New York City, NY

UFT Holding Workshop on the Harmful Effects of Whiteness

Anne Spollen

The New York Post revealed Saturday that the New York City public teachers' union, the UFT, is hosting a virtual workshop on ways to reduce the "harmful effects of whiteness in our lives" for those educators hoping to advance their professional development credentials. The online seminar titled,
"Holding the Weight on Whiteness," is to be offered virtually on Monday, March 27, from 4-6 pm. The webinar's landing page states the course "is about cultural humility and inclusion," and "will allow us to discuss how whiteness relates to privilege and identity, and how both become normalized and invisible."

"Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of how to center ourselves as a form of resistance against the harmful effects of whiteness in our lives, the organizations we work for or direct and the communities in which we serve," the union added, before advertising that "UFT members who are licensed mental health professionals" may earn two credentialed hours for completing it the seminar, which could lead to higher-paying positions."

Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli, (R-Staten Island) said he has heard from many parents and teachers who are wondering why battling against so-called “toxic whiteness” has become an issue for a school system showing such poor performance academically. In a letter Friday to Tina Puccio, director of the UFT’s Member Assistance Program, Borelli asked, “Why is it important for employees of the New York City Department of Education to serve as a form of resistance against the effects of whiteness in their lives, the Department of Education, and the diverse communities in which they serve, which may consist of white students and families?”

In the last few years, the Department of Education has been heavily criticized for pushing an agenda some say is racist. This was largely due to the distribution of a book to very young children claiming race is a concept created by white people who thought they were “better, smarter, [and] prettier” than others.

When the New York Post asked UFT spokeswoman Alison Gendar about the course, she said the union “offers professional development on a range of issues” but didn’t offer additional comment.

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Staten Island-based New York City writer following NY's migrant crisis, urban issues, lifestyle topics, human interest, and wellness. Published novelist and essayist.

Staten Island, NY

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