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No. of Recommendations: 13
Andrew Gutmann is the parent of a daughter attending Brearley, a private and very expensive school in NYC. Like so many others, this institution has been bowing to the unilateral shrills of racism, falling in line by subscribing to the doctrine of Critical Race Theory, to include the instruction of parents on the evil tenets of white supremacy. Well, Andrew got just about enough of that crap and so wrote an open letter to the parents of all the children enrolled at Brearley.

What follows is the full text of that letter written and delivered last week. Its a bit long, but carries in it some of the best expressions of outrage towards this destructive force being force-fed to our children and grandchildren. Please, read it in its entirely (hopefully the good folks at TMF won't zap this)

BruceM

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April 13, 2021
Dear Fellow Brearley Parents,

Our family recently made the decision not to reenroll our daughter at Brearley for the 2021-22 school year. She has been at Brearley for seven years, beginning in kindergarten. In short, we no longer believe that Brearley’s administration and Board of Trustees have any of our children’s best interests at heart. Moreover, we no longer have confidence that our daughter will receive the quality of education necessary to further her development into a critically thinking, responsible, enlightened, and civic minded adult. I write to you, as a fellow parent, to share our reasons for leaving the Brearley community but also to urge you to act before the damage to the school, to its community, and to your own child's education is irreparable.

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob. What follows are my own personal views on Brearley's antiracism initiatives, but these are just a handful of the criticisms that I know other parents have expressed.

I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died.

I object to the charge of systemic racism in this country, and at our school. Systemic racism, properly understood, is segregated schools and separate lunch counters. It is the interning of Japanese and the exterminating of Jews. Systemic racism is unequivocally not a small number of isolated incidences over a period of decades. Ask any girl, of any race, if they have ever experienced insults from friends, have ever felt slighted by teachers or have ever suffered the occasional injustice from a school at which they have spent up to 13 years of their life, and you are bound to hear grievances, some petty, some not. We have not had systemic racism against Blacks in this country since the civil rights reforms of the 1960s, a period of more than 50 years. To state otherwise is a flat-out misrepresentation of our country's history and adds no understanding to any of today's societal issues. If anything, longstanding and widespread policies such as affirmative action, point in precisely the opposite direction.

I object to a definition of systemic racism, apparently supported by Brearley, that any educational, professional, or societal outcome where Blacks are underrepresented is prima facie evidence of the aforementioned systemic racism, or of white supremacy and oppression. Facile and unsupported beliefs such as these are the polar opposite to the intellectual and scientific truth for which Brearley claims to stand. Furthermore, I call bull-crap (my edit) on Brearley's oft-stated assertion that the school welcomes and encourages the truly difficult and uncomfortable conversations regarding race and the roots of racial discrepancies.

I object to the idea that Blacks are unable to succeed in this country without aid from government or from whites. Brearley, by adopting critical race theory, is advocating the abhorrent viewpoint that Blacks should forever be regarded as helpless victims, and are incapable of success regardless of their skills, talents, or hard work. What Brearley is teaching our children is precisely the true and correct definition of racism.

I object to mandatory anti-racism training for parents, especially when presented by the rent-seeking charlatans of Pollyanna. These sessions, in both their content and delivery, are so sophomoric and simplistic, so unsophisticated and inane, that I would be embarrassed if they were taught to Brearley kindergarteners. They are an insult to parents and unbecoming of any educational institution, let alone one of Brearley's caliber.

I object to Brearley’s vacuous, inappropriate, and fanatical use of words such as “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” If Brearley’s administration was truly concerned about so-called “equity,” it would be discussing the cessation of admissions preferences for legacies, siblings, and those families with especially deep pockets. If the administration was genuinely serious about “diversity,” it would not insist on the indoctrination of its students, and their families, to a single mindset, most reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Instead, the school would foster an environment of intellectual openness and freedom of thought. And if Brearley really cared about “inclusiveness,” the school would return to the concepts encapsulated in the motto “One Brearley,” instead of teaching the extraordinarily divisive idea that there are only, and always, two groups in this country: victims and oppressors.
l object to Brearley’s advocacy for groups and movements such as Black Lives Matter, a Marxist, anti family, heterophobic, anti-Asian and anti-Semitic organization that neither speaks for the majority of the Black community in this country, nor in any way, shape or form, represents their best interests.

I object to, as we have been told time and time again over the past year, that the school’s first priority is the safety of our children. For goodness sake, Brearley is a school, not a hospital! The number one priority of a school has always been, and always will be, education. Brearley’s misguided priorities exemplify both the safety culture and “cover-your-ass” culture that together have proved so toxic to our society and have so damaged the mental health and resiliency of two generations of children, and counting.

I object to the gutting of the history, civics, and classical literature curriculums.

I object to the censorship of books that have been taught for generations because they contain dated language potentially offensive to the thin-skinned and hypersensitive (something that has already happened in my daughter's 4th grade class). I object to the lowering of standards for the admission of students and for the hiring of teachers. I object to the erosion of rigor in classwork and the escalation of grade inflation. Any parent with eyes open can foresee these inevitabilities should antiracism initiatives be allowed to persist.

We have today in our country, from both political parties, and at all levels of government, the most unwise and unvirtuous leaders in our nation’s history. Schools like Brearley are supposed to be the training grounds for those leaders. Our nation will not survive a generation of leadership even more poorly educated than we have now, nor will we survive a generation of students taught to hate its own country and despise its history.

Lastly, I object, with as strong a sentiment as possible, that Brearley has begun to teach what to think, instead of how to think. I object that the school is now fostering an environment where our daughters, and our daughters’ teachers, are afraid to speak their minds in class for fear of “consequences.” I object that Brearley is trying to usurp the role of parents in teaching morality, and bullying parents to adopt that false morality at home. I object that Brearley is fostering a divisive community where families of different races, which until recently were part of the same community, are now segregated into two. These are the reasons why we can no longer send our daughter to Brearley.

Over the past several months, I have personally spoken to many Brearley parents as well as parents of children at peer institutions. It is abundantly clear that the majority of parents believe that Brearley’s antiracism policies are misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous. Many believe, as I do, that these policies will ultimately destroy what was until recently, a wonderful educational institution. But as I am sure will come as no surprise to you, given the insidious cancel culture that has of late permeated our society, most parents are too fearful to speak up.

But speak up you must. There is strength in numbers and I assure you, the numbers are there. Contact the administration and the Board of Trustees and demand an end to the destructive and anti-intellectual claptrap known as antiracism. And if changes are not forthcoming then demand new leadership. For the sake of our community, our city, our country and most of all, our children, silence is no longer an option.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gutmann
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Good post. I rec'd it even though I don't necessarily agree with all of his observations because it was so well written and expressive of the authors viewpoint.

I disagree with his fundamental assertion that systematic racism has been effectively eliminated. To that point I offer no proof other than my own mental processes and the tendency to stereotype and judge a book by its cover. Over the years I have recognized this and worked to temper it, but I have no doubt that it has impacted my actions to create an artificial barrier to the deserving. I still have such thoughts today, they are part of a normal experience process, but have conditioned myself to question the validity of my thought before proceeding.

At the same time I have to agree with many Mr Gutmann's. The overcompensation by organizations to address the problem, is at times just as bad. The preoccupation with political correctness has swung too far in the direction of the perceived need to protect others feelings and correct phantom wrongs. If you constantly abuse people or overly cocoon people, the result is the same: they will not learn, because we learn from experience. There is a happy path, somewhere in the middle. The challenge is to find it, while having a free and open dialog, that acknowledges the problems of the extremes. If that can be done without resorting to stereotypes, either racial or political, even better.
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I disagree with his fundamental assertion that systematic racism has been effectively eliminated

A good point worthy of deeper discussion.

Mr. Gutmann's definition focuses on the kind of overt racial discrimination that existed prior to the 1960s. As a personal point, I'm old enough to remember my dad taking me to a remodel job he was doing at one of Portland's finer golf courses, that had a sign in the glass door leading into the club house that said....and I remember this vividly...."We do not serve Jewish persons here". THAT IS RACISM. When the POTUS tells the nation we have 'Systemic Racism as a stain on our national soul', he is implicit in indicting all of us as racists that would readily put our symbolic knees on the neck of anyone who doesn't look like us. Biden could have qualified his statement to make it explicit on how this 'racism' existed before most listening to him were alive, and how through continued effort we no long must endure such abhorrent behavior and we must be diligent to see each other as equals, etc, etc, etc., and officer Chauvin is NOT representative of the vast majority, etc, etc....but he didn't. He...or his handlers...are content to leave the 'racist' brand on us.

Now, differentiate this from inherent differences we all have, one to another, and how we might react to that. Like all mammals, we are territorial and clannish. We tend to congregate with those who looks like us and share out beliefs. This is true across all races, both genders and cultures. It is a normal consequence of being human. Our tendency to stereotype and prejudge has always and will always be with us. What overcomes this is to get to know others and they get to know us, treat each other as we wish to be treated and so forth. But this is NOT RACISM.

BruceM
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No. of Recommendations: 12
Brearley’s antiracism policies are misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous.

For us older folks, we strived in the 60s and 70s to push skin color away from being a critical factor, and we hoped, even being any factor in decisions, like hiring, who's allowed to drink from a water fountain or ride a bus or join a country club, or who's admitted to a school. Now, skin color is the most important factor. (Maybe the second most, following gender identity.)
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I hear your point and agree

There is a theory that what makes humans special, is their superior ability to discriminate. Not to discriminate in any racial sense, but to pick a course of action that is best for the situation based on past experience. And we are always doing it, weather we are conscious of it or not. From, who is the greatest QB versus to placing your foot on the next step. I would ascribe to this to some extent, but the problem comes in when the decision is not based on actual experience or incomplete experience.

Many times we will rely on the experience of others to fill the gaps. If that experience is dated or based on a different world view, that is when the problems start. The answer is to question experience, or seek your own direct experience. Unfortunately this approach is not cherished as an individual trait. So as you say, we tend to huddle with our own, which further radicalizes the viewpoint. The internet is a huge enabler of this in many ways.

I have said this before and will state it again. I see very little, what I would call actual racism in the community where I live. It is a ethnically diverse community of people who are roughly on the same economical footing. The main target of their ire are local economically disadvantage communities: "the ghettos and the trailer trash". As these communities are also racially diverse, I can only conclude that much of what is called racial discrimination is actually economic discrimination.

And who is to blame for this ongoing racial issues within this country? I personally think you have to look at both sides and the middle. There is the side, often called "racists", that consist of real racists and people who are decried for stating the obvious. There are the victims of racism, people who have been unjustly stereotyped and profiled. Most of them through no fault of their own, but with a active fraction that gives give legs to the stereotype. The people in the middle are generally do gooders on both sides, but whos ill thought out actions in the name off liberty or political correctness often exasperate the problem. Then there is the media. I am not thinking Fox or CNN who's agenda is obvious. I'm thinking the ones in the middle, who inadvertently fan the flames at every available opportunity, by giving air time to the fringe on both sides.

Racism as it exists today, is a problem. It needs to be addressed, but it has to be addressed by all parties, in open collective discussion. There is no quick fix until there is understanding
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No. of Recommendations: 12
Then there is the media. I am not thinking Fox or CNN who's agenda is obvious. I'm thinking the ones in the middle, who inadvertently fan the flames at every available opportunity, by giving air time to the fringe on both sides. - Bobdonuts

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Generally I agree with your reasoned description of the issue. But I have to take exception of describing the MSM coverage as "inadvertently" fanning the flames. They are most certainly doing it on purpose and they are causing great harm to our country.

Why do they purposely do this? Two drivers, one is that conflict draws an audience. And the other is to align themselves with the liberal politicians who use identify politics to gain power.

I think the vast, vast, vast majority of the population be they black brown white Asian gay straight whatever live peaceably among each other, all trying their best to take care of their families and enjoy life. There is no systemic racism in our country. There are lots of tiny pockets that need to be worked on, but systemic racism like Jim Crow, or pre-1960s civil rights movement, no way. To say otherwise is just divisive rhetoric that accomplishes nothing good.

Our country has come a long long way since those oppressive days and that should be highlighted and celebrated rather than teaching our young people like it never happened.
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We do not serve Jewish persons here". THAT IS RACISM.

That is discrimination, not racism. Racism, in my view would be the belief that this group of people are inferior based on the color of their skin.
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No. of Recommendations: 11
Racism as it exists today, is a problem

I disagree.

Race is an issue today because the media, certain political figures and those who stand to benefit from it's discord, say it is.

I, like almost everyone else, has one perspective on this....my own experiences. So ask yourself:

1. When is the last time you heard a racial joke using a race-based epithet?
2. When is the last time you heard someone of authority say they are going to use their position to block/impede another due to the color of their skin?
3. When was the last KKK, Aryan Nation or American Nazi party meeting you were made aware of?
4. When was the last time you heard someone refer to another using a racial or ethnic pejorative?

My answer to this, and other such related questions, is the early 1970s. And those speaking such, are all gone now...meaning they were part of the older generation. I have never heard any of this from those born after 1980. I'm not saying such individuals do not exist, I'm sure they do and I suspect, always will. But the influence of such people today is minuscule, if that. Using them as the basis for such statements as 'Today's systemic racism' is ridiculous beyond words. A very high percent....and I hate to try to put a number on it, but I'd venture in excess of 95%.... simply don't care what the race or ethnicity or religious belief or nationality of their neighbors might be. What they DO care about is the content of their character.

Good discussion!!

BruceM
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Inadvertent. In retrospect a bad choice of words

What I meant was is that they pander to sensationalism. Often unintentionally, but it seems to be the new norm: A few examples

--- The preference given to political talking heads immediately after some senseless act of violence. There is a time an place for this discussion, but that is not news.

--- The cameras that instantly pan to the minority in search of an emotional response when the speaker utters politically supportive or incorrect words.

--- The reporting of non facts as news: "It is not known if alcohol or drugs were involved in this accident". Why not include UFS's in there too. "Senator X's office did not return our calls on this issue", implying Senator X has a position.
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1. When is the last time you heard a racial joke using a race-based epithet?
2. When is the last time you heard someone of authority say they are going to use their position to block/impede another due to the color of their skin?


Within the last two years for both.

It was also within the last two years that I was told that when a college whose administrators, faculty, staff, and students are each >90% of one race places the paperwork relating to their dozen or so students of a different race at the bottom of the stack to be processed it can't possibly be racism, because those students are of the race that has all the power. (And when I pointed out how racist this claim is, against the race of that college's majority, I was banned from the site.)

It's amazing how acceptable anti-white racism is.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Bruce

I frequently hear race-based jokes and some are funny. But largely they are based on an obsolete stereotype. In support of your view, you can point to the change in the "butt" of jokes over recent years, moving from the dumb "ethnic minority of your choice", to blond, cajun or aggie.

I have not heard any politician use skin color as a prohibition, they are smarter than that. They will use other, more acceptable attributes of the stereotype instead, which is interpreted by some as the same. Take for example the current situation on the southern border. One stereotype brown, lazy, Spanish speaking, low educated, criminals. To most of us, brown, is not as important as the other attributes, but nevertheless it is still in there. Food for thought

Coincidence! Just yesterday the Houston Chronicle reported Ted Cruz's links to a right wing group "True Texas Project". Washington Post carries the story but requires a subscription, this link https://www.rawstory.com/ted-cruz-white-nationalist-group/ gives the basics but is obviously more slanted. The gist of the story, an influential right wing group that emerged from the remnants of the Tea Party has the tacit support of Ted. The group which has stated racist positions is influential in that Dallas area and was instrumental in the election of the senator. Ted is now in the obvious political quagmire of trying to appease them while not disavowing them. I have not seen meetings of the KKK,AN,ANP, but I there ideas are still out there under a different name.

I hear racial terms used quite often, but not it usually with a totally different intent/meaning. You must have heard African Americans addressing each other using the N word.

Productive, keep it up. Got to walk the dog and think
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