by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A New York City public school encouraged students as young as 10 years old to keep a list of all the “microaggressions” they witnessed, both at school and in their own families, according to materials from the school’s curriculum reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The same students were also asked to list their gender identity—”cisgender,” “nonbinary,” or “trans”—as well as their sexual orientation on a graded worksheet.
The sixth-grade humanities curriculum from Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, where just 31 percent of students are white, required students to read Tiffany Jewell’s This Book Is Anti-Racist, one of only five books assigned for the 2021-2022 year. The book contains 20 lessons on “how to wake up, take action, and do the work”—including the work of confronting the police, which Jewell suggests white students can do without ending up “in jail or harmed.”
“If you are a Black, Brown, or Indigenous Person of the Global Majority, you will need to decide how each outcome could end for you,” Jewell writes in a chapter called “Choosing My Path.” “White people, this is not something you need to do because you are at the center of the system.”
The book also asks students to surveil their friends and family for racist behavior. “Grab your notebook,” one “activity” instructs readers. “Look and listen for the microaggressions around you. Write them down and note your observations.” Another activity asks students how “folx” in their families “resisted” or “contributed to racism,” defined as the “systemic misuse and abuse of power by institutions.”
The curriculum, which went into effect August 2021, came as parents across New York City were mobilizing against critical race theory in public schools—and as education officials across the country were denying that there was any such thing.