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NYC Public Schools and Our Skin

Teachers in PS 158 read first grade students the book entitled Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race. Our Skin teaches that “white” people invented racism in order to “justify slavery, colonialism, and genocide” and seek to “get more power” and to be “treated better than everyone else”; only “white” people commit racist acts; and the racism of “white” people “is all around us” and “baked into the culture of the United States.” FAIR Legal wrote a letter to the school acknowledging that while there can be no question of past and present injustices committed in this nation, instruction that attempts to remedy prejudice should not itself further prejudice or disregard the civil rights and individuality of others. The Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state entities (including public schools) from treating individuals differently or stereotyping them because of their skin color.