An elite Manhattan school is teaching white students as young as 6 that they’re born racist and should feel guilty benefiting from “white privilege,” while heaping praise and cupcakes on their black peers.
Administrators at the Bank Street School for Children on the Upper West Side claim it’s a novel approach to fighting discrimination, and that several other private New York schools are doing it, but even liberal parents aren’t buying it.
They complain the K-8 school of 430 kids is separating whites in classes where they’re made to feel awful about their “whiteness,” and all the “kids of color” in other rooms where they’re taught to feel proud about their race and are rewarded with treats and other privileges.
“Ever since Ferguson, the school has been increasing anti-white propaganda in its curriculum,” said a parent who requested anonymity because he has children currently enrolled in the school.
Bank Street has created a “dedicated space” in the school for “kids of color,” where they’re “embraced” by minority instructors and encouraged to “voice their feelings” and “share experiences about being a kid of color,” according to school presentation slides obtained by The Post.
Meanwhile, white kids are herded into separate classrooms and taught to raise their “awareness of the prevalence of Whiteness and privilege,” challenge “notions of colorblindness (and) assumptions of ‘normal,’ ‘good,’ and ‘American’” and “understand and own European ancestry and see the tie to privilege.”
The same slides point out that a number of leading private schools across the country also have segregated students by “race-based affinity groups.” It lists several in New York, including Riverdale Country School, Brooklyn Friends School, The Cathedral School, The Calhoun School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School.
‘One hundred percent of the curriculum is what whites have done to other races. They offer nothing that would balance the story.’ – Anonymous Bank Street parent
Under Bank Street’s “Racial Justice and Advocacy” curriculum, parents say, teachers push white kids to grapple with America’s history of racism. Then they indoctrinate them into thinking “systemic racism” still exists, and that they’re part of the problem and must hold themselves accountable even for acts of racism committed by others.
“One hundred percent of the curriculum is what whites have done to other races,” said another Bank Street parent. “They offer nothing that would balance the story.”
Added the parent, who also asked to go unnamed: “Any questions they can’t answer they rationalize under the pretense of ‘institutional racism,’ which is never really defined.”
The program, these parents say, deliberately instills in white children a strong sense of guilt about their race. Some kids come home in tears, saying, “I’m a bad person.”
They say white kids are being brainwashed into thinking any success they achieve is unearned. Indeed, a young white girl is seen confessing on a Bank Street video: “I feel guilty for having a privilege I don’t deserve.”
Parents, moreover, say the classroom segregation only breeds resentment. Younger children, for instance, feel left out when the “kids of color” come back to the main classroom munching on cupcakes they were given in their “affinity group.”
The divisive program is run by Anshu Wahi, a longtime “social justice” activist who’s held the title of “director of diversity” at Bank Street since 2013. She referred questions to the school’s communications office, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Still, Wahi’s radical beliefs come into clear view from recorded conversations with parents, as well as handouts and emails to parents. She believes the answer to racism is teaching white kids to see race in everything — a process called “white racial socialization.”
Forget teaching them to be color-blind — that’s a cop-out, she suggests, an excuse to ignore the hardships of people of color. It’s also a “tool of whiteness” to perpetuate the “oppression” of people of color, according to one paper she recommends parents read.
Wahi believes even white babies display signs of racism, so she encourages parents to talk to their kids about race as early as kindergarten, making them hyperaware of racial differences, and even “examine your own whiteness.”
She defends segregating minority children by race by arguing they need a safe place where they can share their “ouch moments,” including subtle but offensive white comments known as “micro-aggressions.”
“Bank Street wants to give kids of color a space to talk about shared experiences,” Wahi explained in a parent handout, “because even in society today, people of color are treated unfairly.”
“In the recent past,” she added, “children of color in our Lower School have been told by well-intentioned peers that their skin looks like the color of poop.”
Wahi says the school is merely empowering children of color who feel “alienated” and “devalued” in a “dominant white culture.” But some parents fear the school is nurturing resentment among minority pupils and reinforcing perceptions of victimization.
Her extreme diversity program is based on the premise that America is still plagued by “systemic racism,” which she claims she saw first-hand while serving as a juror hearing criminal cases in Brooklyn. She told parents she was shocked to learn that every case involved a minority defendant. In the same May 2015 meeting with parents, she cited the GI Bill as proof of “white privilege,” claiming the popular post-World War II legislation only benefited white soldiers and their heirs, when in fact, black enrollment in colleges exploded under the GI Bill.
Most recently, parents were upset with her airing a documentary film lionizing leaders of the violent Black Panthers movement. On May 31, the Bank Street School screened “Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” which depicts Panthers founder and convicted cop-killer Huey Newton as a martyr.
In 2013, moreover, parents expressed outrage over an email from Wahi that seemed to sympathize with Muslim terrorists after the Boston Marathon bombings.
The April 17, 2013, message — “From Anshu, our Director of Diversity and Community: The Boston Marathon — Another Perspective” — advised students and parents to “be mindful of stereotypes and dangerous ideas” regarding “Arabs (and) Muslims.”