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‘Merit,’ ‘individualism’ are rooted in ‘whiteness,’ according to ‘anti-racist’ training reportedly required for LA teachers, staff

Concepts such as “merit” and “individualism” are rooted “whiteness” and must be “challenged,” according to required “anti-racist” training for teachers and staff in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Fox News reported.

What are the details?

The cable network said the L.A. school district required all employees to take part in “implicit/unconscious bias training” from Tyrone Howard, a critical race theory advocate and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, before the 2021-2022 school year.

Fox News said it obtained training materials through a California Public Records Act request and that it instructed teachers and staff to work toward being “anti-racist” by challenging whiteness at school — for example, through concepts such as “merit” and “individualism.”

“This idea that white is the standard, white is the norm, white is our default has to be challenged,” Howard said in the training video, according to the cable network.

For example, merit or meritocracy “assumes that each person operates and achieves based on his or her own personal capacity,” the training handout reads, Fox News said.

“It incorporates the notion that the work put forth, the effort invested, explains why some groups and individuals do well and others do not,” the materials also said, according to the cable network. “It does not consider historical factors or account for opportunities, advantages, and privileges to which some groups have access both historically and in the present.”

“The idea of meritocracy, I think we have to challenge that because we have to recognize that some groups have had much more opportunities, some groups have had far more advantages, and some groups have certain types of privileges that other groups have not had,” Howard added in the video, Fox News said.

The cable network — citing the training handout — said individualism “proposes that each person is responsible for his or her outcomes. It is very much tied to merit, wherein group responsibility and accountability are not goals. Personal success and achievement are the goals. This belief operates from a survival-of-the-fittest approach that stresses singular pursuit and accomplishment.”

Howard also said in the video that “the notion of individualism runs counter” to many LAUSD students’ “own cultural norms, which say ‘it’s not about me, it’s about we,'” Fox News continued.

In addition, the training handout discusses dismantling the “myth of meritocracy” by outlining particular “microaggressions,” such as the statements, “Everyone can succeed in the society if they work hard enough” along with “men and women have equal opportunities for achievement,” the cable network said.

LAUSD employees who took the training also were required to “identify the specific ways the constructs of privilege, whiteness, merit, and individualism may be present in your setting” and “determine the immediate changes you will personally make, small or large, to promote increased racial and cultural sensitivity, inclusiveness, and awareness in your work,” Fox News said.