About a month ago, a concerned father named Andrew Gutmann was dismayed at the indoctrination his daughter, a student at the prestigious Brearley School in New York City for the past seven years, was receiving in “antiracism,” which is, of course, racism. (Just as Orwell said that Ignorance Is Strength and War Is Peace, so Racism Is Antiracism.) Gutmann wrote a remarkable letter to the administrators, which, if you didn’t see it then, is available on Substack and linked to here, in a column by Bari Weiss.
A lot has happened since Gutmann sent the letter. It went viral. We wrote about it. Fortunately, it has played a huge role in bringing attention to the problem of toxic “Critical Race Theory” as it is being taught in schools --- not just in New York, either, but across the country.
Parents pay $54,000 a year to send one child to Brearley. And before their child may be considered for enrollment, parents must take an “anti-racism pledge.” Now, one might think there’s nothing wrong with this; who's for racism, right? But “anti-racism” means something else entirely, which is to say it is the most racist doctrine that’s been seen in America since the Jim Crow days. The difference is that the racism is turned on white people --- even white children, who are taught that they are “privileged” and that they should be ashamed of their “whiteness.” As for children "of color," they're taught that white people are racist and, deep down, hate them. There is hardly anything more damaging one can say to any child. It is straight-up child abuse, to both black and white kids.
Mr. Gutmann let the administrators have it: “If Brearley’s administration was truly concerned about so-called “equity” [equality of outcomes, as opposed to equality of opportunity], it would be discussing the cessation of admissions preferences for legacies, siblings, and those families with especially deep pockets. If the administration was truly concerned 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.”
Of himself and his wife, he said that “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.” Needless to say, he was pulling his daughter out of the school. Father of the year!
“...Brearley’s obsession with race must stop,” he wrote. “It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way.” He went on to craft what might be the most spot-on indictment of Critical Race Theory that has ever been written. Again, if you haven’t seen this, it’s an absolute must-read.
And now, a month later, Gutmann has followed up his explosion into the media spotlight with another letter, intended to “dispel several common misperceptions pertaining to this movement [CRT].”
He says the perception that opposition to CRT comes just from the political right is incorrect. (This should be welcome news to us on the right.) “...I have received several thousand supportive emails and messages from people throughout the country,” he says, “including many from self-described Democrats and liberals. The tone of most of the messages is not at all political in nature; instead, the tenor is one of desperation and powerlessness.”
Parents and grandparents can’t stand to see their kids being taught “to feel guilty solely because of the color of their skin” and “being brainwashed to turn against their own families.” Even teachers, he says, have written to him to say they have tears in their eyes “because they are required, day after day, to teach fundamentally divisive, racist doctrines and being forced to demonize their own students.”
He relates letters --- the ones he considers the most frightening of all --- from people who came here from the former Soviet Union or from formerly Communist countries in Eastern Europe. (He doesn’t specifically mention Communist China, but that would apply as well.) These first-generation immigrants tell him they have “seen this movie before.” The chill we get when we see our children being indoctrinated in school, or when we’re censored by social media for daring to deviate from approved “facts,” or when we hear about people’s careers being “canceled” over something as innocuous as a tweet from a decade or two ago, is uncomfortably similar to what these immigrants experienced in the land of the not-free.
“Simply put,” Gutmann writes, “they cannot believe this is happening here.”
He goes on to warn that this indoctrination isn’t happening just in schools, but in major corporations and organizations across America. We’ve talked about some of the examples he cites: the anti-racist training forced on employees by Coca-Cola and the Walt Disney Company, the hiring quotas for pilots at United Airlines, the American Medical Association’s roadmap to “social justice” (displaying an obsession with anti-racist jargon that would likely drive the most dedicated members of the medical profession to madness), and even the push within our own Defense Department.
One reason this concerned dad decided to write again, he says, was to clarify that his original letter wasn’t primarily about race. His first concern was that the school wasn’t even willing to talk to parents or engage in any debate about their “anti-racism” initiatives. That “touches the heart of democracy itself,” he writes. Democracy won’t work unless we can debate freely the most difficult issues of our time. “We have allowed a very small but vocal minority, amplified by the power of social media, to shut down nearly all debate on the topic of race and critical race theory,” he writes. “The simple cry of ‘racist’ or the threat of that cry will nearly always do so. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
I would add that race isn’t the only topic being mishandled in this way, to deliberately shut down debate. And though Mr. Gutmann stresses that the issue of Critical Race Theory transcends politics, the people shutting down debate on this and other issues are doing it for political reasons. Any question of global warming gospel or the safety of new vaccines makes one a “science denier.” Any question of the election results or the origin story of COVID-19 makes one a “conspiracy theorist.” Never mind that right now, even the “fact”-checkers who tried to censor any mention of the Wuhan virology lab are scrambling to deal with what is very likely the truth about that.
Gutmann writes, “We must begin to have a national conversation about the story we want to tell our children and about the future we want for our country.” That is true, but for much too long, the conversation has been one way, and we can’t permit that any longer. While some are working overtime to extinguish America’s founding principles and make skin color our defining feature, we have to push back against this evil, at the ballot box (from President down to school board) and in every area of life, to reaffirm our principles of individual freedom and make sure they apply to all Americans.