A Texas teacher is out of a job after viral video showed him telling a class with Black students in it that he is a racist.
"Deep down in my heart, I'm ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one," the teacher told students at Bohls Middle School, which is about 20 miles northeast of Austin.
When a child pushed the alleged educator on the statement, he continued.
"Let me finish,” he said. “I think everybody thinks that. They're just not honest about it."
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Although the teacher hasn’t been identified, the video showed him defending his position and admitting outright that he is a racist and thinks everybody is at some level.
One student in the class said he had lost respect for the teacher. “I actually respected you for a while,” he said. “But like now?”
When another student chimed in to say he too had lost respect for the teacher, the man started to say students should have “more respect” for him, seemingly because he was honest in a way that many aren’t.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott enacted a law last year that limits what can be taught in public schools to a list of founding documents, along with some additions by women and people of color. Although it is one of many Republican-authored legislative attempts to ban ‘critical race theory’ in schools, the Texas law doesn’t even mention the framework by name.
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The legislation does, however, ban the teaching of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones' "1619 Project," which accurately asserts that “no aspect of the country” has been “untouched” by “years of slavery.” Critical race theory similarly maintains racism has an undeniable effect on the legal foundation of American society, but it is not widely taught in K-12 classrooms and is intended for graduate-level coursework.
Some social media users argued that the racist teacher’s defense aligns with critical race theory. It does not. Others argued that racists should be respected when they admit to being racists. They should not.
There is nothing brave about masking your beliefs to get a job, then telling a classroom of Black students that you think you’re better than them because you’re white. Anyone who believes that is what critical race theorists are promoting is ill-informed.
The racist teacher in question is nothing more than an example of what a white supremacist society often produces: white supremacists.
The Pflugerville Independent School District, which Bohls Middle School falls in, serves a population that is about 15.5% Black, 48.3% Hispanic, 22.8% white, and 8.5% Asian/ Pacific Islander, according to data from 2020-21.
Douglas Killian, superintendent of the district, said in a statement on Monday that the video in question does not align with its “core beliefs and is not a reflection” of the district or the “culture” at Bohls Middle. Killian wrote:
Last Friday, Nov. 11, Pflugerville ISD officials were made aware of an inappropriate conversation a teacher at Bohls Middle School had with students during an advisory class. As of Monday morning, Nov. 14, the teacher in question is no longer employed by Pflugerville ISD and we are actively looking for a replacement.
In addition to providing this video to our administrators, the video was shared to social media by some in the class and has prompted local and national media attention. We apologize to any parents whose students have been included in the video without their knowledge.
We want to reiterate that this conversation does not align with our core beliefs and is not a reflection of our district or our culture at Bohls Middle School. Pflugerville ISD and Bohls MS staff work together to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our students. The advisory discussion was inappropriate, inaccurate, and unacceptable; and this type of interaction will not be tolerated in any PfISD schools.
We apologize to our students and families at Bohls Middle School for the undue stress or concern this has caused. We have counselors and administrators available for any of our students and families who want to discuss this situation further.
We always do our best to ensure the safety of all students; we encourage them to be self-advocates and let an adult know when something is wrong, as they did in this situation. If you see something, say something.
As always, we appreciate the support of our Bohls Middle School families and entire PfISD community.
Brian Hennington, whose sixth-grader son attends the school, told NBC News he and his wife went to the school to share their concerns after seeing the disturbing footage viewed 5.4 million times on Twitter alone.
"You're not hired to bring your opinions into the classroom, especially when you have impressionable minds," Hennington said. "Those kinds of exploratory conversations, that's for the parents to expose their kids to."
Kwame Sarfo-Mensah, a middle school math teacher who has worked in Philadelphia and Boston, tweeted: "Rather than giving more attention to the racist white teacher in Texas, I want to applaud the young men who called out the teacher’s BS and questioned his racist views. Their critical consciousness was refreshing to see and gives me hope for what’s possible."
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