High school graduation
requirements are nothing new. Typically, schools require students complete some
sequence of math, English, and science. Well, the Democracy Prep charter
network’s Las Vegas campus has added a dubious new graduation requirement: White
students must confess their privileged identity.
Democracy Prep student William Clark and his family recently filed a lawsuit against the school for compelling his participation in the course “Sociology of Change,” which is required for graduation. The course materials documented in the lawsuit are remarkable. One class PowerPoint slide explains that “Interpersonal racism is what white people do to people of color.” Another slide allows that “People of color CAN have prejudices against white people,” but “these prejudices are severely punished” by “police, courts, and or gangs of white people.” As such, students are taught, “Black prejudice does not affect the rights of white people” and “reverse racism doesn’t exist.”
The course materials encourage students
to confess what “part[s] of your identity have privilege or oppression attached
to it.” In case there were any doubt, the class guidelines clarify that being
white is a sign of privilege because, as the “dominant group,” whites “have the
power to enforce prejudices.”
Clark, a biracial student who identifies as white, balked at confessing his privilege and refused to identify himself as an oppressor. His teacher was not impressed, awarding Clark a D-, apparently in contravention of Democracy Prep’s policies to award grades C- or higher. Given that the course remains mandatory, Clark’s upcoming graduation is in question. Clark’s family pleaded with the school to provide a viable alternative, but the school refused.
The irony is that the progressive educators at Democracy Prep say that they want to cultivate courageous, independent-minded, civically engaged citizens. Just last year, in March 2020, Democracy Prep encouraged its students to “feel empowered to use their voice to stand up for what is right, even if that means pushing back against a school policy.”
But, as Clark discovered, the school apparently regards some kinds of empowerment as more tolerable than others. When it comes to race, it seems that standing up for what is right means kowtowing to the woke nostrums of the day.