WASHINGTON - A public elementary school in Washington, D.C., gave children as young as 4 a lesson on "anti-racism" that asked them to identify racist members of their family.
According to a November 2021 letter from Janney Elementary School Principal Danielle Singh, students in Pre-K through 3rd grade participated in an "Anti-Racism Fight Club" presentation by speaker Doyin Richards.
"As part of this work, each student has a fist book to help continue the dialogue at school and home," Singh’s letter stated, linking to Richards’ presentation. "We recognize that any time we engage topics such as race and equity, we may experience a variety of emotions. This is a normal part of the learning and growing process. As a school community we want to continue the dialogue with our students and understand this is just the beginning."
Richards’ "Anti-Racism Fight Club Fistbook for Kids" explains that "white people are a part of a society that benefits them in almost every instance," and that "it’s as if white people walk around with an invisible force field because they hold all of the power in America."
"If you are a white person, white privilege is something you were born with and it simply means that your life is not more difficult due to the color of your skin," the "Fistbook for Kids" explains. "Put differently, it’s not your fault for having white privilege, but it is your fault if you choose to ignore it."
The "Fistbook for Kids" says anti-racism "isn’t a spectator sport" but requires "being loud, uncomfortable, confrontational and visible to ensure change is made."
A series of questions in the book asks children, "Where do you see racism in yourself? This requires true soul-searching. Be real with yourself, don’t feel guilt/shame and own it. It’s the first step in becoming an anti-racist."
Elementary school students read books at Sidwell Friends School in Bethesda, MD. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
Under a section titled, "How to deal with racism from loved ones," the book teaches children that "just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean that they’re right all of the time."
"If someone doesn’t believe that people should be treated equally based on the color of their skin, then they are the problem. Parents need to stop making excuses for that behavior if they truly believe in anti-racism," the book says. "Who in your family has racist beliefs? Do you think you can change their ways? What is your strategy for dealing with them?"
After the presentation, the school sent parents a resource link directing them to Richards’ original "Anti-Racism Fight Club Fistbook" for adults, which declares that "racism is as American as apple pie and baseball."
DC Public Schools told Fox News in a statement that the original "Fistbook" was not shared with students.
"DC Public Schools provides joyful and rigorous academic experiences for our students and is committed to advancing educational equity," the district said. "In December, a resource link with this content was shared in a parent newsletter at one of our schools. It is not part of our DCPS curriculum and was not shared with students."
Commenters claiming to be parents at Janney Elementary complained about the Nov. 30 presentation and the "Fistbook for Kids" on the "DC Urban Moms and Dads" online forum.
"Anyone else’s Kindergarten kid freaked out by an anti-racism assembly today? My kid needed to sleep with a light on and the door open tonight," one person posted anonymously. "Anyone know what specifically was talked about? My kid couldn’t relay much except that she was scared."
The district declined to answer Fox News' inquiry about the "Fistbook for Kids" and whether the Nov. 30 presentation for students ages 4-9 was mandatory.
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