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Queens Chronicle

ON POINT Identity politics doesn’t improve NYC education

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2019 10:30 am

It would be an unthinkable, career-ending act if a government administrator spent millions of tax dollars on outside consultants to create racially charged staff presentations to root out “toxic blackness” and a culture of “Black Supremacy.” Likewise, it would be unthinkable to then send your senior administrators to reeducation boot camps where they’re taught to “take a step back” and “yield” to white colleagues, and to focus on white people rather than black people. These would be prime examples of racial bigotry at its worst — if true. But truth be told, under Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza, it is happening.

Senior administrators have been told to take just this sort of action and yield to their black colleagues; to focus on black people over white people; and to “root out toxic whiteness” and a “white supremacy culture” that according to the Chancellor “permeates” every nook and cranny of the NYC school system. Interchanging the words “white” or “black” makes it no less racist and offensive. Judging people by immutable characteristics such as skin color is the definition of racism.

Chancellor Carranza is on a zealous crusade to root out “toxic whiteness” and “white supremacy.” He is convinced that our school system is plagued with systemic racism that is rampant even though the NYC school system has been led for decades by racially diverse chancellors, closely coordinating with the UFT and a progressive mayor and City Council — hardly a radical group of white supremacists.

A byproduct of this racially divisive mission to alter the NYC school system was a recent school job posting on Indeed.com — reported by the New York Post and quickly taken down when exposed — that sought to hire “teachers of color for the 2019-2020 school year.” This job posting violated numerous city, state and federal statutes.

Carranza is currently being sued by three senior white educators who allege that they were forced out and replaced by lessqualified African-American educators simply because of their skin color. Elected officials, with the sole exceptions of Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli and freshman Queens Councilman Bob Holden, have remained silent on this subject. Meanwhile, a hostile work environment is brewing in our schools and the “toxic whiteness” obsession is being prioritized at the expense of students, whose graduation rates and academic achievements continue to falter. Interestingly, Carranza, who came from San Francisco, did not send his own children to public school but instead sent them to an elite middle and high school.

Culturally rich neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little Italy in Manhattan, and Koreatown and Little India in Queens are seen by administrators such as Carranza as pockets of institutional “segregation” that infect their local schools. In reality, these wonderful neighborhood meccas are proof of legitimate desires of people with shared cultures, languages and histories to want to live in close proximity to one another.

Mr. Carranza practices the kind of identity politics that divides people into racial and ethnic categories and pits one group against another, while fomenting animosity along the way. Anyone who opposes his radical racial engineering is labeled a “racist” — making any legitimate discussion of this topic taboo. Indoctrination seminars are now mandated for senior administrators by Carranza. One of these lessons lists some of the telltale signs of white supremacy; “perfectionism, a sense of urgency, worship of the written word, individualism, and objectivity.” In a saner time, these performance characteristics would be considered virtues and hallmarks of success. The Carrranza re-education camps require “White Privilege Exercises” where questions are skewed to elicit what the Chancellor calls “implicit bias.” Any attempt to deny your own implicit bias or question it is proof that you yourself are biased. This type of circular reasoning makes it virtually impossible to have a legitimate discussion or debate on this topic.

All of this unfettered social engineering does nothing to improve education scores, drop-out rates or escalating rates of school violence and bullying. What remains is a failed school system in which racial tensions are stoked — not soothed — children continue to suffer, and educational success becomes a mere afterthought.

Bob Friedrich is President of Glen Oaks Village, a civic leader and a former City Council candidate.

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