Analysis: Teaching intolerance in the guise of promoting tolerance

Robert Woodson, Sr.

A middle-school teacher in suburban Virginia confided in a friend about a troubling incident that was causing her nightmares. She had touched a student’s sleeve when telling him to quiet down, and he told her: “Take your F— hands off me, old woman, or I’ll smash your face through a window.” She said she wouldn’t bring the incident to the principal’s attention because he was under pressure to reduce suspensions in the school and that a book called “Don’t Kick Them Out” was required reading for his teachers.

As in all other school districts throughout the nation, the school where she taught had received a mandate from the Department of Education under the Obama Administration to reduce the racial disparity in suspension rates, which were three times higher for black students than for whites. In response, throughout the country, the method to do this was not to address and change the violent and antisocial behavior of students, but to target the presumed bigotry and discrimination on the part of the teachers.

This methodology was in sync with the dominant narrative of the powerful race-grievance industry that any racial disparity was evidence of racism. This conviction is held in abeyance only in the sports arena, where the fact that black males, who make up 6 percent of the population yet account for more than 70% of the players of the NBA and NFL, is a disparity that is attributed to their skill and talent.

“Don’t Kick Them Out” was amateurish, lacked logical structure and was riddled with grammatical errors and pretentious language. Its key merit was that it took to task the all-purpose villains of white privilege and institutional racism. Included in its guidance were comments such as this: “If a student uses profanity, why would we suspend him? He has proven that he has a limited vocabulary.” Others have held that penalizing youths for swearing is “linguistic racism.”

The aggressive student who had threatened the middle-school teacher was not reprimanded. Just weeks later, he was among a cohort of young thugs who cornered a learning-disabled boy in the bathroom and “beat him to a pulp” with a sink they had torn from the wall.

The sophomoric product of “Don’t Kick Them Out” pales in comparison to the polished power-points and finely honed workshops and conferences produced by the San Francisco-based Pacific Education Group (PEG), a company that has been given contracts with more than 50 school districts and has raked in millions of dollars for its slick productions. PEG plies its anti-white-privilege products with euphemistic titles such as “cultural competency training,” “courageous conversations” and “restorative justice” programs, in which teachers are told they are largely to blame for bad behavior of black students because they “misinterpret” African American culture.