Too bad to check: High school sends '8 White Identities' outline to parents

I saw this floating around on Twitter and my first thought was that it must be fake. But then I came across a NY Post story about it and, incredibly, this may be real.


A city public school principal is asking parents to “reflect” on their “whiteness” — passing out literature that extols “white traitors’’ who “dismantle institutions,” education officials confirmed to The Post on Tuesday.

The “woke’’ offensive at the East Side Community School in Manhattan features a ranking list titled “The 8 White Identities,” which ranges from “White Supremacist’’ to “White Abolitionist.”

According to the NY Department of Education, the document first came from parents and then was sent out to everyone:

A New York City Department of Education official told The Post that some parents at the school, which caters to sixth- through 12-graders on the Lower East Side, first shared the material with staff.

The principal then disseminated it to every parent “as part of a series of materials meant for reflection” and as “food for thought,” the official said.

The 8 White Identities is attributed to professor Barnor Hesse, an Associate Professor of African American Studies, Political Science, and Sociology at Northwestern. Hesse has a Twitter account but his tweets are currently protected, maybe because of this story circulating. In any case, the documents passed out to parents includes the meter above as well as a more detailed description of each category:


There is a regime of whiteness, and there are action-oriented white identities. People who identify with whiteness are one of these. It’s about time we build an ethnography of whiteness, since white people have been the ones writing about and governing Others.
1. White Supremacist
Clearly marked white society that preserves, names, and values white superiority
2. White Voyeurism
Wouldn’t challenge a white supremacist; desires non-whiteness because it’s interesting, pleasurable; seeks to
control the consumption and appropriation of non-whiteness; fascination with culture (ex: consuming Black culture without the burden of Blackness)
3. White Privilege
May critique supremacy, but a deep investment in questions of fairness/equality under the normalization of whiteness
and the white rule; sworn goal of ‘diversity’
4. White Benefit
Sympathetic to a set of issues but only privately: won’t speak/act in solidarity publicly because benefitting through whiteness in public (some POC are in this category as well)
5. White Confessional
Some exposure of whiteness takes place, but as a way of being accountable to POC after: seek validation from POC
6. White Critical
Take on board critiques of whiteness and invest in exposing/marking the white regime; refuses to be complicit with the regime; whiteness speaking back to whiteness
7. White Traitor
Actively refuses complicity; names what’s going on; intention is to subvert white authority and tell the truth at whatever
cost; need them to dismantle institutions
8. White Abolitionist
Changing institutions, dismantling whiteness, and allowing whiteness to reassert itself.


This appears to be at least somewhat derivative of Ibram Kendi’s view that people are either racist or anti-racist. Hesse has simply expanded those two categories into eight categories. While I think these categories are silly, it’s Northwestern’s problem if they want to pay someone to come up with this stuff for fellow woke professors.

But we’ve crossed a line when high school principals are sending this out to parents as if this is a reasonable standard by which all students should be judged when attending junior high and high school.

Looking at the meter, it’s obvious that this isn’t just descriptive, it’s prescriptive. Anyone in those first three categories is seriously problematic, i.e. the red zone, while only people in the last three are in the green. Notice that commitment to “diversity” is in the red zone. That idea, which has long ago been absorbed into corporate culture, is now a sign of privilege and failure. Under the new scheme, if you’re not (at a minimum) exposing the “white regime” you’re not a good person.

It’s worth noting this isn’t limited to white people. It wraps in a kind of false consciousness argument by suggesting that people of color can be in the “white benefit” category. So if you’re Hispanic and you don’t like the term “Latinx” or you are Asian and don’t expect your white friends to denounce their own whiteness every time you see them, well you’re problematic too.


Not an option listed on this meter: Treating people as individuals and equals whose views and beliefs cannot be assumed based on their skin color. Welcome to the world of the woke.

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