Posted on January 25, 2021

“Antiracism” Comes to the Heartland

Christopher Rufo, City Journal, January 19, 2021

A middle school in Springfield, Missouri, recently held a diversity training program that forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix” and watch a video of “George Floyd’s last words.”

According to whistleblower documents and teachers who attended the program at Cherokee Middle School, the training began with a “land acknowledgement,” claiming that “Springfield Public Schools is built on ancestral territory of the Osage, Delaware and Kickapoo Nations and Peoples.” {snip} The diversity trainers, Jeremy Sullivan and Myki Williamson, asked the teachers to “acknowledge the dark history and violence against Native and Indigenous People” before engaging in the day’s program of “social justice work.”

The trainers then forced the teachers to watch a nine-minute video of “George Floyd’s last words.” The film is silent, showing only white text on a black screen, illustrating Floyd’s final utterances, including his cries for his mother.  {snip}

Next, Sullivan announced the agenda: “We’re going to look at three large concepts and those concepts are oppression, white supremacy, and systemic racism.” He and Williamson provided the teachers a handout to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” which defines white heterosexual males as the “privileged social group” and women, minorities, transgender, and LGBT people as “oppressed social groups.” {snip}

The diversity trainers then narrowed the focus to race, distributing another handout that outlines the concepts of “overt white supremacy” and “covert white supremacy.” The document claims that “lynching, hate crimes, KKK, neo-Nazis, [and] burning crosses” are “socially unacceptable” forms of white supremacy, while “education funding from property tax, colorblindness, calling the police on black people, BIPOC as Halloween costumes, not believing experiences of BIPOC, tone policing, [and] white silence” are “socially acceptable” forms of white supremacy.


Even more cynically, diversity trainers such as those at Springfield Public Schools have begun to insist on a standard of “affirmative consent.” This means that teachers must not only accept the tenets of the training—in some cases even condemning themselves as white supremacists or oppressors—but also actively vocalize that acceptance.  {snip}

Finally, after more than an hour of training, one white teacher, who was raised by a black stepfather began pushing back, asking: “Is the district saying that we should be Marxists?” {snip}


The diversity trainers, both white, were stunned. At first, Sullivan acknowledged the Marxist orientation of the diversity training program. “I know that that’s the roots, I’m aware of all that information,” he said. Then, perhaps realizing that teaching Frankfurt School Marxism in a Missouri public school could be controversial, he distanced himself: “The goal here is to take a stand against racism, it’s not to be totalitarian. . . . There’s not some big political agenda. It’s certainly not Marxism. It’s just let’s make sure that all of our kids are truly valued and celebrated.”