Teachers union gets pushback over seminar titled ‘Holding the weight of whiteness’

New York City’s teachers union not only wants to indoctrinate their students about the “harmful effects of whiteness,” they’re incentivizing it through a career benefitting seminar.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), previously led by current American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, has raised serious concerns with the promotion of a new optional online seminar.

Titled “Holding the Weight of Whiteness,” the virtual program scheduled for Monday touted itself as a course “about humility and inclusion,” but seemed entirely focused on demonizing white people who, according to the New York City Department of Education, make up less than 15 percent of the student body.

Set to be hosted by Queens-based psychotherapy consultant and “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leader” Erica Sandoval, the $25, two-hour seminar included the added benefit of two hours of continuing education credit for all licensed mental health professionals in UFT, therefore providing teachers an opportunity to advance their career and gain a higher salary through the divisive program.

The promotional material for the whiteness workshop.

Image: Cvent

“Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of how to center ourselves as a form of resistance against the harmful effects of whiteness in our lives,” the website boasted, “the organizations we work for or direct, and the communities in which we serve.”

“It will allow us to discuss how whiteness relates to privilege and identity, and how both become normalized and invisible. It will focus on key cultural themes (e.g., internalized racism, privilege, microaggressions, white identity) related to Latinx/e communities,” it further claimed.

Upon learning of the seminar, NYC Council member Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) sent a letter to the director of UFT’s Member Assistance Program Tina Puccio, according to the New York Post, and wrote, “Why is it important for employees of the New York City Department of Education to serve as a form of resistance against the effects of whiteness in their lives, the Department of Education, and the diverse communities in which they serve, which may consist of white students and families?”

Borelli continued, “To be clear, I don’t actually care what your speakers tell your members in an optional and private seminar. I care how members will implement the ‘resistance’ against these ‘harmful effects of whiteness’ when dealing with students and parents as part of their employment with the department.”

The council member wasn’t alone in his outrage as parent activist Maud Maron told the Post, “There is nothing wrong with being white, and the sleight of hand of talking about whiteness is not even a fig’s leaf worth of cover.”

“My kids have a white mom and Latino dad. This training says there is something wrong with mom and absurdly calls dad ‘Latinx’ — a word he would never use,” she expressed.

At the same time that UFT was promoting this seminar, the union was pushing back on the desire of parents to lift the current state cap on charter schools and provide more opportunities for students to get out of failing government-run schools and gain access to better-performing private competitors.

They claimed, “79% of New York City voters rejected expanding charters and siphoning money from their local neighborhood public schools,” while pro-charter organization StudentFirstNY found 64 percent of Democratic voters were in favor of lifting the cap.


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