A New York college prep school sent white parents literary materials asking them to identify their “level” of whiteness, ranging from “white supremacist,” which is depicted in red, to “white abolitionist,” depicted in green.
According to race education watchdog Christopher Rufo, white parents of sixth- through 12th-graders received the “tool for action” from the principal of East Side Community School asking them to work toward becoming white traitors and abolitionists by “subverting white authority” as well as “changing institutions, dismantling whiteness, and not allowing whiteness to reassert itself.”
“This is the new language of public education,” Rufo tweeted along with a graphic depicting the “8 white identities.”
SCOOP: The principal of East Side Community School in New York sent white parents this "tool for action," which tells them they must become "white traitors" and then advocate for full "white abolition."
This is the new language of public education. pic.twitter.com/0XA3xUpcuT
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) February 15, 2021
The curriculum, authored by Barnor Hesse, an associate professor of African American studies, political science, and sociology at Northwestern University, weaponizes language such as “superiority” and “white regime” to challenge people who operate without fully acknowledging the “burden of Blackness.”
“There is a regime of whiteness, and there are action-oriented white identities. People who identify with whiteness are one of these. It’s about time we build an ethnography of whiteness, since white people have been the ones writing about and governing Others,” the list reads.
Hesse often advocates for similar ideals on his now-limited Twitter page, openly advocating for “All Black liberation” and criticizing “whiteness.”
The graphic also appears to have been produced and dispersed by the Slow Factory Foundation, a progressive climate and race action group, in June of last year, shortly after the death of George Floyd as violent riots were breaking out in cities all around the nation. The organization, which claims it is devoted to “dismantling colonial systems of oppression” and “promoting systemic change towards regenerative social and environmental systems,” also often advocates for “equity-centered education” focused on creating and delivering resources about “power structures and historical social context as a key driver of any topic.”
Some of the group’s initiatives, including their “Study Hall” conference series devoted to “using fashion as a medium for social & environmental change,” are sponsored by many big-name donors, including Adidas, Tesla, YouTube, Gucci-Dapper Dan, and TED. These conferences, the Slow Factory webpage states, “prioritize and center the voices of Black, Brown, Indigenous and other marginalized voices” to deliver and create sustainable literacy resources for education and other “partnerships.” The group also frequently advocates for causes outside of fashion and race on its social media, including encouraging its followers to free Palestine, oppose capitalism, celebrate the death of Captain Cook by native Hawaiians, and “burn the colonial state with me.”