According to The New York Post, four white women who work as administrators in the New York City school system are preparing a discrimination lawsuit against the city. They allege that under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handpicked school chancellor, Richard Carranza, they have been demoted and marginalized solely on the basis of their race, and that the idea of whiteness has become “toxic” in the Department of Education.
“These decisions are being made because DOE leadership believes that skin color plays a role in how to get equity – that white people can’t convey the message,” one source told the Post. The Department has given a $775,000 contract to Pacific Education Group, Inc., a consulting firm that claims to help institutions fight racism but has some rather racist ideas about how to achieve that goal.
According to Pacific’s materials, racism is “any act that even unwittingly tolerates, accepts, or reinforces racially unequal opportunities or outcomes for children to learn and thrive.” “Outcomes” is the key word here. Apparently if there are any aggregate differences in grades or academic achievement between racial groups, it is simply a result of racism. As if, with no evidence to support it, we should believe that without racism, everyone would get exactly the same grades.
Pacific goes on to define “whiteness” as “The component of each and every one of ourselves that expects assimilation to the dominant culture.” According to sources that have been through this DOE racial training course, whiteness, or white supremacy, because, of course, are described as “characterized by perfectionism, a belief in meritocracy, and the Protestant work ethic.”
All of this comes amid the backdrop of the city and Mayor de Blasio attempting to change the admission rules for New York’s elite public high schools because Asian students are winning many of the spots under the decades-old process that only takes test scores into account. Apparently it is a problem that Asians are managing to achieve under the toxic white concept of meritocracy.
This abject insanity raises some serious questions for de Blasio, a straight, cis white man who this week decided that he should be president of the United States. Mind you, de Blasio entered a presidential campaign in which arguably more qualified people of color, who are outperforming him in the polls, are already in the race. Talk about white privilege.
The bottom line is that that de Blasio is overseeing a Department of Education that is discriminating against white employees in the name of fighting discrimination. Far worse, it is sending the message to white students, and all students, that whiteness itself is a terrible thing that must be suppressed and punished. Unless, of course, you happen to be the white mayor of New York City. Then you should be rewarded with the presidency.
As de Blasio hits the cornfields of Iowa and the television studios of the nation’s news organizations, these questions should be front and center. Does de Blasio believe that whiteness is toxic? Does he believe that a just education system results not just in equal opportunity, but equal outcomes? Does he think it is wise to spend nearly $1 million dollars on a consulting firm that spreads these messages to the staff of the Department of Education? And finally, if whiteness is so toxic, shouldn’t he practice what he preaches and step aside not only as a presidential candidate, but also as mayor?
The good news in all of this is the lawsuit itself. For years many people, and not just white people, have felt cowed by an anti-racism pedagogy that is itself blatantly discriminatory and that laughs in the face of the American concept of equal opportunity. According to one of the Post’s sources, white educators who object to this training on race are called “defensive” or “fragile.” There is nothing defensive or fragile about fighting discrimination, and the women bringing this suit should be applauded.
De Blasio has cast himself in the role of the white savior, who will bring all the other white people down a peg. The nice thing about this role is that it doesn’t apply to him. While the rest of the white people shut up, or accept unfair demotions and pay cuts, he thinks he should be the most powerful white man in the world.
When de Blasio threw his name in the hat to become president, this lawsuit against his Department of Education stopped being merely a local New York City story. It is now a national one. And the national news media must demand from de Blasio some serious answers.