To the Editor: In Support of Our School Board


I was confused by the Letter to the Editor in the March edition titled “Why I’m Suing the Albemarle County School Board,” which stated that a student was told by a teacher that she can never succeed in life because of her race. My thoughts below are offered with hope for honest reflection in our community.

As I puzzled over the letter, it seemed to me that the writer was interpreting a “non-whites still suffer unfair discrimination” message in the schools to mean either “if you are non-white, you can’t succeed,” or, to mean “the fact there are advantages that accrue to white people in this system means white people are bad.”

Either take is a distortion, apparently in service of shutting down anti-racism education.

I believe our country needs productive anti-racism efforts in order to be, as MLK said, “a community at peace with itself.” I can’t enjoy “freedom” that is only for my group. As a white person, my goal, guided by an aspiration to compassion, is to put aside any initial defensiveness that I might feel, in order to learn and shift. Just the possibility of national redemption makes me feel inspired, hopeful, and grateful.

Anti-racism education is not intrinsically anti-white, and supporting it can be done without “canceling” anyone. We are offering our kids a positive collective path forward when we teach the realities of our past, our system, and its impacts. We are sending a signal that we really do value equal rights. It could be a beautiful time of grace in our history, watching this dialogue and awareness blossom into real change.

I regret that my taxes will pay for defending against these litigants and their sponsor.* I do not believe the lawsuit is anti-racist, as the letter seemed, confusingly, to suggest. Presenting whites as the real victims of racism seems a perverse jujitsu, re-centering us as the ones who really matter. We are not actually entitled to matter more. Rather, perhaps we are deeply blessed to have a chance to participate in a moment of healing and transformation.

*Identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group

Atieno Bird


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