Virginia school district nixes video on race after criticism

(AP) -- A school district in Virginia has decided not to use a video about race and affirmative action after it made students uncomfortable and drew criticism from parents who called it "white guilt."

The video was shown at Glen Allen High School during two assemblies for Black History Month and depicts several runners on a track, with black runners facing insurmountable obstacles while white runners are unimpeded.

"While we as educators do not object to difficult and constructive conversations about American history and racial discourse past and present, we understand why many people feel this video in particular was not the best way to deliver such an important lesson," Henrico County Superintendent Patrick C. Kinlaw said in a statement Wednesday.

Don Blake's granddaughter attended the assembly.

"They are sitting there watching a video that is dividing them up from a racial standpoint. It's a white guilt kind of video," Blake told WWBT ( "I think somebody should be held accountable for this."

The four-minute video is titled "Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race." It was created for the African American Policy Forum.

Luke Harris, co-founder of the group and an associate professor of political science at Vassar College, told The Washington Post that the video was produced for "elementary and secondary schools or in college studies courses."

"We found that the video has a huge impact on the people that we're showing it to," he told the newspaper ( "Most of us know very little about the social history of the United States and its contemporary impact. It was designed as a tool to throw light on American history."

A phone call to the group from The Associated Press was not answered and voicemail was full. An email was not immediately returned.

Administrators across the district have been instructed not to use the video, said school board chairwoman Michelle Ogburn in a statement. She apologized to those who were offended.

"In addition, steps are being taken to prevent the use of racially divisive materials in the future," Ogburn said.

The video comes four months after a student mistakenly played a song over the public address system before a football game that was a racist parody of the "DuckTales" theme song.


This story has corrected the TV station attribution to WWBT.

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