Race-obsessed Brearley school claims victimhood when challenged

Andrew Gutmann, who was pulling his daughter out of Brearley, an expensive private school in New York (annual tuition $54,000), wrote an open letter explaining exactly what was wrong with its “anti-racist” racism. A walk through the school’s website and the school head’s response to Gutmann’s letter prove that, if anything, he understated how bad things really are there.

Brearley, in New York, caters to rich leftists. It has a cachet. From Jane Foley Fried, the head of the school, on down to every administrator and faculty member, everyone is highly credentialed.

On its “statement of beliefs” page, Brearley boasts that it “challenges girls of adventurous intellect and diverse backgrounds to think critically and creatively and prepares them for principled engagement in the world.” If one goes by the school’s response to Gutmann’s letter, there is no evidence that either the faculty or the students have any critical thinking skills.

The same page includes statements about Brearley’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” and its being “Antiracist.” The school’s website also has a page dedicated to “Diversity and Equity.” It repeats the “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” and “Anti-racist” statements, but the important item is a lengthy calendar showing the energy and time the school dedicates to “diversity.”

There are constant meetings and seminars for parents and students, all of them led by various facilitators, and most of them divided along racial lines. I cannot urge you strongly enough to check out the calendar because it is a stunning example of the accuracy of Guttman’s claim that:

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way.

[snip]

I object to mandatory anti-racism training for parents, especially when presented by the rent-seeking charlatans of Pollyanna. These sessions, in both their content and delivery, are so sophomoric and simplistic, so unsophisticated and inane, that I would be embarrassed if they were taught to Brearley kindergarteners.

[snip]

I object to Brearley’s vacuous, inappropriate, and fanatical use of words such as “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness.”

(Again, if you haven’t read Gutmann’s letter, you must -- and then share it with others.)

Brearley responded with a letter from Principal Jane Fried. It demonstrated how the wokerati invariably cast themselves as victims. And I do mean victims: Fried speaks of physical and psychic terror as if Gutmann had threatened their lives rather than challenging their beliefs. The website at which the letter originally appeared is gone, but this is the text:

Today, Brearley families received a letter from a Brearley parent. The letter then circulated among students, faculty, and staff at school.  Many have written to say that they found the opinions expressed in the letter to be deeply offensive and harmful, and we agree. This afternoon, I and others who work closely with Upper School students met with more than one hundred of them, many of whom told us that they felt frightened and intimidated by the letter and the fact that it was sent directly to their homes. Our students noted that as this letter, which denies the presence of systemic racism, crossed their doorways, the evidence of ongoing racism - systemic and otherwise - is daily present in our headlines.

We express our unequivocal support for our Black, Asian, Indigenous, Multiracial and Latinx students, faculty, staff, and alums. Many of our students of color, especially those who identify as Black, felt that the letter questioned their belonging in the Brearley community. Their belonging and their excellence are unquestionable.  We continue to move forward together to build an inclusive, antiracist school in which all members of our diverse community see that their contributions are acknowledged, know that they are valued and that they belong.

Brearley will continue to listen, solicit feedback, and welcome constructive criticism from our students and our community as we challenge racism wherever we may find it.   We all share responsibility in preparing our students for purposeful and meaningful lives.  We are all expected to engage in this work with respect for one another. This letter failed both in content and delivery to meet that expectation. We are better than this and we must do better for our students. They are counting on us.

Sincerely,

Jane Fried

The astute reader will notice that nothing in the letter addresses the substance of what Gutmann said. Instead, it claims victimhood and reasserts Brearley’s commitment to dividing the world along racial lines. Note, too, the simplistic thinking of the unnamed student who says, uncritically, that the news must accurately portray the reality of racism in America.

If Brearley’s faculty and families truly cared about the plight of impoverished minorities, those rich parents would withdraw their daughters from the school and, instead, pay to send an underprivileged child. That they don’t shows that this is just virtue signaling on steroids.

IMAGE: Brearley Seal.

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