White people have always followed a very basic playbook when it comes to ducking discussions and accountability for racism. It’s simple: They deny racism is happening, claim adamantly that they were raised not to see color and characterize any undeniable instances of racism as isolated incidents. Now, the gods of white fragility have bestowed upon the people who have been caucasified in the waters of Lake Minne-honky a new racism deflection gift—Critical Race Theory.
It doesn’t matter that white conservatives have no idea what CRT is. All they need to do is band together, keep calling the academic study everything it’s not, and watch white supremacy do its work. There’s a picture-perfect example of this happening in Traverse City, Mich., where white high school students were caught in a private Snapchat group engaging in a mock slave auction where they discussed how much they would sell and buy their Black classmates for. This prompted the school to issue an anti-racism resolution, which many white parents took issue with, unsurprisingly.
“I know how much I was sold for: one hundred dollars,” 16-year-old Nevaeh Wharton, who said she was alerted to the group by a fellow student, told the Washington Post. “And in the end, I was given away for free.”
From the Post:
The Snapchat group, titled “slave trade,” also saw a student share the messages “all blacks should die” and “let’s start another holocaust,” according to screenshots obtained by The Washington Post. It spurred the fast-tracking of a school equity resolution that condemned racism and vowed Traverse City Area Public Schools would better educate its overwhelmingly White student body and teaching staff on how to live in a diverse country.
Events in Traverse City would demonstrate how quickly efforts to address historic disparities or present-day racial harassment in schools can become fodder for a campaign against critical race theory, fueled by White parents’ growing conviction that their children are being taught to feel ashamed of their Whiteness—and their country.
The resolution—which came about through discussions between members of the district’s equity task force and top school officials—didn’t call for much. It declared that the Traverse City school district denounces “racism, racial violence, hate speech, bigotry, discrimination and harassment.” It also called for more “comprehensive” diversity training for teachers, for school libraries to carry more books by non-white authors and for school curricula to include lessons on social equity.
But because to white people, addressing racism is the real racism—as opposed to a bunch of white students forming a fantasy slave trade club—conservative parents stood in protest against the resolution while taking another page from the white fragility playbook and declaring that if they don’t personally see the racism, then it just isn’t happening.
“I’ve never seen any sort of discrimination,” Lori White (and yes—yes, she is her last name) said during a June board meeting, the Post reports. “People in Traverse City are just kind.”
Parent Hannah Black (who is not her last name) claimed the resolution was “laced with critical race theory,” which, of course, it isn’t.
Other parents of the color-redacted persuasion feel the same.
More from the Post:
“We don’t, not even for a second, think about race,” said Darcie Pickren, 67, a vocal leader of the anti-CRT movement who is White, with Irish and Native American ancestry, and two of whose children graduated from the school system. “We never would. And I think that this is opening a can of worms and we are not going to be able to go back.”
Added Sally Roeser, 44, a White mother of two who graduated from Traverse public schools: “We were all brought up not to take someone’s race into consideration. That’s what we’re guaranteed in America.”
Do y’all understand how white and delusional you need to be to believe that America was ever a country where people of color are “guaranteed” not to have their race become an issue?
According to the Post, Traverse City has a population of about 16,000 and is more than 90 percent white. How TF would these people know if racial discrimination is happening or not based solely on their own white-ass experiences? It appears that the city’s discussions on racism exist the same way CRT is mostly being discussed in conservative circles—it’s just a bunch of white people talking about race relations with other white people.
Meanwhile, students of color are telling a completely different story from the white and fragile parents. In interviews with the Post, Traverse City students of color said they have experienced racial harassment at the hands of white students for years.
“I was more surprised that somebody found out about it and it got to the news,” 15-year-old Eve Mosqueda, who is Native American and Mexican, told the Post of the infamous Snapchat slave auction. She also said students have been asking her if she lives in a teepee since elementary school.
Even white students at the school recalled other white students whispering the word “Niagra” so they didn’t get in trouble for saying “nigger” and calling a student of color “Lilo” instead of her actual name because they thought her darker skin made her look like the Lilo and Stitch character.
Sixteen-year-old Adeyo Ilemobade, who is biracial, said that the parents who stand against the simple anti-racism resolution “don’t like the truth,” and that “If they’ve grown here, then they’ve only really grown to know White.”
And that’s what this is really all about—white people being unable to understand or empathize with the experiences of people of color in America because all they experience is America’s default, which is whiteness.
But as Nevaeh told the Post: “I feel like if I’m old enough to experience this kind of thing, other people are old enough to learn about this entire thing.”