City in a muddle over ‘anti-racist’ thinking

NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in the rotunda at City Hall on April 25, 2018.
NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in the rotunda at City Hall on April 25, 2018. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pandora Media/Nicholas Hunt

It may be going a bit far to call Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s recent training materials racist. But how to explain his presentation slide that reportedly advises educators how to “dismantle racism.”

The New York Post reported on Carranza’s slideefforts to eradicate institutional racism, which the slide defines as “white-supremacy culture.”

But what does that white-supremacy culture entail? Well, among other things, perfectionism, individualism, objectivity and worship of the written word.

You might consider those positive traits that educators might welcome. Not according to Carranza or his anti-bias training materials for Department of Education personnel.

For instance, perfectionism is defined as “giving undue focus to the shortcomings of someone or their work or viewing them as personal flaws. Making a mistake is confused with being a mistake, doing wrong with being wrong.” And, according to Carranza, individualism can hurt teamwork. And objectivity “can lead to the belief that there is an ultimate truth and that alternative viewpoints or emotions are bad.”

Worship of the written word “prioritizes documentation and writing skills, rather than the ‘ability to relate to others.’ It also leads to teaching that there is ‘only one right way to do something.’” And a sense of urgency appears to sum up Carranza’s thinking: “sacrificing interests of communities of color to win victories for white people.”

And, yes, this is the same guy who, referring to the large number of Asian American students who pass a written test to get into the elite city high schools, made the borderline racist remark earlier this year that, “I don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admissions” to the elite schools. Owns admissions? Carranza is apparently ignorant of the fact Asian Americans were historically discriminated against as much as many other non-white groups in America.

Now let’s turn to the NYPD. Over the years, some have viewed the NYPD as run by a group of white men, most of whom are Irish Americans. There’s Commissioner James O’Neill, Chief of Department Terence Monahan and Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. O’Neill’s two predecessors were Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly. Can’t get much more Irish than that.

Asked whether a culture of white supremacy runs through the NYPD, Monahan predictably said no.

Monahan might not have the academic degrees Carranza does, but he doesn’t lack for common sense.