Q: How does a social justice organization attempt to promote unity and community among students and parents in a diverse school system?
A: Engage in a divisive misplaced guilt campaign!
Recently, a group called Students Promoting Unity and Diversity (SPUD) offered an identity politics propaganda display to parents from the Oakland County, Michigan school system to promote a social justice program in area schools. SPUD actually labels its activities that way, using the term “social justice.”
Programs with quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. and a listing of various sketches, speeches, and music to be performed were handed out. Parents were told there would be an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the program following the exhibition.
They were then presented with a series of on-stage performances centered on the oppression of minorities and women, with special focus on black women. Parents were asked to confront the “bad thoughts” in their heads, and admonished to value all labor equally. Guilt-inducing portrayals of white on black and male on female violence were paired with multicultural presentations and catchy modern music, as participants held up signs with social justice slogans on them. Slides of images taken after a church burning were shown to drive the point home.
SPUD speakers described themselves as communicators of social issues in today’s society, and presented the audience with statistics on poverty in Detroit. The group did not give any rundown of analysis, but instead spoke about race and gender, calling black women hardest hit. The audience was left to presume race and gender as the causes of black women’s alleged wage inequality.
Following that were more musical and spoken exhibitions, including one begun by a group of girls with their mouths taped shut entering the stage and lying down before getting up, dancing, and falling “dead” at the end of their act. Another performer sang a song with lyrics about guilt and shame. This was the note on which the program ended.
It ended without the promised question-answer session. Instead, the audience was directed to an area where there was food, but no literature, nor any staff.
Parents left the presentation with no information, save for the impression left by the series of odd performances they’d been shown.