San Diego teachers invited to attend ‘white privilege’ training

Educators who participated in the workshop were told they would experience 'guilty, anger, apathy [and] closed-mindedness'

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The San Diego Unified School District requested that their teachers attend a workshop on white privilege.

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In documents revealed by independent journalist Christopher F. Rufo, the training was titled “White Privilege: Understanding Power and Privilege in Education.” The presentation consisted of a 35-slide PowerPoint beginning with acknowledgment of land and Indigenous people.

“We acknowledge that we meet on stolen land, taken from Indigenous peoples. I am speaking to you from Kumeyaay land. We must acknowledge the hidden history of violence against Indigenous peoples in an effort to move toward justice,” the PowerPoint states.

The presentation included a clip of White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo and Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection and Action author Ibram X. Kendi. The CBS video featured the two writers discussing race in America, following the landmark protests this summer in the aftermath of protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

After viewing the conversation, attendees expressed how they felt, what made them uncomfortable, and what stood out. In the end, they were told, “you are racist,” according to the presentation on Rufo’s site.

“You are upholding racist ideas, structures, and policies,” a subsequent slide reads. “Your action or inaction can be racist [or] antiracist at any time depending on what you choose or choose not to do,” it continues.

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KUSI News reported San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten released a statement in response to an article published by the New York Post, which claimed teachers were mandated to attend.

“The report includes inaccurate and misleading statements about a successful professional development session offered to teachers on a voluntary basis. Following the murder of George Floyd, we provided teachers with voluntary trainings from the racial healing handbook. The content from the racial healing handbook are not secret, the book on which they are based is available on Amazon. The author is a respected academic. The training was not mandatory. Hundred of teachers participated voluntarily.”

Vice President of the San Diego Unified School Board, Richard Barrera, further explained the event to the news outlet.

“The serious issue and the more important set of issues relate to how as a school system we are confronting generations of practices that have led our students of color to have worse experiences than white students,” he said. “It’s something that has been going on for generation after generation, and we’ve made a commitment as a school district that we’re going to confront this in an effort to become an anti-racist school system.”

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