Manhattan Private School Issues Language Guide Exemplifying ‘Woke’ Ideology

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The Grace Church School, a private Episcopal school in Noho, Manhattan gained major press attention after they issued a 12-page guide encouraging children to use more inclusive words and terms, rather than traditional ones.

The Grace Church School, a private Episcopal school in Noho, Manhattan, gained major press attention after they issued a 12-page language guide encouraging children to use more inclusive words and terms rather than traditional ones.

Grace Inclusive Language Guide states that its purpose is to provide more inclusive language aligned with its mission and outlines the “most appropriate” terms for gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity.

For gender terms, it suggests more inclusive terms that students can use across the gender spectrum. It says, “Instead of using: ‘boys and girls, ‘guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen. “At Grace, we say, people, folks, friends.”

For terms used to describe family, the guide suggests using the words “grown-ups, folks, family guardians” instead of mom, dad, or parents. The term “was adopted” is to be used rather than the term “is adopted.” The expression “traditional family” is taboo as Grace Church School intends to “actively try and undo thoughts of a ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ family structure. “Each family is unique,” the guide states.

The school states:

“Power in America now comes from speaking woke, a highly complex and ever-evolving language.” 

In the article “The Miseducation of America’s Elites,” journalist Bari Weiss breaks down the ubiquity of “woke political ideology” ‘woke’ (or ‘wokeness’) used to promote equity and inclusion within American private schools. 

Weiss said that many people are afraid to speak up publicly against the “woke” ideology being forced upon people because they think their reputation or interests will be affected.

“The atmosphere is making their children anxious, paranoid, and insecure—and closed off from even their close friends,” Weiss said.

One anonymous father said he doesn’t have a problem with the school making greater efforts to redress past wrongs, including by bringing more minority voices into the curriculum. But, what he has a problem with is a movement that tells his children that America is a bad country and that they bear collective “racial guilt.”

A teacher in New York City put it said: “To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk.”

Another anonymous private school parent who came from a Communist country said, “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels. One concerned teacher who spoke to Weiss claimed that he was not politically conservative but was extremely concerned with the effect that the ideology was having on his students. “I started seeing what was happening to the kids. And that’s what I couldn’t take. They are being educated in resentment and fear. It’s extremely dangerous,” the teacher, who chose to remain anonymous, said.

Manhattanite mother says daughter is being taught to emphasize skin color

One wealthy Manhattanite mother of a 4-year-old daughter was concerned when her daughter started expressing the importance of drawing her skin color. The child told her mother that she learned that skin color is “really important.”

The Grace Church school introduced a 12-page language guide encouraging children to use more inclusive words and terms rather than traditional ones Image: Grace Church School – JK-8 Campus. Image: Shinya Suzuki via Flicker CC BY-ND 2.0)

Following critical race theory, the Grace Inclusive Language Guide suggests that the term Colorblind is outdated because: “No one is color blind as it pertains to race. We see the skin tones of people, and assumptions are made about how someone identifies racially.” The guide also claims that the term Caucasian is outdated because: “The correct term is White. White is a more accurate description of light-skinned people of European descent.” Critical race theory claims that it would be wrong to stop talking about race because it would reinforce white male dominance. After all, we could no longer criticize white male dominance. 

There is also a section in the Grace Inclusive Language Guide that covers “White Privilege/White Supremacy,” which states: “Privilege is best understood as the system of advantages that one has. These advantages are sometimes at the expense of another group, often due to historical discrimination… The system that maintains that privilege and power for white people is called white supremacy,” the guide states.

Policing language

After the publicity from the guidelines to use more inclusive language, the Grace School issued a statement saying that they have taught students to use language thoughtfully from day one. The document included the disclaimer, “we know that policing language demonstrates more concern for getting a community to use the right words than for cultivating a sense of belonging for its members. That is not how we do things at Grace, and that is why our Inclusive Language Guide does not ban any words.” 

The statement ends with the Head of the School boldly claiming, “if the boorish ‘cancel culture’ press wants to condemn us a newly dubbed ‘Woke Noho’ school of politeness, dignity, and respect, then I embrace it, and I hope you will too.”

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  • David Wagner is a University of Manitoba graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion in Sociology. He is interested in the psychology of religious and ideological belief and the relationship between religions and the state in totalitarian countries.