The Calhoun School, which was awarded an initial grant of $250,000 in 2012 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create a three-part program for students on Deconstructing Racism, announces an expanded joint venture with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
In its new iteration, the new Deconstructing Racism project will develop a series of complementary documentary films, videoscribes and modules, companion curriculum, a graphic novel of The New Jim Crow
, and an interactive, social networking website to address issues of white privilege, and institutionalized racism. The project is directed to our nation’s students, as well as teachers, and parents and our nation's policy-makers.
Creative partners in the new venture include Vital Pictures (Race: The Power of An Illusion and Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?); Point Made Films (Adopted and Prep School Negro); Trilogy Films (Gideon's Army, Fair Game) and The New Press (publisher of The New Jim Crow). The curriculum development partners include The Calhoun School, Americans Who Tell The Truth and Facing History and Ourselves.
In January 2012 the W. K. Kellogg Foundation
awarded The Calhoun School an initial grant of $250,000 for Deconstructing Racism, a three-part youth-based project on issues of white privilege and institutionalized racism. The initial proposal was for a documentary film, curriculum and website. In the time since receiving the grant, a curriculum team has begun drafting a K-12 curriculum and Point Made Films is nearly finished in the casting of a dozen New York City public and private school students for the documentary film. The third piece, an interactive, social-networking website, is expected to begin development in several months.
Now, this already grand initiative has moved into a very new and far more powerful place. In October 2012, Michelle Alexander, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow, joined in partnership with The Calhoun School.
If Deconstructing Racism is viewed as a "100 Level" course building the necessary groundwork and introducing K-12 students to the narrative surrounding race, racism, white privilege and the foundational elements of institutionalized racism, The New Jim Crow is a "200 Level" course bringing high school students to the next level of understanding by learning how mass incarceration is a form of institutional and structural racism—a new caste-like system for the 21st century. Like all caste systems, mass incarceration rests on the stubborn denial of our shared humanity.
Our ultimate objective is to expose the myth of color-blindness in a society that for many, espouses a post-racial mantra. This project will, hopefully, transform conversations about race and racism and begin to aggressively, and very publicly, eradicate the vestiges of white privilege, institutionalized and systemic racism, the school-to-prison pipeline and our nation’s prison industrial complex.