The Dalton School Faculty ‘Anti-Racism’ Manifesto Pushes Critical Race Theory Into Every Aspect of Education
Demand “all faculty, staff, administration, Parent Association volunteers, and trustees should undergo yearly anti-racist training,” the curriculum be reworked centered on anti-racism, and special benefits for black faculty.
Critical Race Theory, and mandatory racial training under the guise of “anti-racism,” is damaging higher education, a topic we explored in our recent live event:
It is not the concept of judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It is everything about judging people by the color of their skin. And it is not about equality or equal opportunity. It is about “equity”. Equity is a word you will see used very frequently, and it may slip by you. You may think equity means equality, and that’s not actually what it means. It means equality of outcome, as opposed to an equality of opportunity, as opposed to an equality of treatment. So, it’s not about affording all citizens equal rights, regardless of race or ethnicity. It’s not about what was the ethos, when I was growing up, of the civil rights movement, which is affording everyone of every race a full seat at the American table. It is in fact about flipping that table over ….
You are either racist, or you are “anti-racist”. There is no middle ground there. You cannot be simply “not racist”. Simply treating everybody fairly is a racist act. According to that doctrine, you have to be an activist. You have to actively participate in seeking to root out racism and to explore your own racism. It’s very much a doctrine where you’re either with us where you are against us. There is no middle ground. And if you are against us, by definition, you are racist. And that has profound implications for free speech on campus and for the free exchange of ideas. Because if you disagree with them, then you are racist. And, if you are racist, according to a lot of people on campuses, you have no right to be on campus. You have no right to speak. So, this is a very pernicious doctrine
The damage also is taking place before students get to college, in secondary and elementary schools. It is driven by ideologically-obsessed teachers and administrators who exhibit the worst tendencies of college social justice warriors in compiling lists of demands which focus on race above all else.
Dalton has had more than its share of controvery regarding race, no more so than now.
The backdrop to the current controversy is Dalton’s plans to reopen after some parents objected to paying full tuition for online classes, leading to claims that reopening was racist and favored the wealthier white parents. Johnston writes, The Dalton School Is in a Full Meltdown:
Possibly relenting under the pressure, Dalton has announced plans to reopen, but this has ignited another firestorm, this time from the faculty.
Apparently, reopening is racist.
The charge has been leveled by black faculty and staffers. They suggest, among other things, that faculty of color are more at risk from having to come to work. The reasoning is that they have, on average, more distant commutes and therefore expose themselves longer to risky public transportation.
But that’s just the start of Dalton’s problems.
Over one hundred faculty have taken the opportunity to issue a lengthly set of racially-based demands that are breathtaking in their wokeness. Black students have added their own demands.
These demands, which have been obtained exclusively by the Naked Dollar, go on for eight pages, and have as their underlying assumption that Dalton is systemically racist. Dalton’s teachers are refusing to come back until they are met. Parents are in an uproar, some threatening to remove their children. Major donors are said to be balking. The board, filled with New York movers and shakers, is in turmoil. The Naked Dollar has learned they have contracted an outside consulting firm to advise on handling the crisis.
Johnston then recites a partial list of faculty demands, which include paying off student load debt of black faculty and reconfiguring the curriculum around diversity narrative:
Here is just a sample of the demands:
- The hiring of twelve (!) full time diversity officers
- An additional full time employee whose “entire role is to support Black students who come forward with complaints.”
- Hiring of multiple psychologists with “specialization on the psychological issues affecting ethnic minority populations.”
- Pay off student debt of incoming black faculty
- Re-route 50% of all donations to NYC public schools
- Elimination of AP courses if black students don’t score as high as white
- Required courses on “Black liberation”
- Reduced tuition for black students whose photographs appear in school promotional materials
- Public “anti-racism” statements required from all employees
- Mandatory “Community and Diversity Days” to be held “throughout the year”
- Required anti-bias training to be conducted every year for all staff and parent volunteers
- Mandatory minority representation in (otherwise elective) student leadership roles
- Mandatory diversity plot lines in school plays
- Overhaul of entire curriculum to reflect diversity narratives
The demands for additional staffers alone would add millions of dollars to Dalton’s annual budget. Siphoning off 50% of donations would dry up funding. Eliminating AP classes (referred to as “leveled courses”) would destroy college admissions. It’s not an exaggeration to say these demands, if implemented, would destroy Dalton altogether. According to insiders, much damage has already been done.
In a separate post, Johnston has the full list.
Dalton has confirmed the list, though refusing to characterize it as “demands” in a press release emailed to us by Dalton’s public relations firm in response to our inquiry. Instead, they characterize the list as “thought-starters” to help guide Dalton “to become an anti-racist institution”:
Statement attributed to a spokesperson for Dalton:
“Dalton’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racism is grounded in our deep appreciation for the dignity of all community members, an understanding of differing life backgrounds, empathy for one another, and the ability to engage and listen with respect across differences.
What is erroneously being referred to as “faculty demands” is in fact a set of thought-starters created this summer by a subset of faculty and staff responding to Dalton’s commitment to become an anti-racist institution. While Dalton prides itself as a leader in this important work and welcomes honest debate around how to meaningfully bring these principles to life, the school does not support all the language or actions it contains. Instead, Dalton is actively, thoughtfully engaged in securing consensus around what equity and inclusion mean to our community, in line with our standards for academic excellence. We look forward to sharing meaningful progress towards that end in the months ahead.”
The Dalton Head of School Jim Best issued a more detailed rebuttal in an email to the Dalton community (reprinted at The Naked Dollar):
To the Dalton Community,
As you may know, a blog called “The Naked Dollar” has blatantly and erroneously mischaracterized diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Dalton. I feel compelled to set the record straight lest it—and any additional media coverage that may follow—be taken seriously.
At issue is a “thought starter” document created this summer by a subset of faculty and staff with ideas on how to achieve Dalton’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. While the blog refers to these ideas as “faculty demands,” that is not true. The document—which was only recently brought to my attention—was never presented to, nor considered by, the administration, and we do not stand behind all of the concepts shared or actions proscribed. In short, what the blog characterizes as current or possible policy is instead a set of ideas created at a specific moment in time as a well-intentioned effort to help Dalton navigate this critical issue.
What the blog post does get right, albeit unintentionally, is the spirit of intellectual debate that uniquely defines our community. Part of Dalton’s magic is that our students are inspired to “go forth unafraid” by educators who aren’t afraid to think boldly. In this instance, sparked by a national outpouring of grief and pain around racial injustice, some faculty and staff took the step of questioning the status quo around age-old structures that may foster systemic racism. And while there are better ways to go about advancing those views, I wouldn’t wish for a culture in which the authors didn’t feel free to express themselves. However, I will continue to clarify expectations and processes with faculty and staff that lead to more collaborative and productive outcomes.
Dalton prides itself as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion and will always welcome community input and honest debate around how to meaningfully bring these principles to life. To that end, as mentioned in my December 8th “DEI and Anti-Racism Update,” Dalton is actively, thoughtfully engaged in rethinking how our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is realized in our curriculum and in our student and community life—always in keeping with our strong values and high standards of academic excellence.
We will begin this reset with the launch of a comprehensive discipline review of our DEI efforts and will supplement this work with the results of a community-wide survey. Together, these will inform the development and coordination of a cohesive and developmentally appropriate anti-racist curriculum. I look forward to sharing an update on progress towards this goal in early January. In the meantime, you can check the Commitment to Anti-Racism Progress Report on our website.
I hope you share my pride in Dalton’s leadership role in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism and that we stand together as a unified community. And while this forward-looking role may sometimes put us in the spotlight, it also illuminates the importance of what we are trying to achieve together.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, and I trust you’ll continue to support the hard and necessary work to get this right.
Johnston scoffed at this characterization of the list as “thought-starters, noting that the document was signed by 100 faculty:
2. Head of School sent an email to all parents saying list of demands is just a “working document.” What kind of working document is signed by over 100 people?
— Scott C. Johnston (@SJohnston60) December 19, 2020
The NY Post reports that a backlash is brewing among parents:
“My ancestors experienced white supremacy by being slaughtered,” a Jewish parent told The Post. “The idea that being white automatically means you are privileged or a white supremacist is ridiculous. My child comes from people who had to fight for everything they got.
“It’s just about skin color now.”
Those who disagree remain silent, the insider said. “Parents are terrified to speak up for fear of retribution. Parents are acting like spineless wimps.”
One Dalton father, who said he’s removed his children from the school as a result of the manifesto, said Dalton “has totally failed in its mission to uplift the very people it professes to help.
“It’s completely absurd and a total step backwards,” the father, who did not want to be identified, told the Post.
“This supposed anti-racist agenda is asking everyone to look at black kids and treat them differently because of the color of their skin,” he said. “The school is more focused on virtue-signaling this nonsense than it is in actually helping students of color. More parents are going to be pulling their kids out.”
The Daily Mail reports that many parents are pulling their children from the school.
CRT and the misleadingly named “anti-racism” activism seeks to tear down what it views as a systemically racist system. At Dalton, that system is Dalton. As Wright perceptively notes:
Teachers are holding the school for ransom with demands, but they’re so extreme the school will crumble if they give in. But they’ll crumble if they don’t, too!
It’s happening everywhere.
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