"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is Southern Poverty Law Center's Mix It Up Day Coming To Your School?

Mix It Up At Lunch Day is coming October 30th. Hundreds of schools across the county will be joining in this celebration of diversity and yours could be one of them. The idea is for kids to sit with someone new at lunch that day in order to demonstrate their tolerance for those who are different from them. Sounds harmless enough, unless you look at whose brain child this is. As part of their Teaching Tolerance project, the Southern Poverty Law Center created Mix It Up At Lunch Day and has been promoting it to schools, especially elementary and middle schools.  If there was ever anyone who understood mixing it up, it is SPLC.

One of SPLC's claim to fame is their list of hate groups.  On the list of almost 1,000 groups are many that most people would agree preach a message of hate like the KKK, various skin head and neo-nazi groups and the Institute for Historical  Review, a holocaust denier organization which was eventually forced by court order to make good on their promise to pay anyone who could come forward with proof that there were gas chambers in Nazi Germany.

Of note is the fact that SPLC also includes the New Black Panther Party on their list.  After hearing NBPP leader King Samir Shabbaz state, "You want freedom you’re going to have to kill some crackers. You’re going to have to kill some of their babies," one can understand how this group would be labeled a hate group.

But here is where SPLC shows its own ability to Mix It Up.  They call the New Black Panthers a "radical right" group.  They almost had to. They call everyone on their list a radical right organization. That enables them to label many religious and quasi religious groups as hate groups. Certainly some of them are. It is easy for the wolf to lead the flock astray. That is why we see  groups like Tony Alamo Christian Ministries on their list and several extreme Catholic groups which have been either excommunicated from the Catholic church or were never part of it in the first place.

The SPLC includes groups like the Concerned Women For America, Family Research Council and The Traditional Values Coalition on their list of hate groups. There has been a long standing feud between SPLC and the American Family Association who also appears on the list.  Much of the conflict centers around the issue of gay rights. Keep in mind this is supposed to be a list of hate groups who promote hate speech, not just groups with a different ideology. CWA and the others inclusion on this list simply confirms SPLC's bias. They are only concerned about the evil right. There are NO liberal hate groups on their list.

Interestingly, SPLC's page on Mix It Up At Lunch Day confirms their own bias. On it they state "Cafeterias are the focus of Mix It Up because that’s where a school’s social boundaries are most obvious. Breaking down these barriers can be an important step for students who don’t have many opportunities in school to interact with someone unlike them." Have these people ever stepped into a classroom? American education's literal love affair with the collaborative process puts these kids in situations where they are forced to work with someone they are not like All The Time. The lunch room is one of the last bastions where they can hang out with their friends.

SPLC laments the current environment for many students.
  • The average white student goes to a school that is more than three-quarters white.

  • One in four children in poverty attends schools with few middle- and upper-middle class schoolmates.

  • One-third of black and Latino students attend schools with 90 to 100 percent minority populations. In the Northeast, over half of black students are in majority black schools. 
In my day we called this the neighborhood school. You went to school with kids who lived around you, whose families had similar socio economic status because they could afford the houses in your neighborhood. You tended to be very comfortable with these people. SPLC is not concerned with your child's comfort.

Apparently if you live in poverty your children would be better off rubbing elbows with upper middle class kids. Proximity should endow those children with better academic outcomes and richer lives. You also have no role models in the minority community which is a tragedy that needs to be fixed by integration of the schools. Why else would you complain that there are schools that are 90-100% black? Seems like the SPLC can't help but put its biased foot in its mouth.

Its unclear whose thinking needs to be adjusted in this mixing but, given everything else that comes out of SPLC, it's probably the upper middle class kids who need to learn to stop looking down their noses at the poor kids. I hate to clue them in, but kids in general are so egocentric they couldn't be bothered to take the time to look down on anyone. They spend most of their day inwardly focused. 

The only support SPLC offers for why schools need to do this comes from sociology professor Roslyn Arlin Mickelson who noted in her [unnamed] 2011 research brief that “students who attend racially and socioeconomically diverse schools are more likely to achieve higher test scores and better grades, to graduate from high school, and to attend and graduate from college.” This NC professor has also stated that minority parents are often excluded from the informal networks that white parents use for information about courses, gifted programs and testing. Again, the information that is available at the school for any parent is somehow unavailable to minority parents because they are not part of a gossiping social clique.  And this statement is not pejorative of minorities how? They do not have the wherewithal to go get it themselves? SPLC using biased researchers to support a biased program - not a surprise.

Check if your school has registered to participate and then ask the administration if they want to participate in a program, no matter how well intended or how good it sounds, that is sponsored by SPLC. Some parochial schools as well as public schools are registered. They may not be so familiar with the sponsor of Mix It Up Day. Ask the school if the children are not regularly put with children unlike themselves in class and instead are allowed to work in cliques. More importantly, ask them if any parents have complained that there is not enough tolerance for diversity in the school. It may be true in a very few schools, but do we need to spend time fixing a problem that doesn't exist?


  1. Ironically, NOT ONE of the SPLC's top executives is a minority.

    In fact, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. M.L. King's home church in Montgomery, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of authority in its entire 41-year history.

    Given this astonishing history, it's little wonder that even its "Teaching Tolerance" program has been led by "whites only" for 20 of its 21 years.


    Who exactly do the white millionaires who run the SPLC "mix it up" with at lunch?

    Isn't it time they started to practice what they preach?

  2. SPLC is also one of the wealthiest non-profits in the country with over $225 million in assets. http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/hate-list-inc/ At least 20% of their income goes to pay for fundraising. A very small percent of their income is spent on their stated purpose of fighting hate and bigotry. Every time a school joins their program SPLC gets to claim greater grassroots support for their mission. Why would a school want to give even the appearance of supporting this group?

  3. Also the spoke of Hollywood, where Hollywood writers seemed to put a gay person on every single sit-com and at least one scene or character in every single movie - stating that wasn't right because there just are not that many gay citizens in our country by proportion. Then they spoke of the ""gay agenda" in our politics in Washington DC, in our entertainment manufacturing, at our college campuses, and claiming that the GLBT crowd was preying on adolescents who are going through their own hormonal awakenings, thus, in a way brainwashing them as they are confused about the changes in their own bodies


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