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PHM Touts Success of Racist Curriculum at State-Wide Conference

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Officials with Penn Harris Madison Schools spent the afternoon Monday touting the success of their moves to expand “diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities for students,” at a state-wide conference being held in Indianapolis. REAL News Michiana is working to determine exactly what the district officials shared with the hundreds of other administrators from other Hoosier school districts. However, RNM has covered, in-depth, the racist curriculum put out by PHM through their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons, including the “White Supremacist Triangle” and “Micro-aggressions” curriculum.

PHM officials presented on the use of the PHM’s Superintendent Advisory Council (SAC), which was partly responsible for the racist curriculum that was added to the school district’s SEL curriculum last year. The goal of the SAC is to advise on the implementation of more diversity, equity and inclusion within PHM. All of which was in response to an erroneous and fact-lacking letter sent to the school board following the death of George Floyd in 2020. You can read that open letter here.

The presentation was made at the fall conference of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS). According to the organization’s website, “IAPSS provides professional development targeted at improving the educational process, promoting efficient operation of schools, and developing new superintendents. Association meetings provide a forum for discussion of educational issues between members and state and national experts.”

Below are just two examples of PHM’s racist curriculum pushed through by their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts.

PYRAMID OF WHITE SUPREMACY

Teachers at Penn High School successfully pushed back against the inclusion of a “Pyramid of White Supremacy” in the curriculum, according to a source familiar with the matter. While the pyramid has been removed, it was initially included in the lessons that were provided to REAL News Michiana through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Included in the pyramid are sayings like “MAGA,” “I don’t see race” and “It doesn’t matter who you vote for.” The “Pyramid of White Supremacy” is a model used by far-left advocates that says indifference about racism can lead to mass murder. 


The graphic is meant to instruct students that if they can remove low levels of racism, the entire pyramid structure will fall and genocide will be avoided. Comments at the base of the pyramid include such problematic statements as: “Why can’t we all just get along,” and “It doesn’t matter who you vote for.”


The pyramid progresses in racism with comments such as, “We all belong to the human race,” and “I don’t see race.” Other ideas at this level include: colorblindness, all lives matter and the denial of white privilege.


As the pyramid builds, more serious evidence of racism includes discriminatory dress codes, claims of reverse racism and English-only initiatives. Further up are ideas such as funding schools locally and gentrification.


Eventually, the pyramid rises to serious levels of discrimination like mass incarceration; calls for violence, including burning crosses and MAGA (President Trump’s campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again”); lynching, hate crimes and police brutality. The peak of the pyramid is mass murder.

You can read more about this lesson here.

MICROAGGRESSIONS

Penn High School students are learning why statements like, “I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends,” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” are microaggressions.

While “microaggression” is not a household term everywhere, students will soon become experts with such terminology. Merriam Webster defines a microaggression as: a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority). 


(Whether using a traditional dictionary source such as Merriam Webster to define “microaggression” is a microaggression in itself, is of course a possibility. This is why education on the subject is so necessary.) 


In an effort to acquaint all Penn High School parents with the contents of this material, details of the slide presentation on microaggressions are below: 

Theme: Second-class citizen. Occurs when a White person is given preferential treatment as a consumer over a person of color.

Microaggression: 

  • Person of color mistaken for a service worker.
  • Having a taxi cab pass a person of color and pick up a White passenger.
  • Being ignored at a store counter as attention is given to the White customer behind you.
  • “You people…”

Message: 

  • People of color are servants to Whites. They couldn’t possibly occupy high-status positions. 
  • You are likely to cause trouble and/or travel to a dangerous neighborhood.
  • Whites are more valued customers than people of color.
  • You don’t belong. You are a lesser being. 

Theme: Environmental microaggressions. Macro-level microaggressions, which are more apparent on systemic and environmental levels.
Microaggression: 

  • A college or university with buildings that are all names after White heterosexual upper class males.
  • Television shows and movies that feature predominantly White people, without representation of people of color.
  • Overcrowding of public schools in communities of color.
  • Overabundance of liquor stores in communities of color.

Message:

  • You don’t belong/You won’t succeed here. There is only so far you can go.
  • You are an outsider/You don’t exist.
  • People of color don’t/shouldn’t value education.
  • People of color are deviant.

Theme: Criminality — assumption of criminal status. A person of color is presumed to be dangerous, criminal, or deviant on the basis of their race.
Microaggression:

  • A White man or woman clutching their purse or checking their wallet as a Black or Latino approaches or passes. 
  • A store owner following a customer of color around the store.
  • A White person waits to ride the next elevator when a person of color is on it.

Message: 

  • You are a criminal.
  • You are going to steal/You are poor/You do not belong/You are dangerous.

Theme: Denial of Individual racism. A statement made when White deny their racial biases.
Microaggression: 

  • “I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends.”
  • “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”

Message: 

  • I am immune to racism because I have friends of color.
  • Your racial oppression is no different than my gender oppression. I can’t be a racist. I am like you.

Theme: Myth of meritocracy. Statements which assert that race does not play a role in life success.
Microaggression: 

  • “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”
  • “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

Message: 

  • People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.
  • People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.

Pathologizing cultural values/communication styles. The notion that the values and communication styles of the dominant/White culture are ideal.
Microaggression: 

  • Asking a Black person: “Why do you have to be so loud/animated? Just calm down.”
  • To an Asian or Latino person: “Why are you so quiet? We want to know what you think. Be more verbal. Speak up more.”
  • Dismissing an individual who brings up race/culture in work/school setting.

Message:

  • Assimilate to dominant culture.
  • Leave your cultural baggage outside.

Students will also learn they might be using microaggressions without even realizing they’re doing it! They may be left feeling that they “can’t say anything right.” This may be due to the fact that they are “fragile” or “close-minded.” Nonetheless, they will be encouraged to “Talk about other things,” because “It’s not that hard.” Read below for more information: 


Imagine being swarmed by mosquitoes everyday of your life.

  • You may not be aware that things you’ve said are microaggressions.
  • You may think you were being nice, kind, considerate, giving a compliment
  • It’s not for the aggressor to decide if a comment is a microaggression (not about intention, but about inappropriate message sent)

After learning about microaggressions…

  • People sometimes feel like they “can’t say anything right”
  • That feeling that some may have when they feel they “can’t say anything right” could be due to the microaggressor being “fragile” or even close-minded
  • Important to be aware. Then, make a change. Stop using microaggressions, it’s not that hard. This is a call to action to make a positive difference.
  • Talk about other things.

The microaggression slides are part of the Social-Emotional Lesson plan for Penn High School. They are included in a section called, “Conflict Resolution: Dealing with and Eliminating Microaggressions.”

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