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: