On Monday, while most public schools will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as they do every year, one high school in Chicago, New Trier, is open for "a regular day of student attendance" and is requiring students to sit through a day full of seminars that focuses on systematic racism and racial identities in America.
In a release at the school's website, the mandatory "MLK Seminar Day on Race" will feature a "special presentation" by Malcolm X's daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as "over 80 workshop sessions" by staff, students, and "experts from the Chicago area." The goal: "[D]evelop a deeper understanding of their own racial identities and the identities of others, and to better understand how we can all work to counter the impact of systemic racism in our lives."
One of the workshops offered is exploring the writings of progressive black activist and "Black Lives Matter" leader Ta-Nehisis Coates, best known for ideas such as, "'White America' is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies."
Another is "The Zip Code Effect: How Illinois School Funding Perpetuates Oppression." This workshop promises to "explore the savage inequalities" in school funding.
Others will delve into "The Intersection of Race and Sexual Orientation" as well as "TV Tokenism," "To Pimp A Butterfly," Ferguson, Michael Brown, police brutality, how Disney is racist through its white characters, and even, "Yer' A White Wizard, Harry: Whitewashing in Cinema."
For Caucasian students there is a special program titled, "Whey Do I Have to Feel Guilty for Being White?" where they will learn that the complaint, "But I didn't do anything!" is actually a "roadblock… toward becoming white allies." If that isn't of interest, they can sign up for, "What is Your Privilege?"
Though religion and faith are generally excluded from public school events, it isn't completely barred here -- at least for Muslims. Students are invited to attend "Representations of the Middle East: Stereotypes and Islamophobia." Details include: "This session will examine racial stereotypes of Middle Easterners in film, television, news, and current events and how these stereotypes contribute to the Islamophobic climate. We will use the "Pyramid of Hate" model to assess the escalation of anti-Muslim rhetoric, profiling, and hate crimes."
No other faith is represented, unless the workshop on black gospel music counts. However, its description says nothing of the Christian faith, only how this music has "power... to inspire and effect change." It is assumed that means culturally, not spiritually.
In a Breitbart report on this matter, it is noted that these seminars likely violate the quoted school district policies:
"We charge the faculty with the obligation to help our students identify arguments or preachments which are demonstrably unbalanced by bias, hate, calumny, distortion of facts, or ignorance of or indifference to the laws of evidence and the requirements of proof.”
District personnel are also required to “Refrain from using school contracts and privileges to promote partisan politics, sectarian religious views, or personal agendas of any kind. Foster critical thinking and development of alternative views.”
Yet the program for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is shaped by radical left-wing ideology. There are no presentations from conservative perspectives, such as seminars that question the idea of “systemic racism” itself.
Also of interest in Breitbart's report is the fact that though the school was ranked fourth in the nation last year by Business Insider and its teachers and academics rated A+, it received only a marginal score for diversity, a C+.