Affinity Spaces Are Discriminatory

The Wellesley Public Schools have begun segregating people based on race. The administration claims that this separation is a consequence of holding “affinity spaces,” which are supposedly safe spaces where people who are “alike” (i.e., have a shared identity) can come together to feel safe and secure so that they can freely express themselves. However, before the landmark Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the court held that having schools for different races was illegal and that separate was not equal, America called this practice segregation. And it was not considered a good thing.

Since then, as a society, our goal was to have everyone be Americans — not black Americans, or white Americans, or Latin Americans, or Chinese Americans, or pick-your-ethnicity Americans. We wanted to encourage everyone to look at each other as fellow human beings, to treat each other as we wanted to be treated, and to support one another as fellow Americans. But the schools’ administration does not support that path. Instead, it wants to separate people by their races, religions and other immutable characteristics. It wants to move backward, going back to a time in our country’s history which is considered shameful and immoral.

How can people of all identities learn from others what their feelings/fears/emotions are about a variety of topics if they are not permitted to share the same space as the others? The whole idea of going to school is to learn! If people are separated they are not permitted to learn from each other. This creates an atmosphere of fear of one another — of uncertainty as to how to approach people of different identities. For example, sometimes people of a different identity are afraid to approach a group who identifies differently because they are afraid they will offend them by saying something wrong. How can they learn how to do be inclusive and how to approach others if they are separated from the other groups and separated from hearing what the others think, how and what they feel, and what they may find offensive? All segregation does is encourage people to stay in their own identifiable group. Is that what we want? We thought, as a community, we wanted diversity and inclusion.

The administration tells us that we shouldn’t be concerned about these groups and the segregation of the children. They tell us that this method is backed by evidence and that it is not discrimination. Of note, though, no evidence has been provided to back up the administration’s claims. If one researches the evidence to support affinity groups, one finds that there is literally no true evidence. There is simply the talking point that evidence exists. In other words, affinity group supporters hide behind the belief that if something is said often enough other people will believe it and not question its truth.

Because we do not support discrimination of any kind, we have questioned that truth. However, the administration refuses to engage in discussion on the topic or to provide the requested information. Instead, it summarily dismisses parents’ questions. If the superintendent and DEI director say it is isn’t discriminatory, apparently, we are just supposed to believe them because they are “doctors.”

At a recent webinar about the DEI initiatives at the schools, a parent said that their child, who is white, has two Asian cousins and wanted to attend the affinity space last winter in order to show support for their cousins. However, the child believed they could not attend since a teacher had told white students they were not welcome. Hence, that student felt excluded. Dr. Charmie Curry responded that the school had not excluded the white student and that no white student was turned away from the “healing space.” It may be very well true that no one was turned away, but that is only because the students were told not to show up at all. They obeyed the direction of the authorities and did not even try to attend.

With regard to that event, a teacher had sent an email to her students which read, in pertinent part, the following: “*Note: This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and Students [sic] of color, *not* for students who identify only as White. . . . If you need to know more about why this is not for White students, please ask me!” If you were a white student, would you think you were permitted to attend the event? If you were an independent and objective reader of that email, would you think that the school was engaging in a discriminatory racial practice? Try reading it in reverse: “This is a safe space for our white students, *not* for students who identify as BIPOC. If you need to know more about why this is not for students of color, please ask me!” This is racial discrimination. Just because the administration claims it is not discrimination, does not mean it isn’t. It is what it is.

In fact, in another instance, an affinity space was held for WPS staff members who identified as BIPOC. A white staff member wrote to Dr. Curry to ask her if she was allowed to attend. Dr. Curry replied to her that she was not. Clearly, the school is excluding people based on race, regardless of its claims to the contrary.

We want our children to be one student and school community. We do not want them separated by color, religion or ethnic origin. We want all to come together. They cannot do that when they are segregated. We must stop this backward practice so that our children will know each other, care for one another and support each other. That cannot happen if they are kept apart.

Wellesley Concerned Parents
is seeking your help to stop the schools from segregating our children based on color or other immutable characteristic. We want to move forward — not backward.

We request that the Wellesley School Committee mandate the cessation of WPS’ segregation policies.

Please sign the petition today!

If you are not sure about speaking out, please continue to read more about the administration’s segregation and affinity space policies.

Join our Cause Today

Help us to stop segregation at the Wellesley Public Schools!

Goal: 500

Total Signatures: 0

Deadline: March 1, 2022

Remove Affinity Spaces

This petition is now closed.

End date: Mar 01, 2022

Signatures collected: 0

Signature goal: 500

0 signatures

Signature goal: 500

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Racial discrimination is something that the vast majority of Americans and all members of our concerned parents’ community agree does not belong in OUR hearts and minds nor in the hearts of our children.

Wellesley Concerned Parents

Learn More About Affinity Spaces