A principal from New York City reportedly sent parents of students a controversial leaflet asking them to rate their whiteness.
In the documents sent by East Side Community High School principal, Mark Federman, parents were challenged to reflect on their whiteness by placing themselves on a custom-made scale somewhere between ‘white supremacist’ and ‘white abolitionist’.
While it is not clear whether the document was intended only for parents or also their children, an Education Department official confirmed to the New York Post that the pamphlets were sent to all parents as food for thought.
In the papers, the parents were presented with an ‘8 White Identities’ scale designed by the Slow Factory Foundation on the basis of a curriculum developed by Northwestern University professor Barnor Hesse.
According to the graphic, people were encouraged to place themselves in the greener areas and call themselves white abolitionists and white traitors while white supremacists and white privilege appear on the red side – the negative part – of the scale.
From alleged ‘bad’ to ‘good’ identities, the scale includes white supremacist, white voyeurism, white privilege, white benefit, white confessional, white critical, white traitor, and white abolitionist.
“There is a regime of whiteness, and there are action-oriented white identities.
People who identify with whiteness are one of these.It’s about time we build an ethnography of whiteness, since white people have been the ones writing about and governing Other,” the text accompanying the description of each of the ‘identities’ reads.
Speaking of the controversial texts and scale, an official from the Education Department said:
“Anti-racism and the celebration of diversity is at the core of our work on behalf of the young people of New York City, and the East Side Community School’s students, parents and staff partner together to advance equity in their community.
“The document in question was shared with the school by parents as a part of ongoing anti-racist work in the school community and is one of many resources the schools utilizes.”
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