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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Back when I was editor of my college paper in Worcester, Massachusetts, I called landlords who had placed classified ads for rental apartments near Clark University. I made up a story that I had a Black roommate, and I asked if that would be a problem.

Nearly 40% said it would be a problem. I ran the story as the lead in the Clark Scarlet, and the Worcester Telegram picked up the story. That resulted in an investigation by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and my first reporting job with the newspaper back in 1964.


Later, as a Boston Herald reporter, I covered Boston police headquarters. Reporters from the other two Boston newspapers referred to the murder of a Black man as a “cheap murder,” meaning it was of no consequence and did not merit a story.

Now, while incidents of prejudice against Blacks and other minorities and religious groups obviously still exist, at secondary schools and colleges the narrative has flipped: Students are taught by woke zealots that Whites are born into “white privilege” and are inherently racist.

No one has pinpointed the problem better than Andrew Gutmann, an investment banker who pulled his daughter out of the $54,000-a-year Brearley School in Manhattan. In a letter he sent to fellow parents, Mr. Gutmann said Brearley’s “critical race theory” philosophy advocates that Blacks should “forever be regarded as helpless victims.” 

Mr. Gutmann said the school, which counts among its students the daughters of Chelsea Clinton, Tina Fey, Drew Barrymore and Steve Martin, holds “sophomoric” and “simplistic” anti-racism training sessions that parents are required to attend. Mr. Gutmann fumed that students at the all-girls school are taught to hate their own country.

“By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he wrote, saying the policies encourage kids to judge, and be judged, by the color of their skin.

Mr. Gutmann attacked the notion that systemic racism exists in the U.S., saying that has not been true since the 1960s and that indeed, affirmative action policies often place Blacks ahead of Whites.

“Systemic racism, properly understood, is segregated schools and separate lunch counters,” he said. “It is the interning of Japanese and the exterminating of Jews. Systemic racism is unequivocally not a small number of isolated incidences over a period of decades.”

“I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs,” Mr. Gutmann said, comparing the “cancerous” brainwashing of students enrolled in the Upper West Side private school to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

In response, Brearley doubled down on its position, saying many of the parents who received Mr. Gutmann’s letter complained that it was “deeply offensive” and that it frightened and intimidated them even to receive it.

The fact that African-Americans represent 13% of Americans yet the country twice voted for Barack Obama as president tells you everything you need to know about whether the U.S., which millions from throughout the world try to emigrate to, is a racist country. Yet it was Mr. Obama who started the practice of labeling a shooting of a Black man by a White police officer racist before — as he once admitted — he knew all the facts.

While Mr. Obama treats his Secret Service agents with consideration and respect, agents have been dismayed to overhear Michelle Obama push her husband to be more aggressive to side with Blacks in police shooting controversies, agents told me for my book “The First Family Detail.”

As my friend Juan Williams, a Fox News contributor, told me when his book “Enough” came out, the portrayal of Blacks as victims and their own acceptance of that notion is self-defeating, leading to the problems we see in many urban centers.

“That [victimhood] culture says that you are acting White if you’re a good student, that says that going to jail is just a rite of passage, or that crime is acceptable in the black community,” said Mr. Williams, who is Black. “That says to an individual, ‘You can’t help yourself, you can’t help your family, and therefore all you can do is wait for the government to do something for you.’”

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” King said in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Those who have flipped that narrative to push anti-White racism for their own self-glorification do a disservice to the country, to the civil rights movement and to the Black Americans they claim to champion.

• Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the author of “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.”


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