“What do you see?” was the question posed at our “equity” training. I saw, like most of my colleagues, LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen posing together on the cover of Vogue. Our “trainers” claimed this was an example of a subconscious implicit bias. This was surely a modern depiction of King Kong and Fay Wray, they claimed.
They claimed I was really seeing a black man portrayed as an aggressive ape. The purpose of this training was not just to reveal implicit bias, but also to accuse our community of systemic racism that needed to be disrupted and dismantled to root out this type of white supremacist thinking. From this training onward, I’ve watched Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) implode under the destructive forces of critical race theory (CRT).
In a recent email prompted after parents started complaining about such trainings and curricula in our schools, Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed, “LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to.” In explaining the school district’s “equity priorities,” he said, “They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory.”
A look at the training I’ve gone through tells a different story. Our equity “conversations” are centered on all the buzz terms popular in CRT: systemic racism, white supremacy, white privilege, implicit bias, and microaggressions. The “conversation” assumes these are truths, and any attempt to call these terms into question is ignored or dismissed.
I met with my superior after our first training to express objections. I was directed to contact those in charge of the training. I spoke at school board meetings and equity committee meetings, and wrote an extensive letter outlining my deep concerns. I sent it to then-Superintendent Eric Williams, and every member of the equity team. I got no response.
As an employee, I’ve asked the same questions as parents about this initiative. If we must be exposed to critical race theorists Robin DiAngelo, Zaretta Hammond, and Ibram Kendi, then why not have “equal” exposure to Thomas Sowell, Burgess Owens, Shelby Steele, Carol Swain, Robert Woodson, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, and, dare I suggest, Martin Luther King, Jr.?
I thought our job was to be life-long learners and examine different perspectives. But our “conversations” are based on the assumption that the “equity” narrative is true and unimpeachable. We are specifically told at our meetings not to direct the conversation to other factors that may inhibit student achievement like “economics” or “family structure.”
Why shouldn’t we, particularly if those are the roots of challenges faced by minority students, as presented by thinkers like Sowell? Sowell gives empirical data rather than made up esoteric terms that only the “experts” can reveal to us. None of this appears to matter to many district officials.
‘White Privilege’ Ignores the Plight of Many
While in training, I’ve been struck by how rampant it is with an implicit bias of its own. “The Unequal Opportunity Race” is a video we had to watch showing two white runners and two black runners. The black runners got a late start and came across many obstacles. When one fell down, the other turned back to help.
Meanwhile, the white runners were oblivious to the obstacles their fellow runners faced. This directly implied white America has no concern for the obstacles faced by our black brothers and sisters. It ignores the fact that white Christians led the slavery abolition movement and whites marched (and died) in the Civil War and the civil rights movement, and the vast majority of white Americans today support genuine racial equality.
In this video, the white runner faced zero obstacles. This is also rife with bias. While one of our trainers told the story of their “white privilege,” many of my colleagues were frustrated by this narrative. One of my colleagues was in tears because the “white privilege” narrative ignores her plight as a white single mom of four who lived on welfare and free lunch programs as she struggled to provide.
White privilege isn’t my story either. I worked to pay out-of-pocket for both my degrees. In my generation of 15 cousins, only three of us attained degrees in higher education. Is three out of 15 white privilege?
I’m told “white privilege” isn’t about having wealth or no obstacles, it’s about not having to live life being conscious of my skin color. Untrue, again. I grew up in very diverse schools. Many of my friends were minorities. I was also bullied by black peers who derogatorily called me “little white girl” and terrorized me so relentlessly that I ran from class to class to avoid them.
So I was very aware of my “whiteness.” Yet while those assailants clearly targeted me for the color of my skin, I managed not to blame it on their “blackness.” Raised on King’s teachings, I knew it was the content of their character that made them cruel, not the color of their skin.
Now, I continue to be made “aware” of my “whiteness” by virtue of CRT culture’s insistence that white people are inherently racist and have established systemic racism. (Of course, it’s slightly ironic since I’m not just white, but also a quarter Japanese. But who’s counting? Does my Asian DNA give me any credibility in a conversation about race when I “look” white? Apparently not.)
It’s been my experience so far that our equity training is guilty of the very thing it warns against. But that’s what happens when you don’t base your reality on objective truths. I’m a Christian. The Bible’s objective truth says: “Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.” God wants us to view others with His eyes, not our own.
I believe God when He says no race is better than another. Every person bears His image and deserves to be treated with the dignity of being judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That has not been part of the equity training “conversation” so far.
When Marxists Become ‘Anti-Racists’
Despite the denials, LCPS equity training for employees looks a lot like CRT, which is rooted in Marxism. In this ideology, there are two kinds of people: “Oppressors” and “The Oppressed.” George Orwell wrote us a cautionary tale about this world view. It’s called “Animal Farm.”
We’ve seen this cautionary tale come to fruition throughout history in the French Revolution, Joseph Stalin’s Purges, and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, to name a few. This vicious cycle always plays out the same way: in the end, someone meets the fate of “Animal Farm’s“ Snowball, and those who were once the oppressed rise up not to freedom, but to be new oppressors.
LCPS is experiencing this destructive cycle now. It all began with a one-sided conversation and continued with the school board’s attempt to silence teachers’ free speech in opposition to the “equity” initiative. The tensions heightened with the LCPS Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee’s social media posting to silence the opposition, and the Anti-Racist Facebook group creating “lists” of parents to be doxed, hacked, and bullied for questioning the “Equity” initiative.
My colleagues call parents who disagree with them “racist,” full of “evil rhetoric,” “Beetle douche,” and “people who Harriet Tubman would have shot.” I bet these same people have “Hate does not live here” signs in their front yards.
The willingness of teachers with different views to speak up is further suppressed by those in leadership hurling the very powerful false narrative that if we disagree then somehow we do not have the right heart to be teaching children and ought be dismissed. In a free society, shouldn’t superior ideas rise on their merit? I’d argue the desire to silence the opposition is because the initiative is based on the Marxist ideology of CRT. History proves Marxist ideas unable to rise without the boot of authoritarianism crushing others down.
Twenty years ago, I couldn’t wait to become a teacher for Loudoun County Public Schools. Over the last three years, I’ve become increasingly alarmed at the direction LCPS has taken. The goal is no longer equipping our teachers and student body for learning. Instead, we are engaged in a trickle-down indoctrination targeted at teachers with the aim of filtering the “equity” mindset down into the classrooms. The evidence continues to pile up as parents and students come forward with clear examples of children being told they should be anti-racist activists or should see racial distinctions as individuals’ primary characteristics.
A Lesson in Dismantling White Supremacy
Even though LCPS has not explicitly adopted CRT as a framework, our training has been latent with its rhetoric. What is training for but to be implemented in our day-to-day teaching? The implicit expectation of our “equity” training has undoubtedly been to establish this trickle-down infiltration of CRT.
It’s no surprise that teachers who embrace the radical views of CRT feel emboldened to insert them into their lessons. Teachers are specifically told to take part in the “dismantling and disruption” of “white supremacy” in our schools. Our trainers at the Equity Collaborative define white supremacy as a “Power structure that creates differences – a white dominant culture, not necessarily because of mean people.”
This definition makes even inadvertent acts of ignorance and insensitivity “white supremacy.” The true definition of white supremacy is: “The overt and conscious belief that white people are superior to those of all other races and should dominate society.” The Equity Collaborative’s fraudulent definition has alienated white people in our community who despise racism and know God values everyone in His creation.
CRT has weaponized race and made white America a scapegoat for society’s ills. We choose this shallow “conversation” instead of doing the actual hard, nuanced, and complex work of teaching and problem-solving. Like all communist and fascist revolutions, scapegoats are offered as sacrifices for societies’ “sins.” Sadly, scapegoats are never able to atone for those sins, and innocent blood is shed in the name of “progress.”
Monica Gill holds a master’s degree in American history from George Mason University. She has been teaching American history, government, and comparative politics for 25 years and currently teaches for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia.