April 17, 2021

"I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs."

"By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died. I object to the charge of systemic racism in this country, and at our school.... Furthermore, I call bullshit on Brearley's oft-stated assertion that the school welcomes and encourages the truly difficult and uncomfortable conversations regarding race and the roots of racial discrepancies....  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.... I object to the gutting of the history, civics, and classical literature curriculums.... Lastly, I object, with as strong a sentiment as possible, that Brearley has begun to teach what to think, instead of how to think. I object that the school is now fostering an environment where our daughters, and our daughters’ teachers, are afraid to speak their minds in class for fear of 'consequences.' I object that Brearley is trying to usurp the role of parents in teaching morality, and bullying parents to adopt that false morality at home.... It is abundantly clear that the majority of parents believe that Brearley’s antiracism policies are misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous.... But as I am sure will come as no surprise to you, given the insidious cancel culture that has of late permeated our society, most parents are too fearful to speak up. But speak up you must. There is strength in numbers and I assure you, the numbers are there."

From a letter by Andrew Gutmann, the full text of which is published by Bari Weiss in her Substack column, "You Have to Read This Letter/A New York father pulls his daughter out of Brearley with a message to the whole school. Is the dam starting to break?" 

Brearly is a girls' school in Manhattan. The annual tuition is $55,000. Gutmann's daughter has attended the school for 7 years, since kindergarten. He's calling on the other parents — the other parents who, presumably, have done what they could to shower privilege on their children — to rise up and object to the "anti-racism" that, he says, has permeated the school. 

"But speak up you must" — and yet, I'd predict that other parents will not speak up, but will silently agree with Gutmann, then steel themselves and endure the treatment they have been designated to receive. The one thing that makes me think parents might get it together and object is the "mandatory anti-racism training for parents" — if it really is "so sophomoric and simplistic, so unsophisticated and inane."

There has to be a point where any decent parent will say, Oh, my God, this is the crap they are feeding young minds, including my beautiful child!

And yet each of them knows — they've heard it so sophomorically and simplistically — that they will be stepping directly into the official definition of racist. So Gutmann has a lot of nerve.


There is no comments section anymore, but you can email me here. Unless you say otherwise, I will presume you'd enjoy an update to this post with a quote from your email.

FROM THE EMAIL Sydney writes: 

This section from the father's letter resonated with me:

"We have today in our country, from both political parties, and at all levels of government, the most unwise and unvirtuous leaders in our nation’s history. Schools like Brearley are supposed to be the training grounds for those leaders. Our nation will not survive a generation of leadership even more poorly educated than we have now, nor will we survive a generation of students taught to hate its own country and despise its history."

I am seeing this in my field, medicine. The medical students and residents no longer seem able (or perhaps they are just unwilling) to think critically. They seem to be operating on algorithms more and more rather than critical assessment of a patient's presentation. I don't see much critiquing of research papers anymore. The journal clubs have become social justice book clubs. The pages of our prestigious medical journals devote articles to systemic racism. Recently, an editor of JAMA was fired for questioning the premise of critical race theory. We will be in a bad way when medicine is driven by ideology.

And Heartless Aztec writes: 

As a retired inner city, refugee and immigrant teacher I'm here to tell you that all this racial bs has been going on for years in our schools — public and private — easily for a decade now. It's only now in the last year or so bubbling up for all to see. In faculty meetings we would fight back semi-openly deriding the propagandists from the downtown school board Admin building putting on the dog and pony show. We laughed under our breath at them though we were powerless to fight back in any meaningful way - especially as white teachers in a thoroughly Af-American setting.

More than once I was called into chambers in the principal's office and point blank asked if I was a "racist." Me! A person who was a past member of the NAACP, co-chair for the United Negro College fund school drive, Black History contextual studies degree, etc. I sent my daughter to Catholic schools. To have sent her to a public school in the city where I taught would have been parental malpractice.