Our children’s book Skin blames white racism

An “inflammatory” children’s book teaches two-year-olds that the concept of race was created by whites who claimed to be “better than everyone else.”

An “incendiary” children’s book distributed to schools in New York City teaches two-year-olds that the concept of race was created by whites who claimed to be “better, smarter, prettier, and deserving more than anyone else. other”.

The book Our skin was written by Harlem activist Megan Madison and Brooklyn worker and library Jessica Ralli, and published last year.

It starts with a simple discussion of skin tones, then launches into a screed that blames the idea of ​​race on the whites along with an illustration of scary looking human skulls encased in glass and sitting on shelves, New York post relationships.

“A long time ago, long before you were born, a group of whites had an idea called race. They classified people based on skin color and said whites were better, smarter, prettier, and deserved more than anyone else, “the book states.

He goes on to say “That’s not true or right at all!” with the image of a “Caucasian” man holding the “most beautiful skull”.

The book, aimed at people ages two to five, was distributed to at least one kindergarten in Manhattan, one in Staten Island and one school in Brooklyn and appears to be part of the Department of Education’s new “Universal Mosaic Curriculum.”

The DOE announced former mayor de Blasio’s plan to standardize teaching materials and “better reflect” the demographics of the system. It should start in 2023.

The tome is on a suggested reading list that parents can access through the TeachingBooks website. It is part of the “Universal Mosaic Independent Reading Collections” for day care centers created by the DOE Library Services, the site states.

Brooklyn parent leader Vito LaBella called the text “inflammatory”.

“That page alone in my mind is just preaching hatred,” he said, referring to the text on sorting people by skin color.

Mr. LaBella said at least one school in southwest Brooklyn District 20, where he is a member of the Community Education Council, received the books. The principal had been told by former school chancellor Meisha Porter that they were coming. They were supposed to be turned over to kindergarten classes, but the principal was holding back, she added.

“There were no instructions or curriculum guides with them,” said LaBella, who is seeking Republican approval to challenge state Senator Andrew Gounardes.

He said he planned to discuss his concerns about the book at the Community Education Council meeting on Wednesday.

A parent of a Manhattan preschool child saw the book at his son’s school this week in a box that read “Mosaic Curicolo”.

The father said he leafed through the book and stopped at the page saying that whites invented the breed.

“The book itself is fine and a lot of what is said in the book is productive and I think very useful in a discussion of race,” he said. “However, there is only one excerpt that I think is so damaging that it disqualifies the entire book.”

He said he would address his concerns with the principal.

“We should talk about racism, but we should talk about it correctly,” he said. “I think telling five- and six-year-olds that whites are all responsible for all racism isn’t helpful. It will be very traumatic for many five and six year olds who will blame themselves and blame their parents. “

The book’s narrative adds that “racism is also the things people do and the unfair rules they do about race so that whites get more power.”

There is no dispute that non-white groups may be racist.

Chien Kwok, a leading parent and member of the Community Education Council in Manhattan District 2, said he stumbled upon Our skin on the TeachingBooks website.

“The DOE should be sensitive that not all families will agree with the appropriate age,” Kwok said. “They need to be transparent and have a way to give up and provide alternatives that families feel comfortable with, especially at younger ages.”

An Asian-American mom from Queens asked if the book is for “a black or white audience or for all children?”

“When you see these anti-racism books, they almost always leave out Asians. It’s always talked about in a white versus black narrative – which is not what the city is – it’s a city of immigrants, “Mama said.

Elana Fishbein, head of the Pennsylvania-based group No Left Turn in Education, which opposes a “left” agenda in schools, said the book is brainwashing children and that the authors seemed to believe that parents almost have a moral obligation to have their children focus on skin color.

“No one can tell you they aren’t teaching CRT,” he said, referring to critical race theory, a subject taught primarily in colleges that argues that racism is rooted in US legal systems and policies.

The use of Our skin created an uproar in a New Jersey town last fall, where the school board eventually decided the book could only be used as part of a lesson plan and not read unsupervised.

“It shouldn’t be placed in the general classroom library,” said school superintendent Raymond González of Westfield, NJ, according to a report. “Rather, this book is best used as an interactive reading aloud in which educated professionals can skillfully present this information.”

the Our skin the authors have also written children’s books on gender and consent.

Madison, 34, is a “trainer” at the Bronx-based Center for Racial Justice in Education, a non-profit organization that contracts with the DOE to “enable educators to dismantle patterns of racism and injustice.” . You referred a reporter to the authors’ website.

There, they defend the books on the basis of age and claim that criticism was expected.

“We know that the harmful ideologies these books reject are dominant and powerful in our society … But we are not afraid. We are firmly rooted in our professional and ethical responsibilities, “they wrote.

The Brooklyn library system, where Ralli, 42, is coordinator of early literacy programs, has 56 copies of Our skin in his collection.

The DOE says the book “is not part of our prescribed curriculum,” but noted that schools can purchase books on their own.

When a book is “challenged,” the DOE said it convenes a “Materials Evaluation Committee” made up of parents, teachers, a school librarian, and others to review it. The department wouldn’t say if the book was being evaluated.

“Our public schools do not shy away from books that teach history to our students and can be used to deepen their understanding of the world around them. We value and honor our students’ perspectives and identities and provide opportunities for family voices to be heard on topics, including school book lists, ”a spokesperson said.

Additional reporting by Cayla Bamberger and Susan Edelman

This article originally appeared on New York post and has been reproduced with permission

Originally published as The children’s book Our Skin blames the racism of whites