Racism in any form is unacceptable. So is race baiting. But judging by statements made by Gwinnett County Public School Board candidate- Tarece Johnson, the system is eaten up with systemic racism perpetrated by white people. And that can only be cured by black people who she apparently feels should be elected simply because of their race. In spite of the fact that Gwinnett County schools have consistently achieved high ratings, and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds have gone on to achieve success, Johnson apparently see everything through the lens of racial disparity.
That isn’t meant to say that racism does not exist. It does and it has been fueled in recent years as race-baiters on one side and racists on the other become more vocal and militant. However fighting one form of racism with another is no formula for harmony. It will make a bad situation worse.
It is apparent that the intent of Johnson and fellow candidates Tanisha Banks and Karen Watkins, to use race to get elected and to subsequently turn the school system into one that provides preferential treatment for students and teachers of color. In so doing, they will drive higher achieving students- of all races- from the system as the school board brings more racial discord to the classroom.
What is most concerning is Johnson’s hypocrisy. She denounces racism and divisiveness, yet issue statements that are racist and divisive. From her Facebook page-
Whether they’re qualified or not, they should be trusted and elected because they are black women? These tags are just as racist and sexist as #TrustWhiteWomen and #VoteForWhiteWomen. Calling on people to vote based on race is the height of racism.
Also posted (and later removed) by Tarece Johnson on her Facebook page-
“As black bodies drop like flies around us from physical, medical, economic and material deprivation and violence at White hands, how can we in any of our minds or metrics conclude that the Whites are alright?”
“Most of the people who want the schools open are “White” and most of the informed people who want the schools closed are Black/Brown.”
It goes on and on. Post after post of divisive words that paint black and brown people as victims while ignoring any need for parental accountability or true equity.
Tarece Johnson is all but elected. Her opposition is a write-in candidate, and that status makes him the longest of long shots to win. Tanisha Banks and Karen Watkins appear to be focused on education quality and have expressed their opinions without making anti-white racial slurs. But since Johnson, Banks and Watkins are running as a team, voters should have serious concerns that Banks and Watkins are wolves in sheep clothing, or that they will fall in line behind Johnson (who appears to be the leader of the pack) and become rubber stamps for divisive, and ultimately counter-productive policies.
Racism exists. It needs to be eliminated. But you don’t do that by replacing one form with another. The candidates mentioned above will no doubt claim that their only goal is to improve education system quality along with racial equity and harmony. The statements of the team leader say otherwise.