Seattle School District Accuses U.S. of 'Spirit Murder' Against Black Students

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December 18, 2020

Seattle Public Schools held a teacher-training session where it asserted that the U.S. education system is responsible for committing "spirit murder" against black students. 

The school district's critical race theory training, according to documents released Friday by City Journal contributing editor Christopher Rufo, instructed white teachers to recognize their "considerable power and privilege." A slide on "building community" listed bullet points for teachers to discuss, including "spirit murder"—a term defined as the murder of "the souls of black children every day through systemic, institutionalized, anti-black, state-sanctioned violence."

Other slides instructed white teachers to "bankrupt [their] privilege," acknowledge their "thieved inheritance," and "commit to the journey" of anti-whiteness even if their "lizard brain" makes them fearful of having a conversation about racism—"or any other kind of '-ism.'"

A later slide asked participants to identify their "triggers" based on "one or two" of their identities and think of ways in which they were "anti-racist" outside of the classroom. 

After months of civil and racial unrest this summer, school districts across the United States implemented training on "anti-racism" and critical race theory—the idea that U.S. law and society are inherently racist.

San Diego's public school district required anti-racism training for teachers, according to documents uncovered earlier this month, during which they were told to confront their privilege and admit they are racist. This summer, a Virginia school district used a framework from Teaching Tolerance, the educational arm of the liberal nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, to develop an "anti-racist" curriculum for elementary students. 

President Donald Trump banned critical race theory training at federal agencies in September.