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Parents at Manhattan’s $57K Spence School demand it take ‘a step backward’ from its woke agenda


Parents at the posh $57K per year Spence School in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood are starting a letter-writing campaign to demand the academy take a ‘step backward’ from its woke agenda. 

A mother involved with the letter-writing campaign spoke anonymously with the New York Post after it was revealed that students at the all-girls school were shown a video mocking ‘annoying’ and ‘entitled’ white women.

The video was of Ziwe Fumudoh’s Showtime show, Ziwe,  where she speaks to author Fran Lebowitz, telling her: ‘I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be.’ 

The mom hit out at the woke lesson, telling the Post: ‘This is becoming a culture war. I guess that’s what people want, instead of being truthful.’

‘Parents want to know what steps they’re going to take with this particular teacher and with the students that went through it. There should be outreach to the children,’ she said.

Another mom, Cuban-American Gabriela Baron, complained that the video was ‘blatantly racist’ and said she was removing her daughter from the academy – which counts Gwyneth Paltrow among its alumnae. 

The Spence School, a $57,000-a-year Manhattan all-girls school, sent out an email apologizing for the showing of the episode

One parent, Gabriela Baron, who is Cuban American, was angered by the 'racism'

One parent, Gabriela Baron, who is Cuban American, was angered by the ‘racism’

The anonymous mom told the New York Post that she recently pulled her daughter out of the school because she and her husband were ‘feeling very disheartened and crestfallen over the curriculum echoing this sort of culture war even before George Floyd.’

‘We felt it wasn’t appropriate, that kind of beating up of the Western canon,’ the woman said.

She added: ‘I wish it were just isolated at Spence. We all know the ‘wokeness’ is so huge.’ 

Bodie Brizendine, Spence’s head of school, had sent out an e-mail to parents on Wednesday apologizing for showing Fumudoh’s satirical show. 

After the apology, a second mom who spoke anonymously to the New York Post said that ‘it’s not an apology that is needed.’

‘What is required ‘is a step backward to jump off the bandwagon of this rhetoric that has been going on, to sort of take a look at what you mean to do when you educate a young person,’ the second woman said.

She continued: ‘Showing a video like that is not education, that’s junk.’

‘The girls have to be told to make their own decisions, look at all sides of arguments. … But in order to do that, they need to have self-worth. I didn’t realize that a Spence teacher would feel empowered to do something like that,’ she added. 

Brizendine wrote: ‘We take this seriously; it is never acceptable to ridicule anyone at any time.

Brodie Brizendine, the head of Spence School, apologized on Wednesday after students at her school were shown an episode of satirist Ziwe Fumudoh's satirical show. One mother complained that the show was racist against white women

Brodie Brizendine, the head of Spence School, apologized on Wednesday after students at her school were shown an episode of satirist Ziwe Fumudoh’s satirical show. One mother complained that the show was racist against white women

Students were reportedly shown a clip from Ziwe Fumudoh's satirical show

Students were reportedly shown a clip from Ziwe Fumudoh’s satirical show

The 29-year-old comedienne's season premiere featured author Fran Lebowitz

The 29-year-old comedienne’s season premiere featured author Fran Lebowitz 

Ziwe told Lebowitz: 'I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be'

Ziwe told Lebowitz: ‘I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be’

‘This video is not part of the Spence curriculum. Our teacher and the School acknowledge that sharing a satirical video that made fun of white women was a significant mistake.

‘We are sorry for any harm this has caused to anyone in our community.’

Baron’s letter complaining about the video was picked up by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who earlier this year announced that she was taking her own daughter out of Spence School in response to the ‘hard left’ curriculum.

Kelly tweeted: ‘(Another) Spence parent pulls her kid after grossly racist episode attacking white women is forced on girls in class on last day of school. 

‘We just left this school bc of its growing far-left indoctrination. 

‘This is a place we’ve loved-breaks my heart they’re doing this.’

Kerry Washington

Gwyneth Paltrow

Actresses Kerry Washington and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the Spence School’s notable alumni 

Emmy Rossum

Georgina Bloomberg

Actress Emmy Rossum and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina are among the Spence School’s notable alumni 

Other former students at the school include Kerry Washington and Emmy Rossum;  Michael Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina; and Mick Jagger’s daughter Jade. 

The clip in question was the season premiere of Fumudoh’s provocative HBO Showtime show, Ziwe.

HBO describe it as ‘the riotously funny, new variety series from writer, comedian and internet sensation, Ziwe. A no-holds-barred mix of musical numbers, interviews and sketches that challenge America’s discomfort with race, politics, & other cultural issues.’

The episode sees her interview feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and quote the explicit lyrics of the Cardi B song WAP at her, asking: ‘Do you feel empowered?’ 

And she convenes a panel of women named Karen to ask them how they felt about their name, telling them it is now associated with ‘obnoxious, angry and entitled, often racist, white women.’

Ziwe asked Steinem whether she felt 'empowered' by the explicit lyrics of WAP, which she read out loud to her. Steinem laughed at the question, replying: 'Not really'

Ziwe asked Steinem whether she felt ’empowered’ by the explicit lyrics of WAP, which she read out loud to her. Steinem laughed at the question, replying: ‘Not really’

The 87-year-old author and activist laughed and clapped at Ziwe's provocations

The 87-year-old author and activist laughed and clapped at Ziwe’s provocations

Ziwe also convened a panel of women named Karen to discuss their name, pointing out it was frequently associated with racist white women

Ziwe also convened a panel of women named Karen to discuss their name, pointing out it was frequently associated with racist white women

Baron, in her letter, said she watched the clip at home with her husband and felt that it ‘openly derides, humiliates and ridicules white women,.’

She added: ‘[The kids] sat there in their graduation dresses while the white mothers of the white students – many of whom volunteer, donate, call, email and do whatever the school asks of them – were tarred and feathered in a video their teacher showed them.’

The outcry at Spence is just the latest in the ‘culture wars’ enveloping New York City’s expensive education establishments.

Earlier this year a parent at Brearley School wrote to other parents complaining about the teaching of Critical Race Theory – the questioning of America’s history and society, emphasizing the role that slavery played in the nation’s founding. Supporters of CRT argue it is a long-overdue rebalancing of the curriculum: detractors say it divides children by skin color, and tells white children to feel guilty for their skin.

A teacher at another school, Grace School, resigned in protest at the teaching of CRT.

Republicans have seized on the row, citing it as an example of the dangers of ‘woke’ philosophies pressed on young minds.



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