Dear Chancellor Carranza: Keep Making Them Mad!

We need more diversity in the teaching pool of the NYC Department of Education. It’s just too white and that shouldn’t be a newsflash to anyone. I’ve said it before and I will continue to strike that same note and will not stop speaking and writing this truth until the paradigm shifts and more teachers of color are hired and retained.

The lack of Black and Brown teachers in positions as educators in the NYC DOE is a by-product of racist power structures that have intentionally sought to keep certain groups of people out of our classrooms. In many facets of society, white women have long been deemed the standard of excellence to which we should all strive to attain— beauty, fashion, home, family — and the educational arena is no different.

White women teach Black children. They hold the power. That’s the atmosphere that has been created in our schools.

However, with more attention being paid to the damage that such scenarios present in the classroom in terms of the giving out of disciplinary infractions and the school-to-prison pipeline as a result of that power paradigm, initiatives like restorative justice circles, Black Men Teach, My Brother’s Keeper, and mandatory implicit bias workshops for all NYC DOE teachers have been implemented.

Not everyone is happy about that, though.

According to this article from yesterday’s NY Post,

At least four top Department of Education executives who have been demoted or stripped of duties under Carranza’s sweeping reorganization are poised to sue the city, claiming he has created “an environment which is hostile toward whites,” a source told The Post.

The women — all white, veteran administrators — contend they were pushed aside for less qualified persons of color.

“These decisions are being made because DOE leadership believes that skin color plays a role in how to get equity — that white people can’t convey the message,” said a source familiar with the complaints.

“There’s a toxic whiteness concept going on.”

What exactly is wrong with this shift in existing structures? Isn’t the money Carranza’s spending on implicit bias trainings money well spent? You know what the problem is? I’ll tell you: Too many white teachers are so comfortable in their privilege that they perceive any addressing of their privilege as negative. They refuse to see it themselves, and now that this man — this Latino man at that (to add insult to injury) —  is forcing them to see it for at least six hours out of their lives. They are pushing back because white toxicity can’t see itself. And if it can’t, how can it be eradicated?

The article continues, “There’s been a lot of discussion of white supremacy and how it manifests in the workplace, conversations about race, and looking at how the white culture behaves,” said a white executive who received the training.” And “[m]eanwhile the DOE has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to coach supervisors on how to ‘disrupt the power structure and dismantle institutional racism,’ a supervisor said.”

The reaction a fellow teacher had to these accusations against Chancellor Carranza is apropos: Wow! So this man is trying to subvert institutional racism in the Department of Education, and he gets painted as some type of villain?! This is absurd! He’s mandated implicit bias trainings for all of us, and it’s seen as an attack on whiteness?! This is the perfect example of what toxic whiteness, white fragility, white privilege, white supremacy look like.

To Carranza: Keep making them mad!

What do you think?

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