A New York City principal sent parents documents asking them to reflect where they land on a scale of ‘whiteness’ from ‘white supremacists’ to ‘white abolitionists,’ it was revealed on Monday.
Mark Federman, the principal of East Side Community High School, first shared the material with staff before he reportedly sent the survey to parents at the public school in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, education officials told the New York Post.
The ‘8 White Identities’ graphic includes a colored meter ranging from red to green, indicating that those who identify in tiers including white supremacists are bad and those who identify as white abolitionists are good.
It was not immediately clear if the documents were intended solely for the parents or for them to discuss with their children.
Mark Federman reportedly sent parents a pamphlet asking them to rate their ‘whiteness’
Federman is the principal of East Side Community High School, which serves a student population that has 18 percent white students
The curriculum on which the documents were based was developed by Barnor Hesse, an Associate Professor of African American Studies, Political Science, and Sociology at Northwestern University, according to the New York Post.
The graphics themselves appear to have been developed by the Slow Factory Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to climate change and race advocacy.
‘There is a regime of whiteness, and there are action-oriented white identities,’ Hesse wrote above the eight-point list.
‘People who identify with whiteness are one of these.’
White supremacists, perceived to be the worst grouping in the list, believe in a ‘clearly marked white society that preserves, names, and values white superiority,’ according to the graphic.
The next level down is ‘white voyeurism,’ which are people who ‘wouldn’t challenge a white supremacist.’ People in this group are described as desiring non-whiteness because its ‘interesting’ and ‘pleasurable.’
The ‘8 white identities’ document was apparently designed by the Slow Factory Foundation off a curriculum reportedly created by Barnor Hesse, a professor at Northwestern University
This group ‘seeks to control the consumption of and appropriation of non-whiteness,’ according to the graphic.
In the next tier, ‘white privilege,’ people may ‘critique white supremacy’ while those below them, ‘white benefit,’ are sympathetic to non-white issues ‘but only privately.’
The graphic notes that some people of color also fit into the ‘white benefit’ category, though does not explain further.
In the next category, white confessional, white people ‘seek validation’ from people of color and ‘exposure of whiteness takes places, but as a way of being accountable to people of color.’
Northwestern University Professor Barnor Hesse came up with the 8 White Identities scale
Those who are white critical ‘take on board critiques of whiteness and invest in exposing/marking the white regime,’ the document reads. Those who are white critical refuse ‘to be complicit with the regime, and are described as ‘whiteness speaking back to whiteness.’
White traitors ‘actively refuse complicity,’ according to the document, and want ‘to subvert white authority and tell the truth at whatever the cost.’
White abolitionists, the lowest tear, what to ‘dismantle whiteness’ and to ‘not allow whiteness to reassert itself.’
An Education Department official told the New York Post that the graphics were disseminated it to every parent ‘as part of a series of materials meant for reflection’ and as ‘food for though.’
‘Anti-racism and the celebration of diversity is at the core of our work on behalf of the young people of New York City, and the East Side Community School’s students, parents and staff partner together to advance equity in their community,’ the official said in a statement.
‘The document in question was shared with the school by parents as a part of ongoing anti-racist work in the school community and is one of many resources the schools utilizes.’
As far as the school’s student demographics, the East Side Community School serves about 55 percent Hispanic students, 18 percent white students and 15 percent black students, according to Inside Schools.
It has about 680 students in grades 6-12 and does better than average on state tests, according to the site’s data.
‘Tenth grade history classes use a curriculum designed by Facing History, an organization committed to examining history through a social justice lens. Lessons emphasize ethical decision-making and the importance of being upstanders (participants) rather than mere bystanders of societal events,’ according to the website.