School district offers course teaching students to run affinity groups in order to counter a ‘system that is built around whiteness.’
The Piedmont Unified School District offers a high school course titled “Affinity Mentorship.” The goal of the course seeks to “honor and celebrate the diversity of our student body and to create safe spaces for young students to have role models that share their similar identities.” The overview states that this goal will be achieved through “affinity groups where mentors foster conversation and community in a positive way.”
A presentation for the course states that “when we don’t acknowledge differences, we are centering whiteness;” it continues: “years of cumulative hurt by a system that is built around whiteness.”
The proponents of this course seek to “formalize and institutionalize the Affinity and Identity Mentor program to ensure BIPOC students have role models who share their identity to talk with and share experiences.” Proponents also request funding to pay a designated employee to lead the program.
The district will form these affinity groups with students from the high school course, as well as students who enroll in the program at the elementary and middle school level.
As part of the course, students will participate in the “Restorative Justice circle process” in order to effectively “design and practice a community circle as a classroom exercise.”
Materials for the course includes books such as This Book is Anti-Racist, How to be an AntiRacist workbook by Ibram X Kendi, The 1619 Project: Born on the Water picture book, Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky, and Race Cars – A Children’s book about white privilege by Jenny Devenny.