'Interrupting Whiteness': National Education Conference to Blame White Teachers and Students for School Woes

A major national conference for teachers and school administrators starting on Saturday, October 10, in Baltimore will focus exclusively on race and racism, featuring workshops on “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, the “dominance of White supremacy” in society, “White privilege” enjoyed by Caucasian students, “white domination of thought,” and how to “decenter whiteness.”

The conference, officially titled The National Summit for Courageous Conversation 2015, is organized by the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), a large and influential consulting firm hired by hundreds of school districts nationwide — often under pressure from the federal government — to address “racial gaps” in scholastic performance and behavior problems in the classroom.

But don’t take my word for it.

Below are excerpts taken from the official program of the upcoming National Summit for Courageous Conversation 2015, as well as examples taken from earlier Summits in 2014 and 2011, accompanied by direct screenshots of the text as it appears in the programs. You can confirm this by viewing the official 2015 program itself as uploaded by Pacific Educational Group, as well as pdfs of the 2014 Summit program and the 2011 program still archived at the Summit’s own Web site.

This first example is a prototypical workshop at the National Summit for Courageous Conversation; is this the kind of race-obsessed confrontational philosophy that should be guiding instruction and curricula in the nation’s public schools?

White Privilege, White Responsibility: Deepening Our Commitment as White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Equity in Schools
To achieve racial equity in schools, all educators must be able to identify and communicate where their own personal whiteness plays out in classroom, school, and community systems. Deepen your ability to focus a critical lens on your own whiteness and privilege and see how they impact your life. Through the tenets of Critical Race Theory, analyze how society constructs whiteness as the dominant norm in the U.S. Explore what it means to be a white educator leading for racial equity without perpetuating a system of white dominance.

(Screenshot here.)

The program descriptions, as you can see, are composed almost entirely of academic jargon which intentionally obfuscates the text’s meaning. I’ve added occasional clarifications between excerpts, deconstructing the jargon into plain language — though in most cases the true nature of each workshop shines through the euphemistic terminology on its own, and needs no illumination.

Groups such as PEG which offer their services to school districts usually portray their programs as simply a way to boost the self-image of black students, to hopefully improve their academic scores and lessen disruptive behavior. And if PEG had kept its goal to nothing more than that, then there would likely not be any controversy. But, as this next workshop reveals, PEG has crossed way, way over the line from boosting the esteem of black students to instead intentionally tearing down the esteem of white students:

It Ain’t H1N1, But It’s Just as Deadly: The Negative Effects of White Privilege for People of Color
Explore the realities of white privilege and the deep wounds that many people of color have felt due to this ugly reality. Hear historical perspectives and learn how the evolution of white privilege has been parented by white supremacy, racism, and institutional racism from the past to the present. Take a different look at white privilege and consider how many people of color have been conditioned to believe that they shouldn’t be afforded the privilege that white folks receive, which gives white privilege the power to positively affect many white people and negatively affect all people. Engage in this challenging opportunity to examine yourself critically and to look at the effects that white privilege has had on society and communities of color.

(Screenshot here.)

This next workshop, from the upcoming 2015 Summit, describes a process to brainwash ten-year-old white girls away from their instinctively colorblind attitude that all people are equal, regardless of skin color, and to dismantle their unacceptable “rigid sense of fairness,” and replace it with a hyper-conscious awareness of both the existence of race and the difference between races and, as the final step, to internalize in the girls a self-loathing of their own “whiteness” — which is the last of the program’s “Six Conditions” and the goal of every “conversation about race.” Conference attendees will learn how to implement these indoctrination protocols in their own schools around the country:

From a Place of Privilege – Diversity to Equity: How One NYC Private School is Working to Establish Curriculum for Ongoing Racial Identity Development in Grades 5-8
Can ten-year-old White girls talk about race? Yes, with practice. Middle School aged children are rigid in their sense of fairness and resistant to the acknowledgement of difference. We use a curriculum built around the Courageous Conversation Protocol that supports the development of our students’ capacity to talk about race. Examine a spiraling 5-8 curriculum that uses the Six Conditions to engage, sustain and deepen conversations about race among students. Experience activities that help facilitate racial identity development. Analyze the program and its evolution in order to develop your own strategies to create similar curriculum in your school.

(Screenshot here.)

Pacific Educational Group did not dream up this race-centric approach all on its own. Its practices are based on an academic discipline called “Critical Race Theory,” which is so commonplace in modern academia as to no longer even be controversial. But outside a university environment, few people have even heard of it — and the few that have are usually shocked and outraged. The phrase “Critical Race Theory,” for all its multi-syllabic high-mindedness, is nothing more than a faux-intellectual way of saying “Everything — and we mean everything — is white people’s fault.”

Much of Critical Race Theory revolves around the concept of “whiteness,” which is not simply a skin color or racial identification but rather a state of moral turpitude: To have “whiteness” means that you personally share blame for all of society’s ills. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think prejudiced thoughts or treat anyone badly; it doesn’t matter whether or not your ancestors owned slaves or instead were abolitionists fighting to free slaves; it doesn’t matter whether or not your ancestors immigrated to the United Sates in the 20th century long after slavery was outlawed; it doesn’t matter whether you’re left-wing or right-wing or apolitical; what matters is that all of American society is inherently racist and favors white people, so that if you “look white,” you benefit from a racist system, and you are therefore part of that system, and therefore racist, and therefore (to peel away the euphemisms) evil. All “Caucasian” or pale-skinned people are genetically cursed with “whiteness,” which they cannot escape or disown, but people of other skin colors and ethnicities can also possess whiteness if they conform to “white norms” and refuse to embrace anti-whiteness activism.

The average person might see this entire worldview as shockingly racist, but Critical Race Theory has that angle covered too: Racism, according to the theory, is prejudice+power; and since (according to the theory) black people have no power in society, by definition they can’t be racist. The inverse of the stigma of whiteness is therefore also true: if you lack whiteness, you are immune from criticism or condemnation.

Until recently Critical Race Theory has been just that — a “theory” safely quarantined away from the real world in the pages of scholarly journals and the hallways of Ethnic Studies departments. But Pacific Educational Group is transforming Critical Race Theory into Critical Race Practice. They’re implementing in real-world settings (K-12 classrooms) the notions that until now were discussed only hypothetically:

Creating Culturally Relevant Classrooms by Removing the Sand and Interrupting Whiteness
Join members of the CARE team from Portland DART School and share their journey to establish Culturally Relevant Classrooms using the Courageous Conversation protocol as a tool for interrupting white-normed ways of teaching and learning. Hear how DART has created classroom climates where dialogue opens doors to multiple perspectives, increases awareness of racial norms, decenters whiteness, empowers students to question, and improves engagement of all students. Participate in personal reflection, small and large group discussions, and a fun game of Courageous Conversation Vocabulary BINGO! Take home resources and examples of outcomes.

(Screenshot here.)

Any white person who refuses to accept the label “racist” and who refuses to shoulder the blame for all of society’s woes is engaging in “White Denial” and suffers from “dysconsciousness” that needs to be uprooted if that person wants to be allowed to teach children:

The Very Minds of the People We Are Trying to Save: The Pathology of White Denial and The Pedagogy of Critical Race Theory for White Educators
Professional development about race that fails to interrogate adaptive problems contributes to the devastating impact of institutional racism in schools. Learn to utilize the 1st and 6th Conditions to reveal the impact of white denial and white dialogic domination in interracial dialogue about racism. Analyze concepts of critical race theory to move from dysconsciousness to critical race consciousness, and see how it manifests in school culture, policies, and practices. Discover the adaptive solution needed to create transformative professional development programs about race.

(Screenshot here.)

As revealed in the description of this upcoming 2015 workshop, “Equity Coaching” is a euphemism for psychologically “breaking” white teachers so that they not only confess their own inescapable racism but they then also bring to their students the attitude that whites as a group are morally culpable:

Would You Like to Unpack That? Equity Coaching as a Means to Interrupt Systemic Racism and Improve Instructional Practice
Systemic racial equity change transpires when educators are given the space and support to critically reflect on their own racial consciousness and practice. Equity coaching provides sustained dialogue in a trusting environment to interrupt the presence of racism and whiteness. Using Courageous Conversation Protocol, tenets of Critical Race Theory, and instructional coaching methods, educators and coaches engage in a non-evaluative reflection aimed at transforming teacher practice.

(Screenshot here.)

Is it your fault? Of course it’s your fault. Own the guilt. Accept your villainy:

I Am George Zimmerman: A Courageous Conversation about White Supremacy, White Privilege, and Oppression
Examine issues of white supremacy, white privilege, and other forms of oppression in this interactive session. Explore how they show up in our thoughts, interactions, institutions, and cultural practices – creating divisive environments and outcomes, despite our best intentions. Practice conversational tactics that deepen understanding and engagement, especially when viewpoints differ and tensions run high. Leave with new insights, skills and tools to empower your activism as a role model and agent for social and institutional transformation.

(Screenshot here.)

PEG also strongly advocates making public schools “Afrocentric”:

Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud! An Unapologetic Infusion of Afrocentrism in Classroom Instruction
The current paradigm of classroom instruction has the potential to render our Black students invisible without explicit examination of the structural and cultural forces that reify racial inequities. Learn how Eurocentric classroom patterns impact racial identify development and learning for students of color. Explore the meaning and importance of Afrocentric instruction, and discover the benefits for students, teachers, and the school community. Leave with strategies for designing Afrocentric lessons and decentering whiteness in your classroom.

(Screenshot here.)

Proponents of Critical Race Theory have sealed every possible exit for anyone trying to escape the guilt of “whiteness”; this workshop is aimed at teachers trying to wriggle out of the hot seat by claiming they’re not part of this imaginary “white race” anyway:

I’m White? I’m White: Increasing White Racial Consciousness To Expand White Racial Consciousness
How do you examine your personal racial consciousness as a White person engaging in racial equity work? How do you support White people in schools that require racial consciousness? Engage with the Courageous Conversation protocol and the work of Dr. Janet E. Helms to understand a model of White Racial Identity Development. Personally apply the model in individual consciousness work and share your insights. Examine the intersections of the model and the Six Conditions in order to increase White racial consciousness in your school and/or district.

(Screenshot here.)

And it’s not just teachers and administrators who need to have their whiteness interrupted — even the janitors and cafeteria workers should check their white privilege and share some of the blame for creating the racist environment on campus:

Climate Change – From Theory to Practice: Saint Paul Public Schools’ Operations Division’s Journey to Interrupt Systemic Racism
Explore the presence and role of Whiteness in district operations that support educational systems. Learn how to impact changes in district climate and procedures through applying the Courageous Conversation protocol. Deepen your understanding of the role that “non-classroom-based” personnel play in creating an equitable climate of learning for students. Hear how Saint Paul Public Schools is taking on the challenge to develop a racial equity lens for operational services.

(Screenshot here.)

One of the worst sins a teacher can commit is “colorblindness” — treating all children equally and paying no attention to race. This workshop led by an “Afro-Rican” student who lectures attendees that colorblindness is racist too since it fails to actively disrupt “white cultural norms”:

Voices from the Classroom: An Afro-Rican High School Student’s Perspective on Race, Colorblindness, and Education
When teachers claim to be “colorblind” it gives them an excuse not to try and understand different racial experiences, it also takes away a big part of their students of color identity. In this session, participants will have an opportunity to hear the narrative of a student of color. She will share examples of what she had to give up of herself on a daily basis to succeed according to white cultural norms, share suggestions to support students and open up the dialogue to give teachers an opportunity to ask questions and explore their own assumptions and beliefs.
Tonicia Abdur-Salaam, Equity Transformation Specialist; Pacific Educational Group, San Francisco CA; Makkah Abdur-Salaam, Student

(Screenshot here.)

One of PEG’s areas of focus is “Restorative Justice,” a catch-all term for eliminating standard punishments (such as detention and suspension) for disruptive or violent misbehavior at school, and replacing them with what are essentially therapy and counseling sessions for the offending students.

Back in July, President Obama launched a national initiative on this exact topic, which has now become official government policy.

Many of the school districts that hire Pacific Educational Group do so only after being pressured by the U.S. Department of Education or sued by the U.S. Department of Justice to address “disparities” in the punishment rates of black students as compared to white students. The White House is now using the coercive power of government to force districts to accept PEG’s view that differing rates of school discipline for different ethnic groups are entirely due to racism on the part of teachers and administrators.

This new approach is called “decentering whiteness” in this highly euphemized workshop description:

Accelerate the Achievement of Students of Color by Decentering Whiteness in School Discipline
Students of color demonstrate accelerated achievement when they are welcomed into a culturally responsive school environment that prioritizes their presence, engagement, and learning. Explore and practice preventative/interventional measures that address student behaviors before they result in out of school time. Build on your school’s collective understanding of community, accountability, and discipline as a learning opportunity, in this highly interactive session. Leave with a perspective on an inclusive approach to school discipline and how this approach can accelerate the learning of students of color.

(Screenshot here.)

“Re-education” is a term used in communist societies for compelling people into confessing their guilt and then accepting new ideologies. This workshop concedes that for white people, attending the Summit session is a type of “re-education”:

Detour Spotting for White Racial Equity Leaders
For White people in schools, learning to become a racial equity leader is a re-education process. Understand how we take detours as we work to become racially literate and engage in race talk. Examine the common detours and learn how interrupting them will strengthen our ability to be courageous racial equity leaders who will tackle inequities as we see them and serve all students.

(Screenshot here.)

(Researchers have noticed for over a decade just how similar PEG’s workshops are to Maoist “self-criticism” public humiliation sessions.)

Despite having a worldview and a business model completely revolving around race, PEG repeats Critical Race Theory’s contradictory claim that races don’t even really exist, and are simply a “social construct.” And, yes, it is white people who invented the evil lie we call “race” (???):

Why We All “Can’t” Get Along…A Courageous Conversation About Truth, Healing and Human Reconciliation
The construction of race and racism has exacted deep physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma upon all to whom it has been imposed, enforced and reified. The loss of humanity experienced by resisters and proponents litter the conscience and landscape of the peoples, cultures and structures of the United States. In this seminar, two native sons of Indigenous and African descent explore understanding and healing from racism, racial trauma and white domination of thought and knowledge at the intersection of their critical perspectives, personally and professionally. Participants will examine our inability as humans to embrace a deeper love and how this prevents us from tapping into our greatest human and spiritual calling to get along with each other. Through Protocol this dialogue will consider the constructs of belief and behavior that have left us deplete of knowledge of and love for KMT, Turtle Island and their direct descendants, that ultimately serves as evidence of our approaching human demise and destruction. Let’s “Rise Up” together, and turn this trajectory around.
Glenn Singleton, President and Founder; Pacific Educational Group, San Francisco, CA; Anton Treuer, Executive Director, American Indian Resource Center; Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN

(Screenshot here.)

(The term “KMT” that Glenn Singleton uses, by the way, is part of a bizarre “Afrocentrism” theory that ancient Egyptians were sub-Saharan black Africans, a claim that is universally rejected by all scholars of ancient Egypt.)

The excerpts presented here are just a tiny sampling of the numerous workshops presented at “Courageous Conversations” summits. See the links near the top of this page for a complete listing of all workshops and seminars being presented this year (and in past years).

Millions of Schoolchildren Affected

Pacific Educational Group is no fringe clique of kooks — it is a large and highly respected organization which has been hired by school districts large and small across the nation (so many that odds are a child you know attends a school which implements the PEG vision).

The PEG Web site until recently used to display a list of its clients, but after some recent bad press they tried to scrub the information so that it’s no longer viewable by the public; now if you go to their “clients” page, all you’ll see is a notice that the information is only available by request.

Luckily, the internet is forever, and the pages listing all of PEG’s clients (as of 2014) are still preserved at the Internet Archive. Nearly 200 school districts across the country, serving many millions of students, have hired PEG to train their teachers and develop student curricula and establish restorative justice schemes.

For the record, here is PEG’s own list of school districts which have hired them, organized state-by-state for easy reference. Do your children attend school in any of these districts? Do you want them taught according to “Critical Race Theory”? Do you want them pressured to think of everyone in terms of race? Do you want them made to be self-conscious about their own ethnicity? Do you want them to be taught in an environment where students are intentionally treated differently according to the color of their skin?

(Numbers in parentheses after sample selected districts show the amount of students in that district being influenced by PEG’s ideologies, as an indication of the scale of the issue. All told, over 10 million students attend schools in districts which implement PEG’s “Critical Race Theory” vision — 20% of all schoolchildren in the nation. And this doesn’t even take into account the many statewide departments of education which have hired PEG to guide policy.)

Pacific Educational Group’s clients:

Anchorage School District, AK (50,000 students)
Juneau School District, AK

Kyrene School District #28, AZ
Tucson Unified School District, AZ (50,000 students)
White River Unified School District, AZ

North Little Rock School District, AR

Alameda Unified School District, CA
Aromas/San Juan Unified School District, CA
Bakersfield City School District, CA
Belmont-Redwood Shores School District, CA
Benicia Unified School District, CA
Berkeley Unified School District, CA
Brisbane Elementary School District, CA
Burlingame School District, CA
Ceres Unified School District, CA
Clovis Unified School District, CA
Davis Joint Unified School District, CA
Eastside Union School District, CA
Elk Grove Unified School District, CA
Fremont Unified School District, CA
Fresno Unified School District, CA (81,408 students)
Grossmont Union High School District, CA
Hayward Unified School District, CA
Juvenile Court and Community Schools, CA
Lemon Grove School District, CA
Live Oak School District, CA
Lodi Unified School District, CA
Long Beach Unified School District, CA (97,560 students)
Los Angeles Unified School District, CA (747,009 students)
Modesto City Schools, CA
Mt. Diablo Unified School District, CA
Natomas Unified School District, CA
North Sacramento School District, CA
Oak Grove School District, CA
Oakland Unified School District, CA (46,377 students)
Palo Alto Unified School District, CA
Pleasanton Unified School District, CA
Poway Unified School District, CA
Ravenswood City School District, CA
Redwood City School District, CA
Rialto Unified School District, CA
Sacramento City Unified School District, CA (47,900 students)
San Francisco Unified School District, CA (56,310 students)
San Jose Unified School District, CA (33,184 students)
San Leandro Unified School District, CA
San Mateo/Foster City School District, CA
Sequoia Union High School District, CA
Tracy Unified School District, CA
Vallejo City Unified School District, CA
West Contra Costa Unified School District, CA

Adams County School District 14, CO
Aurora Public Schools, CO
Cherry Creek School District, CO (46,594 students)
Denver Public Schools, CO (90,143 students)
Jefferson County Public Schools, CO (87,172 students)

Manchester Public Schools, CT
Stamford Public Schools, CT

Brandywine School District, DE
Christina County School District, DE

Hillsborough County Public Schools, FL (181,900 students)

Bibb County School District, GA
Fulton County Schools, GA (73,319 students)

Evanston Township High School District, IL
Harlem School District #122, IL
Highland Park High School District, IL
Indian Prairie School District 204, IL
New Trier Township High School, IL
Niles Township High School District, IL
Oak Park River Forest High School, IL
Township High School District 113, IL
Township High School District 214, IL
Valley View School District 365U, IL

Indianapolis Public Schools, IN
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, IN
Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, IN

Des Moines Public Schools, IA
Mason City Schools, IA

Coffeyville Public Schools, KS
Independence School District 446, KS
Lawrence Public Schools, KS
Topeka Public Schools, KS
Wichita Public Schools, KS

Anne Arundel County Public Schools, MD (74,508 students)
Baltimore County Public Schools, MD (108,523 students)
Calvert County Public Schools, MD
Caroline County Public Schools, MD
Montgomery County Public Schools, MD (139,201 students)
Prince George’s County Public Schools, MD (137,285 students)
Somerset County Public Schools, MD
St. Mary’s County Public Schools, MD
Talbot County Public Schools, MD
Wicomico County School District, MD

Boston Public Schools, MA

Ann Arbor Public Schools, MI
Macomb Intermediate School District, MI
Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, MI

Anoka-Hennepin School District, MN
Bloomington Public Schools, MN
District 196, MN
Duluth Public Schools, MN
Eden Prairie Schools, MN
Edina Public Schools, MN
Farmington Area Public Schools, MN
Hopkins Public Schools, MN
Inver Grove Heights Community Schools, MN
Lakeville Area Public Schools, MN
Minneapolis Public Schools, MN
North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale ISD 622, MN
Osseo Area Schools, MN
Richfield Public Schools, MN
Robbinsdale Area Schools, MN
Rochester Public Schools, MN
Roseville Area Schools, MN
Saint Paul Public Schools, MN
South Washington County Schools, MN
Spring Lake Park Schools, MN
St. Cloud Area School District, MN
St. Louis Park Public Schools, MN
Wayzata Public Schools, MN

Belton School District, MO
Ferguson-Florissant School District, MO
Hazelwood School District, MO

Bellevue Public Schools, NE
Lincoln Public Schools, NE

Clark County School District, NV (270,529 students)
Washoe County School District, NV

New Mexico
Albuquerque Public Schools, NM (90,537 students)

North Carolina
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, NC
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC (114,071 students)
Harnett County Schools, NC

Beachwood City Schools, OH
Fairfield City Schools, OH
Middletown City Schools, OH

Tulsa Public Schools, OK

Beaverton School District, OR
Hillsboro School District, OR
Portland Public Schools, OR
Reynolds School District, OR
Salem-Kaiser Public Schools, OR
Tigard-Tualitin School District, OR

Cheltenham Township School District, PA
Coatesville Area School District, PA
Great Valley School District, PA
Pittsburgh Public Schools, PA
Philadelphia Public Schools, PA (189,779 students)
Sto-Rox School District, PA
West Chester Area School District, PA

South Carolina
Charleston County School District, SC
Richland County School District, SC

Greeneville City Schools, TN
Memphis City Schools, TN (116,224 students)
Shelby County Schools, TN (46,808 students)

Austin Public Schools, TX
Dallas Independent School District, TX (160,584 students)
North East Independent School District, TX
Southwest Independent School District, TX

Salt Lake City School District, UT

Arlington Public Schools, VA
Loudoun County Public Schools, VA
Norfolk Public Schools, VA
Roanoke City Public Schools, VA
Virginia Beach City Public Schools, VA (76,304 students)

Bellevue School District, WA
Puyallup School District, WA
Seattle Public Schools, WA (47,000 students)
University Place School District, WA

Appleton Area School District, WI
Beloit School District, WI
Eau Claire Area School District, WI
Fond du Lac School District, WI
Green Bay Area Public Schools, WI
Janesville School District, WI
Kenosha Unified School District, WI
Madison Metropolitan Schools, WI
Monona Grove School District, WI
Oconomowoc Area School District, WI
Racine School District, WI
Stoughton Area School District, WI
Sun Prairie Area School District, WI
Verona Area School District, WI
Waukesha School District, WI
Wauwatosa School District, WI
Whitefish Bay School District, WI

Freemont County School District, WY