I was not prepared for recent evidence that has come streaming out of Grace Church School school in the last week. Staff members from the Manhattan private school have revealed private links and videos to Chalkboard Review from the 2021 “Martin Luther King Symposium” this spring, in which Grace’s Dean of Equity and Inclusion forced students and staff to promise intentions to “dismantle their inherent racism”, target fellow students’ “white disengagement”, start being “race explicit”, and pair up with “accountabilibuddies” (accountability buddies) to keep vigilance against any “white-centered” conversation or behavior at Grace. Then, students were sent to mandatory workshops in which many teachers lectured students on their inner racism. This is, without a doubt, the most disturbing example of cultish, racial puritanism I’ve seen yet.
Jean-Robert Andre, the Dean of Equity and Inclusion, forced all students and staff into a Zoom call in which they were asked to openly declare their “intentions for the week” in dismantling whiteness. In one recording we obtained, students were praised for pasting in “socially progressive” answers, with Andre reading answers he found particularly progressive aloud in simpering tones.
The symposium began Monday, January 11, with an assembly on “Restorative Justice”, citing the need to tear down American systems and thought surrounding individual liberty and capitalism because of their inherent racism. Tuesday saw grade-level circle discussions, in which a teacher would lead eight students at a time to slowly come to terms with their identity and impact on other communities. On Wednesday and Thursday, Grace launched into a series of exceptionally inflammatory workshops. In addition to an hour keynote from food-racism activist Caroline Randall Williams, author of My Body is a Confederate Monument, students and teachers were required to attend at least two of the workshops per day. Selections from this list include:
- Educational Inequity is NORMAL but NOT OK (PART 1)
- Numbers and Lies: Data manipulation as a tool of oppression (PART 1)
- Understanding Voter Suppression, Voting Rights, and Race
- Young. Black. Girl. Mentor (PART 1)
- Exploring Racism within the Feminist Movement: “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels”
- Jewish Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
- Should Antiracism Discussion Spaces for White People Exist?
- Protest Anthems: Becoming Anti-Racist Artists
- How White Washed Queer Culture Erases Black Trans Lives
- How racism was cemented in the streets of New York (literally)
These workshops are beyond bizarre. In the “Should Antiracism Discussion Spaces for White People Exist” description, the Student White Antiracist Group (SWAG) implies that attendance for their events is low because the white students at Grace are racist. “Structural Racism on a Global Level” encourages students to create global anti-racist policies and dismantle “economic, political, and cultural” borders. “How racism was cemented in the streets of New York (literally)” declares white people who enjoy BBQ are participating in “cultural appropriation”.
In one particularly disturbing video, one of the Grace teachers asks students to examine two photos. One contained a Hispanic teacher and student, the other showed the aforementioned student with two black students. The Grace teacher asked students the first thing they noticed. A white young man replied “they all have red sweatshirts.” The teacher called him a liar and began to lecture the class on the sins they would inflict if black students dared to walk in Grace School’s hallways. To see a teacher demeaning her students based on hypothetical future sins because the students were white shook me to the core.
While bewildering that any of these workshops would be considered appropriate academic material for high school students, compulsory attendance to racist activism and beratement was not enough. Dean Andre insisted that students pair up with “accountabilibuddies” to continue their “journey”. Students were to seek individuals outside of their friend groups, update each other on their anti-racism, and keep tabs on one another to make sure whiteness wasn’t slipping in.
A strange perversion from the late-20th century Evangelical model, accountability partners were originally encouraged by youth groups and Christian summer camps to encourage one another in personal struggles with pornography, anger, and dishonesty. The original idea was that two teens would share their progress in dealing with personal struggles, and then encourage each other with prayer and Scripture to “keep fighting”. This is not what Dean Andre and many of the staff at Grace have in mind.
At Grace Church School, to be an accountabilibuddy is to monitor peers’ behaviors and actions. Watch what your friends say. Are they suggesting anything that could be considered “white”? Make sure the friend knows they need to correct that behavior, and if he or she doesn’t make the necessary changes, then contact a teacher or member of the Equity and Inclusion office to “resolve the situation.”
A school that mandates racist, sexist, and Marxist curriculum as “proper behavior” through mandatory workshops and speakers, then reinforces this behavior through intimidation and Stasi-like surveillance is a cause for serious concern. Grace Church School is not an exception, a fluke, or a rarity. Public and private schools across the United States are bringing in teams of activists under the mask of Civil Rights leaders, perverting their great work with calls of coercion, mob-rule, and violence. I can only hope parents realize this insanity and pull their children from these schools immediately.