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Sometimes it’s as interesting as it is infuriating to witness the way white conservatives gripe about “liberal snowflakes” and about how everyone is “so sensitive these days” with such a profound lack of self-awareness or sense of hypocrisy. It’s almost fascinating the way they pretend with straight faces to lament “cancel culture” while their own delicate sensibilities cause everything Black history, LGBTQA+, or social justice-related to come to a grinding halt because absolutely nothing in America casts a wider “cancel culture” net than white tears and Christian pearl clutching.

On Monday, Ta-Nehisi Coates quietly attended a Lexington-Richland Five School Board meeting prompted by the South Carolina district’s decision to end a Chapin High School AP Language teacher’s lesson on Coates’ 2015 nonfiction bestseller, Between the World and Me. Those of us who have read the book know it’s essentially a three-part letter from Coates to his teenage son chronicling his lived experiences as a Black man in America in order to prepare his child for the world he faces. And because Black people really can’t tell our stories without white people getting deep in their fragile feelings, the book caused a big white stir as some students complained that the lesson made them “uncomfortable” and “ashamed to be Caucasian.” And instead of letting white children sit with their conflicting feelings the way Black students do when they’re constantly having “land of the free, home of the brave” Caucasia-ganda shoved down their throats, the lesson had to end, because, again, white conservative “cancel culture” is simply the most effective.

But this time community members pushed back on the district’s picture-perfect display of exactly why critical race theory is needed and let it be known that a few whiny white snowflakes don’t speak for everyone.

From The Post and Courier:

Many in the audience wore blue — Chapin High’s school color — in support of Mary Wood, the English teacher behind the lesson which district officials stopped after it drew complaints from students who wrote that it made them “uncomfortable” and “ashamed to be Caucasian.”

That decision to stop the lesson has drawn sharp criticism from state and national educator groups, who alleged censorship and defamation in a June letter to the superintendent and board.

But some, including leaders in the Lexington County Republican Party, have called for even stricter policies and claimed that the lesson violated a temporary state budget provision prohibiting the use of state money for teaching certain ideas about race and gender, a concern that appears to have motivated the decision to stop the lesson, according to records released by the district.

During the board’s July 17 discussion, though, board members seemed mostly content with the district’s existing policies on academic freedom and the teaching of controversial materials.

About a dozen of the meeting’s attendees, including a 14-year-old, spoke to the board in favor of teaching Coates’ book and against the move to stop Wood’s lesson. 

“I became a high school English teacher 30 years ago because I believe that every human being has a story …I have dedicated my entire life to sharing such stories, both fiction and non-fiction with my students,” said Tess Pratt, the chairwoman of Chapin High School’s English department. “I have shared my own stories with my students throughout these years and invited them to do the same with me.”

“On the day that I took Ta-Nehisi Coates’ books out of the hands of Ms. Wood’s students, I silenced his story,” she continued. “Even though this was a decision that was not mine, I will regret that moment in front of those students for the rest of my life, because it was wrong.”

Pratt also denied allegations that her department teaches CRT—a college-level academic study examining structural racism that right-wing snowflakes appropriated into an umbrella term for all things that make white people uncomfortable.

“Every time that a member of our community addresses the board and supports the narrative that teachers are teaching CRT or indoctrinating our students, our hearts grow so heavy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Coates didn’t speak at all while he sat among his supporters quietly as if he were a nature documentarian observing white supremacy in its natural habitat.

Because it really is fascinating sometimes, isn’t it?


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