Who is responsible for challenging the Indoctrination of White Supremacist Children?
Until what age is racism considered forgivable, based on the assumption that the remarks or actions are a result of them not knowing any better? Who should be held accountable for teaching children that racism is harmful and wrong? When a school system is mandated to specifically not teach positive topics such as diversity and inclusion, when public educators are prohibited from participating in this critical education for children, then the responsibility is left in the hands of the parents. Unfortunately, this often leaves a major gap in education and understanding, and the resulting effects are devastating to people of color and the overall health of all our communities.
Let me provide some examples;
Example one is what is currently happening in Florida, where multiple math books were banned from schools, using the claim that the books were pushing critical race theory onto the students. Yes, you read that right, MATH BOOKS!? The state of Florida Department of Education said the books were rejected because “publishers were attempting to indoctrinate students.” Who knew mathematics could be so controversial!
Politicians are meant to represent and support everyone in their communities, not just the people they socially identify with, yet we continue to see the disparities. During the signing of the Stop Woke Act, Florida State Governor commented, “We believe in education, not indoctrination.” DeSantis said Florida students will not have oppressive ideologies imposed on them, as the bill provides “substantive protections” for students in grades K to 12. He said “pernicious ideologies” will not be allowed.
The suppression of teaching history in schools, especially in regards to both Indigenous and Black history in the United States continues. Many educators fear experiencing repercussions, including losing their jobs, for teaching topics that talk about slavery, lynching, race massacres, segregation, and any current discriminatory issues faced by people of color.
More reading on this topic: https://apnews.com/article/education-florida-discrimination-campaigns-presidential-elections-942f021c3070e7d1cdfb59d2351b6a75
Another recent example is an incident that happened in Florida that can be seen in a photo with six white children standing in front of their middle school (Middle Oaks Middle School in Palm City, Florida) happily displaying a racist slur spelled out in large letters. The story reached news site but the faces are not shown due to their ages as minors, however, the photo was seen on social media sites and can be found at the link below by an amazing tik tok social justice commentator Michael https://www.tiktok.com/@tizzyent/video/7099541460718062890?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en
There should be zero tolerance for this type of hate crime, and yes, it is a hate crime. Reportedly, the school is investigating and plans to take actions against the students, but the parents should be questioned and held just as responsible for the ripple effects and harm that is caused by these types of actions.
More reading on this topic: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article261525737.html
Sadly, hate crimes enforcing white supremacy is nothing new in the United States, it has been going on far too long without being adequately addressed. A photo taken from 1919 (found above), shows multiple children celebrating with adults over the burning of a Black family’s home during the Chicago Red Summer race riots.
We often feel as a society that we have made substantial progress in terms of solidarity and racial equality, yet old patterns continue to be seen, and the same excuses are being used in an attempt to justify them.
Working towards change:
Racism is embedded in the very fabric of American society, therefore, education, understanding, and accountability could not be more important.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a long-time non-profit organization that works against racism by exposing hate crimes across the country, has long offered a curriculum called Learning For Justice. This program assists educators towards social justice in an effort to “dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights for all people.”
To start actively addressing white supremacy, SPLC recommends the following actions
It is impossible to overstate the importance of elected officials, business and community leaders, civic and faith leaders, military commanders and law enforcement executives using their public platforms to condemn hate, racism, attacks on voting and democratic institutions, and extremism in all forms.
• It is especially important that politicians, civic leaders and law enforcement officials repudiate dangerous and false conspiracy theories like the “great replacement” theory, which has now moved from far-right extremist spaces into the political mainstream. Despite its clearly violent implications, far too many politicians and pundits now repeat the myth regularly.
• Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, should provide more resources for programs and processes for early intervention. Programs in these areas should focus on extended support for victims, survivors and targeted communities more broadly, as the trauma resulting from racially motivated violence often reverberates widely. These programs should also focus on inoculating communities against extremism and empowering adults to help steer young people away from dangerous ideas.
These guidelines should be applied across the country and Canadians should advocate for reform as well. It has gone on way too long and white supremacy and racism needs to come to an end. Let’s stop this intergenerational violence and the resulting trauma.
Book group discussion topics:
RED Summer Prologue (trigger warning, disturbing images of violence and murder)
White supremacy in the United States was rampant as more Black Americans migrated North in search of work. Housing shortages prevailed and segregation forced many to live in polluted and unsafe parts of Chicago, yet with perseverance Black communities continued to grow. New white European immigrants also participated in the oppression of Black people moving into Chicago, as they were seen as competitors for work. Tension in the country was exacerbated by the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, leading to the lynching of 64 people in 1918 and an additional 83 people in 1919. It is documented that they participated in riots/massacres in Washington, D.C.; Knoxville, Tennessee; Longview, Texas; and Phillips county, Arkansas. Although little is actually documented about the secretive KKK in Illinois before 1920, it is important to note there was Klan activities reported in the State in 1919. In the early 1920s, Chicago Klavern headquarters was in downtown next to the courthouse and attorney Charles Palmer was eventually elected Grand Dragon of Illinois.
According to journalist for Al Jazeera, Dorceta E. Taylor, July 27, 1919 was sweltering at 96 degrees, as five young men who were not great swimmers built a raft for safety, and entered Michigan Lake on 25th street in the segregated beach area for Black people. The beaches and nearby neighborhoods were heavily patrolled by gangs of white men, who carried bricks and rocks and were often harassing and threatening the Black people in the area. The five Black teens in the incident included Eugene Williams aged 17, who worked at a grocery produce store and had graduated high school. His friends John Harris, Charles and Lawrence Williams (brothers), and Paul Williams (not related) were excited to spend time together on the lake. As they pushed their homemade raft out to a marker in the lake they were unaware that there was some altercations on the shore, nor did they realize that the segregation line extended into the lake. When a white man, George Stauber (a 24 year old baker) began lobbing rocks at them they were not too worried because it was 75 feet out and they thought they could dodge the rocks. Unluckily, Eugene had just surfaced and was struck in the head. When he went down John attempted to save him but was not able to do so. When a Black lifeguard was summoned and able to reach them, Eugene was already dead. Witnesses saw the attack and started towards Stauber, who ran to the segregated white beach for safety. He was not arrested by police for the crime at the time, and was later acquitted of all charges by a grand jury.
When the news spread to the different neighborhoods the story became distorted on both sides so the rage was fueled by the death of Eugene Williams. Crowds of people formed to confront each other and the rampant violence began. The rioting continued for five days and the state militia was summoned to stop the rioting and get the people back to their neighborhoods, furthering the racial divide. Reportedly 23 Black and 15 white citizens were killed, and 537 people were injured, with most of the injuries inflicted on Black people. Properties were ransacked by white people (including children) roaming the neighborhoods, fires were set, and Black families were driven from their homes leaving over 1,000 Black families homeless. The Great War veterans returned home to poverty and discrimination after fighting for the country that they risked their lives for and were often targeted by white supremacists. Black veterans, including decorated heroes, were making a stand for their rights as American citizens. Black veterans joined the struggle and organized themselves to defend their families and neighborhoods. This is how the book begins.