In Tennessee, Teaching Kids About Inclusion Is Now “Radical Leftist Indoctrination”

Just south of Nashville, Tennessee, there is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation: Williamson County. It is a county whose population “coincidentally” swelled right around the same time the government said school segregation was unconstitutional. I’m sure it was just a coincidence… Just kidding, it was totally due to White Flight. Williamson County (and to a lesser extent, the other surrounding counties) is where people from Nashville move when they start magically start being concerned about “good schools.” And again, people “coincidentally” seem to only start worrying about how “good” the schools are around the time that that they have kids of their own who are zoned for one of the schools without as good a reputation…

Recently, a Williamson County school made national headlines when teachers gave their (majority white) students a writing assignment that said, “Your family owns slaves. Create a list of expectations for your family’s slaves.” It was part of a larger assignment, but certainly an assignment that was startling in its tone-deafness. It came to light when the brother of one of the students (who is one of a handful of black students at the school) posted the assignment on social media…

Personally, I think that the assignment asking kids to “Create a PSA informing citizens of hazards living in urban areas” is even more problematic, culturally insensitive, and harmful. Nevertheless, in response to the national uproar and outrage, the school apologized, and two teachers resigned (which I think is a shame. When we mess up, we should apologize, learn from our mistakes, commit ourselves to doing better, and move on). Which brings us to what has been happening in Williamson County this past week…

Before any of this brouhaha with the “Your Family Owns Slaves” assignment, Williamson County was working on creating videos to train teachers and staff about Cultural Competency.  Among other things, “Cultural Competence” encompasses…

  • being aware of one’s own world view
  • developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences
  • gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views
  • developing skills for communication and interaction across cultures.[citation]

… and  it “requires more than becoming culturally aware or practicing tolerance. Rather, it is the ability to identify and challenge one’s own cultural assumptions, values and beliefs, and to make a commitment to communicating at the cultural interface.” In addition, “Principles relevant to cultural competence include fostering secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships, partnerships, high expectations of equity and respect for diversity.”

So after having one of its schools make national headlines for its LACK of Cultural Competency, it makes sense that Williamson County Schools would focus a bit right now on teaching and training its staff on this important issue. Well, apparently some people did not like this idea… A couple of participants in the training on Diversity, Inclusion, Bias, Privilege, & Cultural Competency felt slighted when they were “forced” to watch a video which referred to the reality of “White Privilege.” And true to form, white folks cried “REVERSE RACISM” and called the press…

When I used to have a regular day job (working for a non-profit, partly office, partly in the schools — in addition to working as a server) we used to have trainings in Cultural Competency. They were challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable, but they were always worthwhile. I can NOT wrap my mind around the crazy amount of snowflakiness that would compel a white person to complain about “having to learn about diversity” as being “indoctrination.” It is the “Why is there no WHITE History Month?” of corporate trainings. But this is where we are… Especially in Williamson County in Tennessee, and PARTICULARLY concerning Debbie Deaver, who is the Chair of the Williamson County Republican Party.

 

Debbie-Deaver_840x480.jpg

Here is Debbie Deaver, looking literally EXACTLY the way I had imagined her…

In the 2016 election, 65.1% of Williamson County voters voted for Trump, but it has been a powerful republican stronghold for decades. Williamson County MATTERS to Tennessee politics… And not just because it is the center of wealth in Tennessee. Its influence has only gotten stronger since the election of Williamson County’s Bill Lee as Governor, as well as the election of the objectively awful Marsha Blackburn (formerly a state representative from the 7th district, which includes Williamson) as State Senator. Debbie Deaver did NOT LIKE the fact that teachers and staff in her county (a county that is nearly 90% white) were being forced to hear about “White Privilege.” In an eMail she sent out to Williamson County republicans, she asked, “Are you concerned that WCS is training teachers to promote a politically charged agenda in our schools and indoctrinate our students?” That’s right… For Williamson County republicans, teaching about diversity, privilege, & cultural competency is now “indoctrination.” It seems these are controversial things she believes should be “taught at home.” Like sex. And “science.”

diversity-in-the-contact-center-1200x700

Photos like this are leftist indoctrination… Only FOUR WHITE PEOPLE?!? Out of NINE??? That’s “fake news,” baby. Also, there are no bald people in the photo! REPRESENTATION MATTERS!

Deaver wasn’t the only republican raising a stink about the training in Williamson County (by the way, you can see some of the training videos HERE). Williamson County Commissioner Barbara Sturgeon posted on her Facebook page a link to a “Tennessee Star” article about the story and made a suggestion that teaching about privilege is illegal (FYI, the “Tennessee Star” is an unethical, far-right “Baby Breitbart” media source posing as actual journalism. It is gross, and anyone posting links to it is probably the sort of person who uses coded language about “ghettos,” “thugs,” & “urban areas”). Even though Deaver wasn’t alone, she was certainly the main voice of criticism…

She also was very angry about a “Teaching Tolerance” workshop being offered by the Southern Poverty Law Center, because for her, a group which documents and maps the rise in hate groups (a statistic which has increased THIRTY PECENT since the emergence of Trump) and has dedicated itself to “Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, & Seeking Justice” is apparently too “radical” and “leftist.” In response to the criticism, Williamson County Schools superintendent Mike Looney cancelled any staff participation in the “Teaching Tolerance” workshop which was scheduled in May. Tolerance — not even Acceptance — TOLERANCE is now considered “radical leftist” ideology! “Tolerance” is seen as “too political.” WHAT. THE HELL.

Though, it is not THAT surprising, I suppose, that Debbie Deaver is opposed to trainings teaching people about cultural sensitivity. This IS the same Debbie Deaver who included this racist meme on an official party newsletter she sent out this January…

Yup. Debbie Deaver included this on the official party newsletter. I guess no one told her Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto Rican descent. In Deaver’s defense, AOC doesn’t have blond hair, her skin is a little darker, and she DOES have a “Mexican-sounding” name… All of these things, plus watching Fox”News”A network which this week described the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, & Honduras as “Three Mexican Countries” — can lead to mistakenly making “Mexican jokes” about Americans of Puerto Rican descent. FYI, in a response to The Tennessean she defended the meme. She wrote:

“Allowing a few people on the left to whip up media outrage over political satire is just another example of the left manipulating the press to present their narrative as truth and all other views as wrong or worse racist. The Republican Party of Williamson County will not let those outside our organization tell us what we can or can’t say.”

And really, this statement says a lot about Debbie Deaver’s (and much of the republican party’s) stance on discussing the morality of diversity and the inherent immorality of white supremacy. They don’t want “the left” presenting “their narrative” that making racist jokes makes you “racist.” They don’t want “the left” presenting “their narrative” that simply wanting to preserve and promote White Culture and White Privilege is “wrong.” They don’t want “radical leftist” groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center presenting “their narrative” that just because a group is driven by hatred of minorities, is explicitly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQIA, & WILDLY Pro-Trump, that such a group should be designated as a “hate group.” And they CERTAINLY don’t want schools in their precious, 90% white, richest county in the state to be “indoctrinating” their kids with such nonsense. That sort of thing makes people so angry they might just decide to pull their kids out of those public schools and put them in a private school! Better yet, HOMESCHOOL!! Because saying that racism exists is the “REAL” racism… Right Debbie? Right Williamson County? Right Republican Party?

 

If you’d like to contact the Williamson County Republican Party, you can give them some feedback at 615-790-7642, or post on their Facebook page… I’m sure they’d be excited to hear from you. If you’d like to write Debbie an eMail, you can reach her at DebbieDeaver@comcast.net or debbie@williamsongop.org… (I called to ask if Debbie wanted to comment on this. I’ve had no response yet. I’m betting she’s about as big a fan of people like me as she is of diversity trainings). And if you’d like to SUPPORT THIS BLOG because you think it’s awesome, you can BECOME A PATRON… Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL… Or you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

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3 Responses to In Tennessee, Teaching Kids About Inclusion Is Now “Radical Leftist Indoctrination”

  1. Continually disappointed in TN politics. I cannot believe that meme was in an official newsletter. That’s just shameful. As is the rest of what you pointed out here.

  2. Veronica says:

    Some days it is embarrassing to say that I’m from Tennessee. *sigh*

  3. joesantusj says:

    Then again, imagine being an atheist (not an anti-theist, an atheist) here in TN, BOESKOOL. I live in Altamont, TN, about an hour-and-forty-five minute drive to Nashville.
    My wife (of thirty-nine years, our first marriage, with six now all-adult children) are considered “radical” and “dangerous” by both the Left and the Right, by Republicans and Democrats, most of whom are all theistic to at least some extent.

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