Niles Schools CRT Lesson: Microagressions for 1st Graders

Niles Schools CRT leaders
The creators of Niles Schools Critical Race Theory curriculum, from left to right: Jennifer Shabazz, Principal of Ballard Elementary School — Jeron Blood, Principal of Southside Elementary School — Ann Bingham, Director of Curriculum

NILES, Mich. — REAL News Michiana has obtained Niles Community School Critical Race Theory curriculum through a Freedom of Information Act Request. The curriculum, which is being taught under of the guise of Social Emotional Learning during Black History Month, includes a lesson on Microagressions for 1st graders.

Microagressions are defined as indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group, according to Oxford Dictionary. Essentially, simply being white, straight or a white male is offensive to people of color, the LGBTQ community and women (the later only if you happen to be a straight, white male).

The lesson, which is called “Teaching First-Graders About Microaggressions” is found in curriculum developed by two Niles elementary school principals and the district’s curriculum director for Black History Month. They call the curriculum, “Going Beyond Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.” Much of the document contains good, historical information that should be discussed to accurately learn about Black History. However, sprinkled in are radical Critical Race Theory tenets that are being used to brainwash and indoctrinate children on Marxist beliefs.

A brief description of the microaggression lesson on the curriculum document says, “For younger students, understanding that identity-based microaggressions pose a heavier burden than other painful moments is critical to creating anti-racist, empathetic behaviors.”

The document gives a link for teachers to use that contains the lesson. The author of the lesson gives a synopsis of the curriculum prior diving into how to teach young children the nuances of CRT’s microaggressions.

“It can be hard enough for adults—particularly adults with privileged identities—to recognize microaggressions. But it’s crucial we address them. At their core, these are coded messages of disapproval that are based in identity: comments and actions that echo larger, structural bigotry, telling marginalized people they don’t belong, that they are less than. Children start internalizing these messages while they are still developing their identities.” The author writes.

“Before talking with students about microaggressions, it’s essential to establish an identity-safe classroom. Students need to feel safe and supported. In my class, when we do discuss microaggressions, I remind students of conversations we’ve already had about representation. I remind them that, when we’re reading together, we always ask, ‘Whose story is being told here?’ I also reference the discussions we’ve had around more overt racism: how being called a racist may hurt, but it doesn’t compare to actually experiencing racism.”

The author then suggests some radical children’s books that have been made to shame white kids; Don’t Touch My Hair, which admonishes kids for being naturally curious about the differences in people and 10,000 Dresses, which is about a “transgender” child being “misgendered.”

“Texts like these help children confront the reality that what seems like a minor hurt can take on a new level of damage when it reinforces stereotypes.” The author of the lesson writes. “A useful follow-up activity is to describe a few different hurtful moments—some microaggressions, some not—and ask students to reflect.”

The author discusses “anti-racism” throughout the lesson. “Anti-Racism” is a term most use to refer to work and writings by one of the most acclaimed Critical Race Theorists, Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi believes all white people are racist based solely on the color of their skin. If they deny being racist, they then have “white fragility” — essentially becoming defensive of the claim of racism, which somehow proves that white people are inherently racist.

That’s what’s being taught to 6-year-old children in Niles Community Schools.

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