Following the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election, critical race theory (CRT) entered the popular narrative. The idea that America is an irredeemably racist nation is a deeply unpopular one. It is incredibly important for parents to understand the degree to which this ideology has infiltrated the educational system all over America. Here’s just one recent example from Florida’s Sarasota County.
Embracing Our Differences, Inc. appears to be a harmless organization promoting educational initiatives in Florida schools. Their website boasts that Embracing Our Differences reaches nearly 300,000 adults and children annually and that their education initiatives in local schools reached 41,585 students and 1,439 teachers in 2020-2021 alone. For an organization located in a single county in Florida, that’s a lot of visibility.
Most of the lesson plans and student activities provided by Embracing our Differences promote a concept known as “social and emotional learning.” Don’t be fooled by the kind-hearted name; social and emotional learning, or SEL, is little more than a Trojan Horse for the building blocks of CRT.
The Center for Law and Social Policy openly hails “SEL curricula” for its ability to “explicitly acknowledge students’ lived experiences with systems of power like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism and work to dismantle them within the campus and the larger community.”
A 2022 report by the Idaho Freedom Foundation states that “SEL programs seek to displace and stigmatize the old, supposedly oppressive cultural, moral religious institutions central to a child’s health and well-being such as the nuclear family, meritocracy and the church. In their place, it encourages children to embrace ideas such as gender fluidity, anti-white racism, toxic masculinity, white privilege, and the fundamentally unjust nature of American society.”
The lesson plans produced by Embracing Our Differences allow for an inside look at how the organization aims to indoctrinate schoolchildren in Florida schools. Often, fairly innocuous or boilerplate statements about diversity are paired with radical concepts derived from extremist theories of critical social justice.
One lesson plan calls for using “I Am Not an Inmate,” an NPR report by Deena Prichep that paints criminals in a sympathetic light. Some of the criminals included in the piece are Dan Huff, whose charges include robbery, prison escape, and manslaughter; Keith Moody, a drug trafficker; and Emanuel Price, convicted of attempted robbery.
Another lesson plan, intended for high schoolers, uses a piece of art as a “call to action to question their biases” and supports “dismantling bias.” The lesson encourages students to see race and oppression in every situation and falls in line with the promotion of critical race theory and deconstructionism. An artist’s statement claims that black Americans are systemically oppressed in the United States: “It is my goal to evoke change for the young men and women of color in America so that one day they will have a fair opportunity in the United States.”
A lesson plan for middle schoolers notes that in order for students to be truly “socially aware,” they must identify unjust social norms and understand “the influences of organizations/systems on behavior.” This perspective mirrors critical race theory’s central claim that oppressive systems dominate American society.
One PowerPoint presentation, intended for middle schoolers, proposes that similar forces to those that animated the Holocaust are widespread in America and that students may harbor unconscious biases that are “recycled” from Nazism.
Funding CRT and SEL
Embracing Our Differences receives funding from taxpayer and private sources. For instance, Macy’s gave EOD a $5,000 grant in 2021, intended to promote diversity workshops for educators and to fund the creation of student clubs aligned with EOD’s mission.
Other corporate sponsors include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota Magazine, and Mariash Lowther Capital Management, which is partnered with Merrill Lynch. The alliance of “Woke Capital” with left-wing non-profits is a disturbing development in local education.
As dangerous as it is that woke companies are funding the teaching of CRT in Florida schools, Embracing Our Differences is also financially supported by the local government. They are the recipients of a $43,157 grant from the Sarasota County Commission, as well as a $31,488 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
The ideas taught by Embracing Our Differences are not limited to Sarasota. They are taught in schools up and down the state and across the country. You are being defrauded in order to indoctrinate your children.