A biracial high school student failed a mandatory sociology class after he refused to confess that he had “white dominance” at his public charter school.
William Clark is a senior at Democracy Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is failing a mandatory class entitled “Sociology of Change” after refusing to confess that he held “white dominance.” Gabrielle Clark, William’s single mother, filed a lawsuit against the school.
According to a fundraising page run by the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), William was required to reveal his “race, gender, religious, and sexual identities, and then attach derogatory labels to those identities.” Students were allegedly asked to “undo and unlearn their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that stem from oppression.”
Clark alleges that after her son objected to labeling himself as “privileged” or an “oppressor,” he was subsequently punished with a failing grade.
The lawsuit against Democracy Prep claims that the school violated the young Clark’s First Amendment rights by “repeatedly compelling his speech involving intimate matters of race, gender, sexuality, and religion.” It also argues that the school created a “psychologically abusive” and “hostile educational environment.”
According to slides from the sociology class obtained by the Daily Mail, students were taught that black people cannot be racist.
“Black prejudice does not affect the rights of white people,” one slide read. “Racism = Prejudice + Power … Therefore, people of color CANNOT be racist.”
In a separate slide, students were told that institutionalized sexism, racism, and transphobia are present in the workplace and the medical field. Examples of “institutionalized sexism” include when a “woman makes [less] than what a man makes at the same job.”
“When 1 out of every 4 young men is currently in jail, on parole, or on probation … That’s institutionalized racism,” the slide reads. “When psychiatric institutions and associations ‘diagnose’ transgender people as having a mental disorder … That’s institutionalized gender oppression and transphobia.”
The class defines “internalized privilege” as the “acceptance of a belief in the inherent inferiority of the oppressed group as well as the inherent superiority or normalcy of one’s own privileged group. This creates an unearned sense of entitlement among the members of the privileged group, and can be expressed as a denial of the existence of oppression and as paternalism.”
At one point in the course, students were taught that “oppressed people” internalize their alleged inferiority.
“Oppressed people internalize the ideology of inferiority. They see it reflected in the institutions. They experience disrespect interpersonally from members of the dominant group. And they eventually come to internalize the negative messages about themselves.”
Democracy Preparatory told the Daily Mail that they cannot comment on pending litigation. However, a spokeswoman said that the school “stands firmly against racism.”
“Our curriculum teaches students about American democracy and movements for social change throughout our history,” the spokeswoman said. “We strongly disagree with how the curriculum has been characterized in this filing.”
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