When the not guilty verdict was handed down for Kyle Rittenhouse, people seemed to lose their collective minds. What started as a self-defense trial ended with accusations of racism even though the event involved a white man who shot three other white men. To make matters worse, schools and universities across the country have reached out to students and teachers, offering counseling and group therapy for those who were “triggered” by the jury’s “anti-black” decision.
Located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, this college reached out to its students seemingly to suggest forming a protest. After stating that the justice system needed reform, the letter said:
“We – as educators, students and leaders – have a moral obligation to hold our lawmakers accountable for policies and initiatives that jeopardize the civil rights of all citizens, particularly those who have been historically marginalized.”
Continuing this theme, the letter went on, “Without continued dialogue, and the will to stand against injustice and racism, we yield to systems that jeopardize social change, our freedom and the freedom of our children.”
Oakton Community College
This Illinois college’s message was more about race-shaming than the verdict itself. The missive sent to students and faculty made a point of mentioning the color of Rittenhouse’s skin: “Others understandably feel the defendant – who is white – was afforded treatment and privileges during his arrest and trial that are often denied to People of Color …”
Then the college president and author of the letter, Joianne L. Smith, took the time to give her white readers a dressing down. She wrote:
“To my White colleagues and students, I encourage you to think critically about times your privilege may have advantaged you. Consider reflections on the ways in which your White privilege influenced the outcome of a job opportunity, legal matter, etc.
“Challenge yourself to speak out and speak up against racialized injustices. I urge you to use a trauma-informed lens and consider how legal inequities impact the lived experience of colleagues and students of Color, and reaffirm your commitment to being an ally for equity and racial justice.”
The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
This university seemed to take the Rittenhouse verdict as a personal affront. In a letter, the president and vice president wrote: “We strongly condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, despite the court ruling on November 19, 2021 … The idea that our criminal justice system is so broken as to allow racist acts of violence to go unpunished is shameful.”
The letter continued in sympathy for the “victims” and their families saying it is “heartbreaking” that they don’t get to live their lives while the “perpetrator gets to walk free.”
Newton High School
The principal of this high school claimed self-defense is not a valid excuse and used the Ahmaud Arbery trial as an example of his opinion – even though the two cases were vastly different. He wrote:
“If Kyle Rittenhouse were black, the outcome would be significantly different. Furthermore, self-defense is being used in the Ahmaud Arbery case as well. This is racism – a system that teaches people that black and brown bodies are less than others. It is no wonder then that these cases carry significant weight in our schools.”
Just days after Rittenhouse was acquitted, the white men who killed Arbery were found guilty on multiple counts, including murder – despite attempts to claim they were acting in self-defense.
And yet, the message in the educational system seems to be that white bodies are less significant, and white people need to own up to their privileged lives. Many schools offered “spaces” to reflect on the Rittenhouse verdict, one held a rally, and many more extended help to process the supposedly racist event via counseling. Even a teachers union, Elementary Educators, decided to throw in the race card with the following tweet:
“While the #RittenhouseVerdict is another painful reminder of anti-Black racism, let this be a moment to ignite action and learning for a different world. The criminal legal system doesn’t build safety and it cannot save us from white supremacist violence.”
Still, the left denies critical race theory exists in schools.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.