Glenn Singleton of Pacific Educational Group has become a rich man by preaching racism, hate, and scapegoating. School systems hire him for hundreds of thousands of dollars to insult and scapegoat teachers and students based on their race under the guise of "diversity training." That embarrasses the school systems that hire him in high-profile legal cases. Yet foolish school superintendents continue to hire him at exorbitant rates, as the Discriminations blog notes, citing a recent story in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Previously, Singleton embarrassed the Seattle Schools. In 2002, they hired him to indoctrinate their students and staff about racism. As a result, they redefined racism consistent with Singleton's extreme and radical beliefs. The Seattle Schools defined "individualism" as a form of "cultural racism," said that only whites can be racist, and claimed that planning ahead ("future time orientation") is a white characteristic that it is racist to expect minorities to exhibit.
Singleton promotes the basest racial stereotypes, such as claiming that “'white talk' is 'verbal, impersonal, intellectual' and 'task-oriented,' while 'color commentary' is 'nonverbal, personal, emotional' and 'process-oriented.'” He also blathers about "the ubiquity of white privilege and racism," and depicts Asian students as being "majority students" just like whites because they have the temerity to succeed academically in a predominantly white society. But although he views minority culture as not being "intellectual" and "task-oriented," it is white teachers whom he blames for the underperformance of many minority students, since he claims it would be a "racist statement" to place any responsibility for minority underperformance on minorities themselves.
Singleton's rantings would have passed unnoticed had it not been for the legal challenge to the Seattle Schools' use of race in student assignment. Lower courts had upheld their use of race, and the case was pending before the Supreme Court, which had the option of declining to review the case without comment, as it had more than a dozen prior cases involving the use of race by public schools in student assignment.
But then Seattle's bizarre and racist definitions of racism, closely tracking Singleton's own extreme beliefs, came to my attention. At my suggestion, the widely-read Volokh Conspiracy law blog, which has been cited in federal appellate court opinions, and is read by Supreme Court clerks, publicized those definitions on May 17, 2006 (citing me), and shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court, which had previously held over the case for discussion, decided to review it. The Seattle Schools, embarrassed by public ridicule, took down the Singleton-influenced definitions of racism, which I used to urge the Supreme Court to hear the case.
In June 2007, the Supreme Court struck down Seattle's use of race, and 4 of the 9 justices cited Seattle's wacky, Singleton-influenced, definitions of racism in the course of their opinions. Justice Thomas, for example, cited those definitions as an object lesson in why not to defer to school districts when they use race. I filed the brief that brought those wacky definitions to the Supreme Court's attention; it was one of the few amicus briefs filed in the case that opposed Seattle's use of race. As a result of losing the case, Seattle is expected to pay more than a million dollars in attorneys fees to the lawyers who challenged its use of race.
Despite greatly embarrassing the Seattle School District, which hired him, Singleton continues to be hired by school superintendents to preach his weird message of racism and scapegoating. The Greenwich, Connecticut schools have hired him as a diversity consultant. So, too, has Jack O'Connell, California's Superintendent of Public Instruction, who has hired Singleton and given him the opportunity to scapegoat white teachers for the poor performance of some minority students. And so has a Colorado school district that gave Singleton a "six-figure consulting contract." Singleton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars to barrage a captive audience with racism and hate. Yet he thinks he's oppressed!
Superintendent O'Connell is duty bound to enforce the California Constitution, which bans racial discrimination, and specifically forbids race-based affirmative action in the public schools in Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution (known as "Proposition 209"). Yet he has hired Singleton, who has attacked this fundamental constitutional provision that O'Connell is legally required to enforce. O'Connell should wake up to his legal responsibilities and fire Singleton. So, too, should the Greenwich schools.
Singleton can be held individually liable for aiding and abetting discrimination against white and Asian students in the school districts that hire him under 42 U.S.C. 1981. Contrary to Singleton's racist belief, racism is not a white monopoly, as the federal appeals courts have recognized in holding institutions liable for harassing or mistreating their white employees. See, e.g., Bowen v. Missouri Department of Social Services (2002) (racial harassment of white employee by black co-worker); Taxman v. Board of Education (1996) (school board liable for termination of white teacher).
"Diversity" training seminars that insult whites or males can give rise to successful harassment lawsuits, such as Hartman v. Pena (1998), which allowed a white male to sue for sexual harassment over an insulting gender-awareness seminar, and Robinson v. Reed (1978), which allowed a woman to sue for invasive questions in a race-relations seminar.
During my studies at Harvard Law School, I encountered a lot of people like Singleton: rich, privileged, and angry, with a chip on their shoulder based on their race. No amount of financial success, it seems, can take away away their sense of racial bitterness and entitlement.
I grew up as the son of a widow, so I didn't have a stereotypically privileged background. But I wasn't bitter. I was, and am, grateful to live in one of the freest, most prosperous countries on Earth. My father grew up in a poor immigrant household eating lots of cabbage and potatoes. And my brother, a wealthy man, got where he is today through hard work and persistence (as a teenager, he would typically study until 1 a.m. in the morning).
Singleton wouldn't appreciate that hard work. He would just chalk it up to what he dismisses as annoying white characteristics, such as being "task-oriented" and "intellectual." Why work hard when you can get rich off of "diversity" scams instead?