There was an op-ed by a Legal Aid Society lawyer, a public defender, in the New York Post. These are words I never expected to write, but there you are. Strange days, indeed. The public defender, Maud Maron, is a mother, president of Community Education Council District 2 and a candidate for the City Council. And she has no intention of sacrificing her child or yours to the new fad, white self-loathing and flagellation for failure to be a good enough anti-racist.
No one is ever a good enough anti-racist.
I am a mom, a public defender, an elected public-school council member and a City Council candidate. But at a city Department of Education anti-bias training, I was instructed to refer to myself as a “white woman” — as if my whole life reduces to my race.
Those who oppose this ideology are shunned and humiliated, even as it does nothing to actually improve our broken schools.
Though facing severe budget cuts, the DOE has spent more than $6 million for the training, which defines qualities such as “worship of the written word,” “individualism” and “objectivity” as “white-supremacy culture.”
As with other heretics at the Legal Aid Society, like Cynthia Taylor or our adored Appellate Squawk, the problem wasn’t that she wasn’t progressive, left of center, deeply sensitive to racism, the need for diversity and dedicated to equal opportunity for all. She was. She is. But what she refused to do is swear allegiance and devote her existence to the book “White Fragilty.”
The administration, and many local politicians, buy into a benign-sounding but chilling doctrine called anti-racism, which insists on defining everyone by race, invites discrimination and divides all thought and behavior along a racial axis.
Many of the theories trace to “White Fragility,” a small-minded book which relentlessly insists all white people are racist and need to think about race all the time. Conveniently for its author, who charges $6,000 an hour to discuss this conundrum, there is no way to fix the situation … except with more of her expensive workshops.
Is it within the realm of possibility that a person can be sufficiently decent, such that other public defenders won’t demand her swift demise, because their support for equal protection doesn’t extent to “White Fragility” being their new bible? No. No, it’s not.
“It is obvious to anyone with any sense of racial justice that Maud is racist and openly so. She attacks efforts to end racism by claiming there is no racism,” wrote members of the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday night.
Not only is anyone who doesn’t bow to the bizarre anti-racist/racist dichotomy that makes critical theory sycophants moist a racist, but if they say so aloud, if they show concern for actually helping people despite the rigid orthodoxy of anti-racism, they are “openly” racist. In other words, question White Fragility at your peril, you racist.
But Maron is a Legal Aid lawyer, a public defender. Surely the Legal Aid Society would rush to her defense, calm the ridiculous hyperbole and unwarranted outrage, as she was clearly a supporter of equality, certainly not a “white supremacist” and a progressive backer of diversity. A few years ago, of course. Today, not a chance.
“In a recent New York Post Op Ed, the author, a public defender, takes the position that an anti-racist agenda is a chilling doctrine because it invites discrimination and that the theory of ‘white fragility’ is a ‘small minded book which relentlessly insists all white people are racist and need to think about race all the time.’ She denies the existence of structural and institutional racism. Unfortunately, the author is not alone in her view, especially those in public interest. Their position-that by the mere nature of working in public interest and being a public defender you get a pass at looking at your privilege, your role in social dominance and white supremacy.
Merely challenging the absurd and radical notion of “white fragility” is tantamount to denying “the existence of structural and institutional racism”?
This racist perspective is disgusting and results in Black and Brown people being harmed by individuals in public interest roles, who are entrusted with serving Black and Brown clients and their communities.
Not only is challenging White Fragility racist itself, but “disgusting.” And they didn’t stop there, issuing a “mandate” for all public defenders to believe in their one true religion or get the fuck out.
The mandate is a simple one. To be anti-racist, to dismantle racism here at LAS, and in every
organization, we must all recognize that white supremacy drives every policy and law, every opportunity and every advantage. For those of us who are white, it is a recognition that power and privilege has been granted merely because we are white. While you have dedicated your life to public interest, you cannot do this work effectively and fully unless and until you face that reality and own that you are part of the problem.
No longer are the lawyers of the Legal Aid Society defenders of indigent people accused of crimes (“we fight for justice for our clients, low income Black and Brown people, day in and day out,” which suggests poor people of other hues need to find another public defender since LAS doesn’t fight for them?), but now they must also be adherents of the secular religion of anti-racism.
While you have dedicated your life to public interest, you cannot do this work effectively and fully unless and until you face that reality and own that you are part of the problem. You cannot stop there, you must actively work to dismantle the systems that lend you privilege and oppress BIPOC people and communities.
The press release is signed off by the honchos of Legal Aid, such as Tina Luongo, attorney in charge of the criminal defense practice. No doubt she’ll be quitting her job any moment now so she doesn’t prevent a black or brown lawyer from taking the post, as she hands over the keys to her car and house obtained through her white privilege. After all, now that she demands the public defenders under her charge not just defend the accused in court, provided they’re of the right skin color, but that they dedicate their existence to eradicating their own white privilege. You first, Tina. You don’t want to be a white supremacist by keeping your white privileged job, do you?