School district hired psychiatrist to teach anti-racism to faculty
Fox News host Laura Ingraham has joined parents in blasting a California school district who hired an anti-racist psychologist to take on ‘whiteness norms.’
In a clip featured on Fox News‘ ‘The Ingraham Angle’, psychology Professor Sheri Atwater – recently hired by the Hermosa Beach City School District – is shown during a Zoom meeting talking about her teaching methods.
Her methods include asking participants to put their hand up if they are racist.
Speaking on Thursday, Ingraham used the video as an example for her claim that schools in America are preparing ‘to bring racial propaganda into school subjects, every syllabus, and every academic award given out’.
‘They’re going to hire score of rabid anti-American ideologues, destroying what is left of objective merit for students and faculty alike,’ Ingraham said.
‘Now here are the types of DEI consultants and lecturers hired for the re-programming. Meet Loyola Marymount University psychology Professor Sheri Atwater, recently hired by the the Hermosa Beach City School District in California to lecture faculty on anti-racism.’
The clip of Atwater explaining her teaching methods was then played, with Ingraham explaining she had been hired to lecture the faculty on anti-racism.
‘Raise your hand if you’re racist’: In a clip featured on Fox News’ ‘The Ingraham Angle’, psychology Professor Sheri Atwater – recently hired by the Hermosa Beach City School District – is shown during a Zoom meeting about her teaching methods
‘One of the favorite things I like to do in my multi-cultural counselling class – First question when I walk up there is – raise your hand if you’re racist,’ Atwater said. ‘And raise your hand if you’re not.
‘And then I talk about how every single person in that room – you know no one’s raised their hand if they’re racist – and they’re all telling the truth, but also by the end of this lecture and discussion you’ll understand that you’re telling the truth and you’re also lying at the same time.
‘And that’s because we have implicit biases about everything – gender, race. They operate, these unconscious biases without our permission, and without our control. So you can’t tell me that you’re not racist – unconsciously – because our brain’s built on understanding stereotypes, that’s how we make sense of our world.’
In response, the Fox News host said: ‘So if you’re white you’re de-facto guilty. Now if you’re not white, you’re given special status and consideration. Now they call this diversity, equity and inclusion – DEI – but it’s really just plain old racism.’
The decision to hire Atwater (pictured top-right) has drawn the ire of a group of parents in the Hermosa Beach City School District. Speaking on Thursday, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham used the video as an example, as she claimed that schools in America are preparing ‘to bring racial propaganda into school subjects, every syllabus, and ever academic award given out.’
The decision to hire Atwater has drawn the ire of a group of parents who have argued against incorporating race and privilege training into the small district consisting of just two elementary schools and a middle school.
But the school board members who hired Atwater have stood behind their decision to hire her for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) teaching, according to public comments made at a May 12 meeting.
Atwater said during the meeting that she doesn’t train ‘critical race theory’ – a practice that recognizes that systemic racism is part of American society and challenges belief systems that enable it.
However, according to her faculty biography, Atwater’s works address ‘whiteness norms … that systemically benefit white people’ and claim that ‘Racial inequality is often produced by adopting a color-blind racial ideology’.
In response to parents’ concerns, the professor said she would not use ‘shame or guilt’ when she teaches topics such as race, implicit bias, color blindness and other similar topics, according to a video of the school board meeting.
But this was not enough to ease worries among the parents of children attending schools in the district in the coastal city south of Los Angeles.
Atwater was recently hired by the Hermosa Beach City School District. Pictured: Hermosa Beach Pier, in downtown Hermosa City
Parents in the Hermosa Beach City School District have come out against the hiring of Atwater, writing letters to the school board. According to the school district’s website, Atwater was hired as part of a push to advance an ‘equity’ agenda
Hermosa Beach citizen Matt McCool posted the video of Atwater explaining her teachings to YouTube, along with the caption: ‘Wokeness 101 @HBCSD – Hermosa Beach City School District – Curriculum eliminates independent thinking, and all students are unconsciously racists.’
In a post on Facebook, McCool wrote: ‘More rhetoric from consultant Sheri A. Castro-Atwater on white privilege and white supremacy. Color-blind racial ideology is actually racist towards people of color.
‘The great irony of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force is the lack of diversity of thought, and any alternative views are not equal nor included.’
According to the school district’s website, Atwater was hired as part of a push to advance an ‘equity’ agenda.
The word ‘equity’ has in itself sparked anger among anti-CRT campaigners. It demands that all students achieve the same outcomes, as opposed to equality, which merely offers people an equal opportunity to do well.
Critics say equity-drives are being used to axe tough subjects, such as advanced math, in a bid to level-out students’ results.
Sheri Atwater is a psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University (pictured). According to her faculty bio, Atwater’s works address ‘whiteness norms … that systemically benefit white people’ and claim that ‘Racial inequality is often produced by adopting a color-blind racial ideology’
But the board and its members have been accused of violating California’s open meeting laws for not reading out parents’ written comments against the hiring of the professor in an April meeting.
As a result, Superintendent Jason Johnson made sure to read all the letters from parents against the hiring at the May 12 meeting.
Multiple letters voices their concern over Atwater’s program and the direction the school board was taking its schools. Some said they would remove their children from the school because of it.
‘Dr. Martin Luther King famously stated “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,”‘ stated one letter read at the meeting.
‘Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words remain as important today as they were almost 60 years ago. What we teach our children about equality and fairness matters.
‘It is a concern to me and many other parents that Dr. Sheri Atwater does not espouse a color-blind approach … but instead advocates teaching children a color-consciousness approach,’ the letter stated.
Critical race theory in schools has become one of the most talked about social issues in American schools in recent months.
Donald Trump signed an executive order banning critical race theory and systemic racism training in federal government departments while president.
Joe Biden has since rescinded that order. Multiple states, including Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, Idaho and Utah are now considering legislation that would ban CRT from being taught in public schools.