Progressive school administrator or white nationalist? Sometimes it’s hard to tell

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Public schools in Montgomery County in Maryland, one of the wealthiest systems in the country, are reviewing their curriculum. One of its goals is to “develop interconnected and interdisciplinary learning experiences for students” that “strengthen students’ sense of racial, ethnic and tribal identity, help students understand and resist systems of oppression, and allow students to see themselves as agents of change. ” (tip of the hat, Josh Kraushaar.)

I no longer reside in Montgomery County, thank God, but what if parents aren’t particularly interested in having their children identify primarily as members of a racial, ethnic, and tribal class ? What if parents challenge the corrosive and self-destructive notion that their children’s immutable characteristics strengthen them or make them more vulnerable to oppression? What if they don’t believe in collective guilt? What if they have different ideas about systems of oppression? What if you want your children to be educated, happy, and productive members of diverse communities rather than irritating, didactic, busy “agents of change”?

While certainly not a new observation, it is striking how the authors of MoCo’s “Antracist System Audit” use virtually the same verbiage as far-right pseudo-intellectual racists to justify their world Vision. Inez Stepman makes this point about Ibrahim Kendi’s “anti-racism” rhetoric, but it works in this case too.

If the Montgomery County public school system used American Renaissance “what we believe” language verbatim in its “antracist system audit” – without “racial realism” – would anyone notice? I doubt.

Martha K. Merrill