Political Correctness Roundup: School Officials Attack Easter, Thanksgiving, and “White Privilege”

A Minnesota school district is “laying off 94 teachers” even while spending thousands of dollars to send “a delegation” of teachers to an annual “White Privilege Conference” with Marxist speakers, notes the National Review:

“This will cost the district $160 a day for each teacher plus $125 a day for the substitutes who will handle their classes while they are away, learning ‘how white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression affects daily life.’ Other cash-strapped districts will also be sending delegations. The keynote speaker will be Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,” who was “part of the Venceremos Brigade in Cuba. . .Last year’s speaker recommended looking to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela for ‘exciting progressive developments.’ The sponsors of this educational event include the University of Minnesota,” and the private institutions “Hamline University, Gustavus Adolphus College,” and “Augsburg College, among others.”

The Seattle schools, a past participant in the White Privilege Conference, recently insisted that Easter eggs be referred to as “spring spheres” so as not to offend non-Christians. In 2007, the Seattle Schools illegally used federal funds to send students to the White Privilege Conference. (One of the Conference speakers says that Christianity has far too much influence in our society.)

“Past speakers at White Privilege Conferences include Obama’s Department of Education appointee, Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.” In a move trumpeted by Jennings, the Education Department recently reinterpreted federal harassment regulations under Title IX to reach constitutionally-protected speech even outside of schools (as well as bullying and homophobia that, however morally objectionable, are not covered by existing federal civil-rights statutes).

The Seattle School District also said that celebrating Thanksgiving is racially insensitive. The Seattle Schools told parents that Thanksgiving is a “time of mourning” and a “reminder of 500 years of betrayal” of Native Americans. This is the same school district that claimed for several years that “individualism” is a form of “cultural racism,” that only whites can be racist, and that planning ahead is a white characteristic that is racist to expect minorities to exhibit. (Those claims were criticized in Supreme Court opinions in the 5-to-4 decision striking down racial quotas in Seattle’s schools.)

Glenn Singleton, the Seattle Schools’ “diversity” consultant, was later hired by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell (D), as well as several school districts, such as Arlington, Virginia. So this politically-correct nonsense may soon be coming to your own child’s school. Maybe the celebrated author Mark Twain was right when he questioned the wisdom of school boards. (Singleton, by the way, claims that Mark Twain was a racist.)

Diversity training often backfires, resulting in animosity among employees of different races, and even lawsuits. In Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co. (1995), where employee reactions to diversity training gave rise to a lawsuit, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that “diversity training sessions generate conflict and emotion” and that “diversity training is perhaps a tyranny of virtue.”