Amazon spent $5,000 to give away hundreds of copies of a prominent “anti-racist” book to Virginia public school students after the district declined the corporation’s offer of free Kindles or other equipment.
Initially, Amazon reached out to administrators at Arlington Public Schools with a pitch to provide the school with free Kindles as part of the city’s “NeighborGood” program, reported the Washington Free Beacon, which saw copies of the emails between the company and APS.
Arron Gregory, director of diversity and inclusion at APS, declined the offer, instead asking Amazon to spend $5,000 to distribute 500-600 copies of leading “anti-racist” author Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.”
It should be noted the “NeighborGood” initiative is a program to donate $100,000 in total to schools and other institutions that “empower black voices and serve black communities,” according to the Beacon.
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Amazon complied with Gregory’s request and paid an additional $10,000 to have Kendi’s coauthor, Jason Reynolds, speak to APS students.
The emails were first revealed by Asra Nomani, vice president of Parents Defending Education, the watchdog group that obtained copies of the correspondence via a public records request. She condemned APS and Amazon’s prioritization of “anti-racism” as students come out of a very difficult education season during the pandemic as “shortsighted.”
“Instead of donating Kindles and hot spots to students in Arlington Public Schools, Amazon chose to spread the controversial ideology of critical race theory,” she said. “The shortsighted decisions during a pandemic, with so many students vulnerable, reflect the national crisis of school districts circumventing parents to indoctrinate students — in this case, with the help of corporate America.”
APS is not the only school system under fire in Virginia.
In May, a mother of a student in Loudoun County Public Schools in northern Virginia condemned school board members for embracing “racist” and “abusive” critical race theory.
“Let me educate you,” said the mother, who is black. “An honest dialogue does not oppress. An honest dialogue does not implement hatred or injustice. It’s to communicate without deceiving people.”
She went on to suggest critical race theory is akin to “a tactic used by Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan on slavery many years ago to dumb down my ancestors so we could not think for ourselves.”
Just a few weeks ago, the same school district, LCPS, suspended physical education instructor Tanner Cross for saying during a school board meeting that he would not address students by their “preferred pronouns” if they don’t correlate with their biological sex.
“I love all my students, but I will never lie to them, regardless of the consequences,” he said in late May. “I’m a teacher, but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl, and vice versa, because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child. It’s abuse to a child. And it’s sinning against our God.”
A judge reinstated Cross in early June, telling LCPS it was “unconstitutional” to suspend the P.E. teacher over his sincerely held religious beliefs, calling the district’s handling of the situation “vindictive.”