does America bashing.
Parents say the program, which is costing more than $533,000 of diverted funds, was developed without parental input despite many attempts to be included. “This is our community,” they say. “This is our school. These are our kids. Parent input is essential.”
In response, a group of concerned parents started a website to make a stand for diversity in education. They are asking parents to attend a school board meeting on February 20 to voice their concerns about the seminar. They are asking that parents insist on speakers who “break out of the ‘circle of cliched thoughts’ when it comes to race.” They also suggest that parents ask that the day be cancelled if no changes are made or that the day be an “opt-in” for students.
All the parents are really asking for is balance, but even that has not been respected. Instead, they have been accused by program supporters of trying to censor discussion on race, of not caring about civil rights, and, of course, of being racist.
The superintendent has defended the program, saying, “I have had well over 300 phone calls, emails, and letters of support saying ‘Don’t change it, it looks fabulous.’ The direct communication we’ve had has been far more in support than in opposition. In fact, I’ve never seen this kind of outpouring of support on an issue in my life as an educator.”
She also said students must attend the keynote speech and a 50-minute homeroom presentation, but if they are uncomfortable with anything in the sessions, they can leave.
Keynote speakers include Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, and Andrew Ayden, co-author with Rep. John Lewis of March, a graphic novel series chronicling Lewis’ civil rights history.
As parents opposed to the program have insisted, they’re not asking for speakers to be excluded, but for the seminar to include greater diversity with a conservative point of view. The fact that they’re not being accommodated reveals a relentless trend in education to marginalize parents and to push a liberal agenda about race relations that has little to do with actual civil rights or establishing peace in society.