A chart identifying the “eight levels of white identity” has caused outrage in the US after a school sent out guidelines encouraging students to dismantle the “regime of whiteness”.
The dossier, distributed by the principal of East Side Community School in New York, places “white traitors” and “white abolitionists” at seven and eight on the scale, with “white supremacists” being labelled the most extreme at number one.
The chart defines white abolitionists as activists who strive to change institutions, “dismantle whiteness” and refuse to “allow whiteness to reassert itself”.
“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 Others,” the document, penned by African American Studies professor Barnor Hesse, said.
The scale, which is colour-coded red to green on a scale of severity, also includes “White Critical”, which “critiques whiteness and invests in exposing the white regime” and “refuses to remain complicit with the regime”.
Further down on the red half of the behavioural chart sits “White Voyeurism”, which Professor Hesse describes as somebody “seeking to control the consumption and appropriation of a culture” and has a “fascination with culture, consuming Black culture without the burden of Blackness”.
The East Side Community School states that it is committed to “creating a community of highly skilled students, critical thinkers, lifetime learners, and socially responsible citizens” in its mission statement online.
“We have a school-wide commitment to celebrating diversity, promoting social justice and combating racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and any other form of discrimination,” the official website reads.
Psychology professor Geoffrey Miller hit back against the document handed out to the public school as the original post gathered thousands of replies on Twitter. Professor Miller said the quote regarding the refusal to allow white culture to ever “reassert itself” was a concerning example of radical discourse finding its way into the education system.
“Applied to any other group, this would sound like a monstrous euphemism for mass extermination & cultural annihilation,” he tweeted.
Samantha Chang, a journalist at the Western Journal, was particularly critical of the guidelines sent out to children, claiming the targeted political rhetoric would incite riots if “any other race” had been the topic of the chart.
“Imagine the left-wing riots and media screeching if you substituted any other race for “white” in this racist chart,” Ms Chang tweeted.
The online furore — which has already produced 8000 retweets and comments since being published on Tuesday — has brought about yet another heated debate regarding racial discourse in America.
One commenter bit back at critics, claiming their alarmism was a result of them “fearing the loss of power” their skin colour has brought them.
“If you find this hostile, or unnerving, it‘s because you are fearing the loss of power and advantage that your skin colour has afforded you. It’s an agenda to bring true equality,” the comment read.
The latest controversy came after a school in California was revealed to be conducting racial theory exercises with students, requiring children to deconstruct their racial identities and then rank themselves according to “power and privilege”.
The lesson caused an immediate uproar among parents of students at R.I. Meyerholz Elementary School. “We were shocked,” an anonymous parent said.
“They were basically teaching racism to my eight-year-old.”
Another parent expressed discomfort at the exercise and believed it only encouraged division between the students by dividing them into “the oppressor and the oppressed”.
“Since these identities are inborn characteristics people cannot change, the only way (they think) to change it is via violent revolution,” the parent said via Fox.
“Growing up in China, I had learned it many times. The outcome is the family will be ripped apart; husband hates wife, children hate parents. I think it is already happening here.”