An incident involving white students singing along to racial slurs in rap lyrics led Texas’ most successful school district to adopt a radical approach to combating racism.
The Carroll Independent School District of Southlake, a Dallas suburb, is the “top-achieving school district in Texas,” according to The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann.
“It has no racial achievement gaps, which is nearly unheard of. That’s because Southlake attracts high-achieving families of all races,” Pullmann wrote. “The local median income is more than four times the national average and poverty there is statistically nonexistent. According to district data, ‘microaggressions,’ bullying, and racially charged incidents happen approximately three times per month in the district of 8,500 students, meaning they involve 0.3 percent of students a year.”
But because of videos showing students singling along to rap lyrics and the media attention they received, the district overreached and instituted programs meant to combat “institutional racism” but that in reality shame white students for the color of their skin.
The district adopted a “cultural competence” plan, Pullmann reported, after the videos went viral and “sometimes-crying taxpayers, parents, and students spent hours insisting their lives have been forever damaged by the kind of ‘institutional racism’ in Southlake illustrated by the rap sing-alongs.”
The complaints centered around teasing and graffiti, with those complaining demanding the school district treat the minor annoyances as if they were full-blown crimes. The rush to assume guilt was perpetuated by public figures, Pullman reported:
Retired Dallas Cowboys player Russell Maryland and Robin Cornish, the widow of another Cowboy, who both have kids in the district, used national media appearances to pressure the town to enact a “Cultural Competence Action Plan,” or CCAP. A long-form article from NBC News in January that quotes Cornish accuses the town of harboring racists.
Cornish also told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in February 2019 the school district was “sweeping this under the carpet, and they are complicit. Unfortunately, this is the way our country is right now. Southlake is a microcosm of that. We have someone running the country right now who says it’s OK to be racist.”
“The idea that America is fundamentally flawed because some people have a [racist] problem in their minds, that’s a recipe to keep you in poverty and unhappiness for the rest of your life,” said Juan Saldivar, a father of a Southlake student, to explain his opposition to restructuring Southlake schools around “systemic racism.” “My parents always told me it doesn’t matter whether people like you, it matters whether the law protects you, and it does.”
Parents haven’t been happy about the school’s training, with local parents organizing into a group to oppose CCAP. As Pullman reported, the CCAP teaches that anyone who dares to see everyone equally regardless of race is instigating “cultural blindness,” which is bad, in their view.
“White privilege is being able to navigate daily life in the American culture without having to think about race,” said a slide shown at a 2019 retreat to Carroll administrators. Another slide asked administrators “What does it mean for you to be white?” and urged them to “Take a moment to talk with your neighbor about ‘Whiteness.’” They were also asked to “Name some characteristics of white culture.”
During these discussions, Pullman reported, “administrators were also told that being white is a bad thing.”
“It includes ‘white fragility,’ ‘a state in which even a minimal amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves (anger, fear, guilt.. silence),’ Pullman reported. “Ironically, the presentation also warns against ‘stereotyping,’ which it says ‘happens when you generalize about a person while ignoring the presence of individual differences.’”
One parent, Juan Saldivar, told Pullman that he didn’t want his kids taught this because it was “poison.”
“I did everything I could to get my child into [Carroll] and it’s No. 1 in Texas, and I say I do not want my child growing up with this stuff being injected into her brain because it’s poison,” he said in an interview. “It’s the seeds of destruction that ruin one’s ability to grow up happy and be a leader in society.”