Education

Gwinnett, Ga. has racist school board race in nation


Published 10/20/2020 | Reading Time 1 min 58 sec 

By BWSTimes Staff

Who would have thought a school board race could be so dirty. In Gwinnett County, Ga., political campaigns, where children should be the focus, are now squandering in the gutter and indulging in dog-whistle politics with racists undertones.

A video on YouTube titled “For Our Students, Vote Boyce, Murphy, and Puicar” recently surfaced. It’s racist propaganda at its finest, used to scare White voters away from three women of color candidates who are running to represent a majority Black and Brown attended school district. 

My first reaction when viewing the video was that it reminded me of the “Good Doll, Bad Doll” social experiment. You know, the video where the majority of children, when asked by child psychologists, which doll is bad and which one is good? The children associate the Black doll as the bad one and the White doll as being the good one?       

Unfortunately, the video I watched wasn’t a scenario but an actual campaign video-contribution produced by the Family Policy Alliance, who said:

“The direction of Gwinnett schools is on the line in this crucial election cycle. A radical slate of candidates is attempting to impose their agenda on our students, but, thankfully, there’s a choice! Vote Committee to Elect Carole C. Boyce, Mary Kay Murphy, and George Liviu Puicar to protect our students and Keep Gwinnett Strong!” 

The video attacks candidates Karen Watkins (Dist 1), Tanisha Banks (Dist 3) and Tarece Johnson (Dist 5), all women of color, stigmatizing them as “the liberal threat to our schools.”

The video accuses Watkins, Banks, and Johnson of planning to implement racial sex indoctrination, removing police officers from schools and teaching a false version of American history. But there’s more: Just when you think the video couldn’t dig deeper into the dumpster with zero factual evidence, the FPA’s propaganda-video predicts that if these three Black women are elected, Gwinnett County Schools will decay and rot from the inside out with more teen pregnancies, soft pornography in the classroom coupled with Marxism indoctrination of students — which is all patently false.

I’d like to think the FPA, Boyce, Murphy and Puicar would give Gwinnett County students’ families more credit, but all they could deliver was racialized shadiness. 

These modern-day racist tactics are the same used after Brown v. Board of Education — White people’s justification for White flight to the suburbs. It paints Gwinnett County as a majority White school district that needs to be saved from the growing Black and Brown population. 

And I wasn’t the only person of color who had objections to the video. Gwinnett County students also chimed in with their opinions about the video as well. 

Aisha, a Black Gwinnett County AP student, said:

“What I get from the video is that they want a White school system. They want everything to be White for their White children — conservative views; that Black children or non-White children shouldn’t be accommodated, especially when they say we want to learn things the ‘unAmerican way’. That means we want to learn about history, the un-whitewashed way: learn about African history, Latin history. And not learning about what White people want you to think. That video is very hurtful, and it’s racist.”

Daniel, a Latino Gwinnett County student, said, “When I first saw the video, I was shocked. They were talking so badly about them”, referring to the three candidates of color.

Daniel explained that the three candidates of color are just trying to give people of color a voice on the school board. He believes Watkins, Banks, and Johnson are right, adding, we aren’t learning about Latin American or Black history enough. 

Jason Allen, an educator and community activist, said that two of the incumbents have been on the board for decades, while Black and Brown students continue experiencing high rates of suspension. Mary Kay Murphy has served on the school board since 1997 and hundreds of Black and Brown students have been suspended under her leadership losing valuable learning time. Restorative approaches have been absent. 

If Boyce, Murphy and Puicar had a bone of integrity in their body, they would publicly condemn this wicked video and cut ties with the FPA’s propaganda team. By not condoning the organization, they are teaching the next generation how to be racist. They should also try understanding the needs of Black and Brown families and students who be their constituents if reelected.  

Furthermore, there should be a clear line of separation between church and state. And it’s quite clear that that the FPA is a bible thumping, far-right extremist organization that alienates all Gwinnett County students of color. 

Lastly, political campaigns, where children’s futures are at stake, should never flirt with racism or use dog-whistle politics. It sends the message to the next generation that it’s okay to be a racist.

Categories: Education