The Racial Politics of Crossroads Ministry at Guilford County Schools in North Carolina
May 26, 2005

An outfit called "Crossroads Ministry" has been cashing in on the diversity fad by supplying "anti-racism training" to teachers employed by schools in Guilford County, North Carolina, as we learn from the News & Record article Confronting racism through workshops by Jennifer Fernandez. The Ministry -- we allow "ministries" in our public schools these days? Why has no one told me about that? Anyway, the Ministry got $45,000 from the Guilford County School District for supplying about 300 teachers from the district with "anti-racism training." That "training" focuses on the concept of "institutional racism," as described in the article:

"We explain that the history and structure of institutes creates advantages for white society and disadvantages for communities of color," Crossroads executive co-director Chuck Ruehle said, defining institutional racism.

The training isn't about individuals and how they act, but rather how society has been structured, he said.

I am willing to grant some credibility to the topic of institutional discrimination. For example, we have a tradition of employer-paid health insurance in the U.S.A. But if you're in your forties or above, such insurance costs employers more money. Thus, it can be hard for older people to get jobs. A tradition of individuals paying for their own insurance would make older people more employable.

In the News & Record article, there is nothing specific like my above example. I admit, my example is arguable, and that's part of my point: You can see the point I'm making and argue against it, if you like. We could have a reasonable conversation on an issue of public policy and cultural habits. In the article, the most specific point is:

For example, history books talk about Columbus "discovering" the New World. But Native Americans would say their land was invaded, Crossroads trainers say.
Hey, fer sure! I mean, like, DUH!! Not exactly a breathtakingly new perspective! Hell, I think we're being invaded now by Mexicans. I have a great deal of empathy for the Native Americans of yesteryear.

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I've read about these kinds of things for a long time. Here's what's going on: Some dork goes into business putting on "anti-racism" shows of one kind or another and rakes in piles of money from businesses and schools. Different shows have different hooks. The hook for Claude Steele is "stereotype threat." For Tim Wise, it's "white privilege." For Crossroads Ministry and similar outfits, the hook is "institutional racism."

Once the "hook" is figured out, the next question is: How do you drum up business? First you appeal to individuals. Get some quality leads from left-wing, anti-racist mailing lists and offer some cheap seminars. Now you have prospects.

Spare no effort in putting on a good presentation to these people! You must convince them that you and your organization using your hook are the key to Fighting Racism and Injustice Everywhere!

A truly committed convert might run for seat on the Board of Education or, at the very least, write letters to the Board urging that they employ your services for "training" the teaching staff. If they do their work well, all you have to do is show up some day, close the deal, put on your show and enjoy some prosperity!

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While going over the article, I made a drawing illustrating the involved groups and individuals and the connections between them. It is a worthy exercise, especially if you are new to the study of "anti-racism." But too much interest in all the interlinkages might obscure a simple fact: What the Guilford County Board of Education is doing is profoundly wrong. The "training" is political indoctrination. Public moneys are being diverted to support entrepreneurs and political activists. Superintendent Terry Grier's argument, as explicated in the article, that the "district is more diverse" and therefore more in need of training is a pathetic justification for his plan to spend even more public money on such garbage.

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Here are a few links to additional commentary on the "anti-racism" industry:

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Final point: in some threads of American mythology, the crossroad is where one goes to sell one's soul to the Devil. Something to think about in connection with "Crossroads Ministry!"

 
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