New York’s private schools are attacking white privilege. This has not been easy.
An administrator, Hugo Mahabir, whose family has roots in Trinidad, blocked this. He wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Rossi that Mr. Loury’s argument – presented to the Faculty of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – “rings hollow” and that to give students a conservative view of black people on the subject. race could “confuse and / or inflame students.” âMr. Mahabir did not respond to requests for comment.
The transcript of the February session with Mr. Rossi’s White Affinity Group revealed a tense and in-depth discussion, with teachers and students found on either side of a variety of issues. Towards the end, Dean of Student Life Ilana Laurence thanked: âAs uncomfortable as Mr. Rossi may have put a lot of people here, I firmly believe that our conversation would never have been so rich and stimulating.
This was supported by consultant Emily Schorr Lesnick, who led the affinity session. At a faculty meeting a few days later, she noted that Rossi and his fellow teachers had facilitated an intelligent discussion.
âI’ve been in a lot of spaces with adults, with students around anti-racist work,â she said, where whites âjust say things and do whatever is necessary was not that space, and I’m so grateful. âMs. Schorr Lesnick, who is Caucasian, did not respond to a request for an interview.
This air of congratulation dissipated. Soon Mr. Rossi spoke with Mr. Davison, the principal of the school, about the dark shape of his future. He secretly recorded this conversation.
He offered a surprise. âThe point is, I agree with you that there has been demonization,â Davison told the teacher. “I also have serious doubts about some of the doctrinal things being debunked at us in the name of anti-racism.”
Mr Davison said he feared students would feel ashamed because of their race. “We demonize whites because they are born,” he said, later adding, “We use language that makes them feel less than, for nothing that they are personally responsible.”