On August 29, 2022, the Chatham Monitor reported that Chatham County Schools provided equity training that explicitly trained district staff in “Critical Race Theory.” Chatham Monitor explained: “This training, held over 2 days in early August 2022, was required for all Chatham County Schools district-level leaders.” On a page of the training titled “Systemic Equity Transformation Framework,” one area of focus is listed as “Critical Race Theory: Tenets.” This area of focus is explained as “developing racial literacy and consciousness.”
Another page of the training was titled “Some Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture in the United States.” In what appears to be a negative list of characteristics of so-called “white culture,” the training material lists “rugged individualism,” “justice,” “communication,” “protestant work ethic,” “emphasis on scientific method,” “family structure,” and “religion.” Under the category of “protestant work ethic,” the idea of “hard work is the key to success” is seen as a negative. Under the category of “family structure,” the idea of a “nuclear family” is seen as a negative.
One page of the training is titled “White Privilege Exercise” and appears to have people who are white read statements about why they are perceived to have privilege. Examples of statements on this list include:
- I can be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
- I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
- I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.
- When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my race made it what it is.
- I can be sure that children in my family will be given curricular materials that testify to the contributions of their race.
- I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
- I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a racial outsider.
- If a police officer pulls me over, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
- I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
- I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
Another part of the training was titled “Examining Whiteness” and had numerous topics that district staff would discuss. Topics included “White Is a Color, a Culture, a Consciousness,” “Racial Affinity Groups,” “Characteristics of White Culture,” “Decentering Whiteness,” “Unconscious/Implicit Bias,” and “A View of Systemic Racism.” Affinity groups specifically are groups that segregate people based on the characteristics of their identity, such as race.
An additional page of the training was titled “What Does It Mean to Be White in Consciousness?” The page explains why “individualism” is perceived to be bad: “Whites are taught to see themselves as individuals, rather than as part of a racial group. It follows that whites are racially objective and thus can represent the universal human experience, while people of color can only represent their race.” Another example of being “white in consciousness” is listed as “white fragility.” The page states:
In a white-dominant society, challenges to a white worldview are uncommon. The racial status quo is comfortable for us. We haven’t had to develop the skills, perspectives or humility that would help us engage constructively. As a result, we have very little tolerance for racial discomfort and respond poorly.
Parents Defending Education previously reported that Chatham County Schools provided numerous resources to teachers to explicitly implement “Critical Race Theory” into their classrooms. Resources that the school district promoted to teachers included videos titled “EDTalks: Dr. Keith Stanley Brooks ‘Critical Race Theory – Fact vs. Feeling'” and “Critical Race Theory and Education.” Additional resources were titled “Images and Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Racial Stereotyping, and Teacher Education” and “Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education.”