(RNS) — Campbell Union High School District in San Jose, California, has come under fire for offering teachers an equity resource guide that includes the Hoodoo practice of “hexing” as a way of expressing their thoughts about racial justice.
The majority of the links on the district’s resource site lead to external news articles, historical content, book suggestions and non-profit support groups working in the fields of social justice and civil rights.
“We want to engage with our community and take the necessary steps to address systemic racism and injustice in our schools,” the district’s Equity Resources webpage reads. “We hope to have open conversations and communication with our parent, student, and staff community to reinforce the importance of this work and the ongoing efforts it will take.”
One of the links on the page points to a public Google drive, created in 2018, whose contents focus on confronting police brutality. The document causing the controversy is buried in the drive’s main collection of 45 documents.
Titled “Writing Prompts on Police Brutality and Racist Violence,” the offending document was written by The Dark Noise Collective, a “multiracial, multi-genre (art) collective,” according to its Facebook page. Members of the collective included poets Fatimah Asghar, Franny Choi, Nate Marshall, Aaron Samuels, Danez Smith and Jamila Woods.
Among the prompts, which include writing a poem and making lists of “interactions with systems of violence/opposition” and “people who are no longer with us who you wish you could talk to,” is the recommendation that, “Hexing people is an important way to get out anger and frustration.”
It goes on to suggest making “a list of specific people who have been agents of police terror or global brutality. This list can be wide-ranging, from small micro-aggressions to larger perpetrators (i.e., people who say ‘all lives matter’ to the police officers who arrest nonviolent protestors to George Zimmerman).”
The prompt ends asking the reader to write their own hex poem to “curse that person.”
On Monday (Dec. 6), Spencer Lindquist, an intern at the conservative magazine The Federalist, published an article criticizing the district’s entire equity program, including the hex prompt, and warned of the educational system’s “descent into leftwing radicalism.”
Lindquist accused the district of teaching students “how to put a curse on those who say, ‘all lives matter.’”
Since the publication of Lindquist’s essay, the link to the Google drive, along with the collective’s document, has been taken off the school district’s main equity resources page. But the Google drive and all its contents, including the writing prompt document, are still available to the public by direct link.