JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle art teacher tells kids ‘peace’ is ‘racist’ and Trump is divisive

Oct 12, 2020, 8:21 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2020, 5:33 am

A Seattle art teacher told her eighth graders that the concept of peace is “racist” and that President Donald Trump is divisive. She even confessed that some of her “racist” art projects are a result of her white privilege.

The rambling lectures offer another glimpse into how a teacher’s political beliefs are inserted into a classroom of captive students. It also shows the pernicious nature of “woke” culture where a well-intentioned teacher has been taught to believe she’s a racist when she’s not.

Had it not been for the remote classroom and an annoyed 13-year-old student who recorded the lectures, this issue may never have come to light.

Rantz: Video shows Tacoma teacher scold 10-year-old for admiring Trump

Seattle teacher slams Trump

Perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked that art teacher Suzanne Wakefield dislikes Trump and sees art through a social justice lens.

TOPS at Seward K-8 doesn’t hide its progressive political beliefs, nor a willingness to signal their virtue. On their homepage, for example, the school “acknowledge[s] that we gather on the stolen traditional land of the Coast Salish Peoples.”

Wakefield’s wokeness was on full display last week during an eighth grade art class. She tasked students with creating a pen and ink drawing that incorporates the theme of peace. It got her thinking that Trump is standing in the way of peace.

“Our country is divided, our leader is pushing that, he’s not an advocate for peace, our leader, or unity like Obama was,” Wakefield told her students. “Unity and peace, people coming together, which is really hard to do because there’s so many equality issues and injustice happening that people are fighting against.”

Wakefield went on to quote the lyrics to the over-rated “Imagine” by John Lennon.

The recording ended with the teacher issuing a mixture of inspiring messages (“fight for the things you believe in”), and downers (“it can be kind of depressing thinking of the fact that we’re pretty far from peace”).

You can hear the exasperated student sigh loudly on the recording.

Seattle art teacher says her art projects are ‘racist’

Wakefield also delivered a meandering stream of consciousness where she says she’s giving out racist material to her students.

“I might have been coming from a racist perspective,” Wakefield confessed of her assignment on peace. (Note: She wasn’t, in fact, coming from a racist perspective.)

Though it doesn’t appear anyone asked, she went on to share her beliefs in what could be described as the speech equivalent of a Jackson Pollack painting:

I believe that peace can only happen when we have equality and justice. We don’t have that. There’s groups of people that peace is like completely out of their realm. How can you have peace when we’re having like, just for an example, equal rights, human civil rights battles because a lot of groups are not treated equally and that’s really coming across.

My perspective is coming from a white privilege. I’m a white person and I’ve been conditioned and I’m trying to un-condition myself. But I just wanted you guys to know that if you believe in peace, it could mean lots of different things. But I also believe that peace is really not possible without equality and justice and that’s why you can have a peaceful protest and try to protest what’s going on in the world. But how can you feel peace when you’re a group from a minority or something that’s been oppressed and does not have the same privileges as white people do, ya know?

To summarize the wordy diatribe: Peace isn’t possible when people are oppressed.

But peace is also racist

Wakefield admits that she may inadvertently offer racist projects to her students. (Note: She doesn’t offer racist projects.) Indeed, the whole concept of peace is racist when you think about it:

I might give you guys things sometimes that might be kinda racist and I’m admitting it and I want to talk about it sometimes because it infiltrates every part of our life, OK? And, you guys, there are people that do not have white privilege in our world, ya know? And so, I came from a place that had privileges that other people don’t have, you know?

So, I recognize that might have been a racist idea if you looked at it like, ‘Oh, peace is this cool thing that everybody can have, ya know? It’s beautiful, it’s lovely.’ I mean, it is kind of a vision but it also might be different depending on your perspective so, yeah, I just wanted to kinda clear that up … the other thing was, I’m trying not to show you guys the art history that I learned, which is really coming from a European, euro-centric ‘white supremacist’ point of view.

For the record: Her project wasn’t racist. No reasonable person would conclude otherwise. That’s a big part of the problem with progressive concept of wokeness.

She’s not a racist, but she’s indoctrinating students

Radical progressivism believes that white people are inherently racist, even if they don’t know it. The only way defeat the bias is to accept it and then promote far-left policies meant to destroy the systems of white supremacy that other racist white people put into place.

This is Wakefield’s view to have — if it’s an accurate summary of her beliefs. I feel bad for her because I don’t think she’s a racist; she’s just been, to borrow her term, conditioned into thinking it. Many well-intentioned, good-hearted progressives have adopted a belief that they’re “problematic” and have been guilted into pursuing the political agenda of radicals. Not all progressives think like this, but too many do.

Regardless of her views or intention (which I don’t think are nefarious), she has no right or responsibility to thrust them onto her art students. They don’t need to know her views on white privilege nor Trump. In fact, they shouldn’t know them.

In Seattle, I imagine there’s more of a permissive attitude when it comes to issues like these. I expect they’re driven by a shared worldview with Wakefield. But would Seattle parents and students celebrate a teacher promoting Trump or saying white privilege doesn’t exist? They shouldn’t.

Personal political views have no place in the classroom. But if parents are OK with their own politics being shared in the classroom, I hope they understand they empower other teachers to do the same. And some teachers, much to the dismay of progressive parents, are conservatives.

Wakefield, nor a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools, responded to requests for comment.

What’s the point of highlighting this?

So what’s the point of doing another story about a teacher’s conduct? It’s a valid question I ask before I tackle a story like this.

Should she be fired or even disciplined? Not at all. Should she hear from angry parents? Not unless they have a kid in the class. I hope you’ll refrain from emailing this teacher.

The point of this story, and the ones to come, is two-fold: 1) get parents more generally aware of the bias in the classroom so they can have conversations with their kids; and 2) get teachers more generally aware of how they’re letting their political views interfere with the main goal of teaching kids how to express themselves rather than tell their students what views to express.

There’s no doubt that some teachers intend to indoctrinate their students. These teachers should be called out and schools need to reprimand them. I have a few examples of this behavior forthcoming.

But there’s also no doubt that some teachers probably don’t realize that’s what they’re doing. I think intent matters, even if the end result is a student who is being indoctrinated. It matters because if someone’s unaware of what they’re doing, you can almost certainly correct the behavior and make it a teachable moments. Even teachers need those teachable moments. That’s what should happen here.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook.

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Rantz: Seattle art teacher tells kids ‘peace’ is ‘racist’ and Trump is divisive