Parents at a Washington, D.C., elementary school were livid after the school shared an "Antiracism Fight Club" guidebook that asked them to evaluate their own racism and advocate removing police from schools.
Janney Elementary School hired "antiracist" activist Doyin Richards to host an online discussion for parents in November, the Daily Caller first reported. Following the event, parents received copies of what Richards calls a "Fistbook," a name inspired by the combative nature of the activist’s approach to fighting racism. The "Fistbook," a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, provides definitions for white privilege and white supremacy and asks parents where they see racism in their "daily life" and in themselves.
The parents-only webinar was followed by a separate event for students that left some young kids traumatized, according to anonymous posts on an online message board.
"Anyone else’s Kindergarten kid freaked out by an anti-racism assembly today?" one parent posted on November 30. "My kid needed to sleep with a light on and the door open tonight. Anyone know what specifically was talked about? My kid couldn’t relay much except that she was scared."
Another parent said the materials "other-ize" his child’s minority role models.
"As far as I’m concerned, all this serves to do is other-ize the POC [people of color] they love and look up to, assign guilt where none should exist on a child, and divide another American generation along lines of color," the parent said.
The parent questioned whether such programming is appropriate for kids and if it’s the "best use" of school time and funding.
"But at Janney, you keep your mouth shut and your virtues signaled," the parent said.
"Antiracist" activists like Richards have grown increasingly popular since the death of George Floyd in 2020, and many have successfully turned their advocacy into a lucrative business. Activists such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo often charge hefty fees for speaking appearances or to host programs like Richards’s "Antiracist Fight Club," which asks participants to interrogate their own biases. Richards claims to have conducted more than 300 "antiracist" workshops and trained 36,413 "new anti-racists in the world" since July 2020. It is unclear how much Richards charges per workshop.
The "Fistbook" defines racism as a "political, economic, or social system in which a dominant race uses its power and influence to oppress others of different races." Minorities "cannot be racist" because "there is no construct in America where we hold power or influence," the book states. The book also includes a flowchart for "Approaching BIPOC," which walks through what to do when a white person offends a minority person.
Richards provides a list of tangible steps for parents and teachers to make their kids’ school "as anti-racist as possible." Parents should "fight to get cops out of schools" and "fight to get rid of standardized testing." Schools should "teach the TRUTH" and resist "pressure from parents or outsiders" who "have no impact on educating our kids on what really happened in American history."
"Even though racism is a problem that white people ultimately need to solve," the book says, "it’s important to let BIPOC take the lead when interacting with them in talks about racism."
Students received another version of the "Fistbook" with lessons on how to confront racism from their family, according to the Caller. "Even though they love you and are older than you, they can be wrong," the document said.
Richards and school officials declined to comment. The Caller reported that Richards charges between $10,000 and $15,000 for speaking appearances.
In addition to his "antiracist" contract work, Richards writes columns for Slate. In an interview with USA Today, Richards touted his "antiracist" lessons for parents, which he said are "not for the faint of heart."
Richards’s appearance is part of a larger "antiracist" push at Janney Elementary. The school’s website directs parents to teach children about racism using materials from Teaching Tolerance, the educational arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. The website also links to a list of 100 "race-conscious" things to say to children to "advance racial justice."