New York City’s public school system is serious about equity. So serious that they are removing good educators for refusing to make the new symbol of racial equity: the Wakanda salute from the ‘Black Panther’ movie.
This is the latest example of woke virtue-signaling gone wrong and a sinister outcome of the push for equity over equality.
The New York Post has reported two separate accounts of women who were let go from their teaching jobs in the New York City public school system for—what they believe was—their unwillingness to participate in woke virtue signaling.
Both veteran educators were asked to cross their arms in front of them mimicking a greeting or salute popularized by the blockbuster Marvel comic-book movie, ‘Black Panther.’ Apparently, the Wakanda salute now represents racial equity for New York City educators.
One district head, who happens to be a black and Latina woman, refused to do so during high-level meetings with other superintendents:
When Rafaela Espinal — a Dominican-American who describes herself as Afro-Latina — declined to join in, she “was admonished and told that it was inappropriate for her not to participate,”…
But when repeatedly asked to salute “Wakanda” at other professional meetings, Espinal felt the gesture “introduced a racial divide where there should be none,” said her lawyers, Israel Goldberg, Helen Setton and Domenic Recchia.
Espinal, who has filed a lawsuit, also claims she was targeted for not being black enough and following the diversity agenda.
Karen Ames, a Jewish 30-year veteran educator, says she was fired when she refused to make the Wakanda salute and for sharing her family’s Holocaust story:
Ames was grilled about her “ethnic background,” chastised by a colleague at a training session when she shared her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust in Poland, and “admonished” when she declined requests at superintendents meetings to take part in the comic book movie-inspired “Wakanda Forever” salute to “black power,” she charges in the legal filing.
At an implicit-bias workshop where superintendents were asked to tell their personal stories, Ames talked about her grandparents’ loss of two children during the Holocaust — only to have colleague Rasheda Amon tell her, “you better check yourself,” the lawsuit alleges.
“That is not about being Jewish! It’s about black and brown boys of color only,” court papers quote Amon as scolding.
Ames was effective at her job. She had reportedly been celebrated for her success in raising math scores at struggling schools.
We don’t know all of the details behind their removals, but that’s not the issue.
Playing out here is the real harm of the equity agenda that seeks to elevate one group of people above others for special treatment based on skin color. It also highlights that those who deviate from the equity orthodoxy, regardless of their color, may be targeted for reprisal.
Equity and equality are not the same thing. Over our nation’s history we have strived for equal treatment under the law and equal opportunity for all.
In a terrific Wall Street Journal op-ed today, Charles Lipson, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, explains the difference between the ideas and why equity is antithetical to free enterprise and our fundamental principles:
There is a big difference. It’s the difference between equal treatment and equal outcomes. Equality means equal treatment, unbiased competition and impartially judged outcomes. Equity means equal outcomes, achieved if necessary by unequal treatment, biased competition and preferential judging.
Those who push for equity have hidden these crucial differences for a reason. They aren’t merely unpopular; they challenge America’s bedrock principle that people should be treated equally and judged as individuals, not as members of groups.
Instead of making their case openly and honestly, advocates of equity twist and turn to avoid revealing their radical goal of re-engineering society through coercion. If the results fall short, as they inevitably would, the remedy is obvious: more money, more rules and more indoctrination.
The Wakanda symbol will not erase the educational gaps for students, but effective educators will.
Sadly, the school system is signaling where their priorities are and it doesn’t appear to be on the kids.