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A school in Texas asked a black principal to remove a picture of him kissing his white wife. The society then described it as the “boogeyman” critical race theory.

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A man in a suit and tie smiles at the camera: Dr.  James Whitfield says residents demanded his removal because they believed he was promoting the belief that whites are inherently racist.  Courtesy of James Whitfield

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Doctor. James Whitfield says residents demanded his removal because they believed he was promoting the belief that whites are inherently racist. Courtesy of James Whitfield

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  • Doctor. James Whitfield mentioned in a Facebook post that his school district once asked him to remove a photo showing him kissing his wife.
  • He told Insider that this was just the start of an ongoing campaign of harassment from local residents.
  • At a tense public meeting in July, residents accused Whitfield of promoting a “systematic racism plot” and called for his removal.
  • See more stories on the Insider Business page.

On the day he was appointed principal of a middle school in Texas, Dr. An email to James Whitfield from a resident of his school district was forwarded pointing to a photo of him kissing his wife on the beach in Mexico, where the couple celebrated their 10th anniversary. Whitfield is black and his wife is white.

According to Whitefield, in May 2019, the school district forwarded the email, which read, “Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want as an example for our students?” and asked him to remove the photo from his Facebook profile.

“I felt little, unimportant, and underappreciated as an employee,” he told Insider in a phone interview.


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Whitfield called the matter up in a Facebook post on July 31. The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District said in a statement Monday that it had requested that Whitfield be provided with a “slick transition” to his unused role and “has absolutely nothing to do with race.”

Whitfield eventually set the photo to private. But he told Insider that the request was just the start of what he believes is an ongoing campaign of harassment against him by residents of his school district who believe he is promoting the idea that whites are inherently racist.

Since Whitfield’s appointment as Principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in the spring of 2020, making him the first black person to lead the school in its 25-year history, he said community members have repeatedly asked the school board to investigate and even expel him. Colville, a city in Tarrant County outside of Dallas and Fort Worth, is over 90% white.

Whitfield’s opponents focus their anger on critical race theory, an idea that originally arose from legal study arguing that racism continues to influence the legal system and other modern institutions in ways that perpetuate discrimination and oppression of people of color. In September 2020, then-US President Donald Trump issued an executive order describing concepts such as critical race theory as “offensive and anti-American” and banning any diversity and inclusion training containing such “divisive concepts” from federal contracts.

After Trump’s forbid, states, including Texas, enacted a series of legislation against racial criticism of race theory that distorts the concept to limit how history, race, and current events are taught in public schools. Outrage at teachers discussed police brutality, white privilege and systemic racism in the context of current events at school board meetings across the country, including in the Whitfield area.

“They think I’m a CRT bogeyman,” Whitfield said of his opponents. “My position is causing fear in the hearts of some people who would prefer things to go back to how they were prior.”

Locals called for a shooting from Whitfield at an explosive meeting of the school board

At a tense meeting of the District’s Board of Trustees on July 26, speakers criticized what they see as a critical racial theory that permeates the curricula of local schools. Whitfield said he was advised not to attend these meetings in person for his own protection.

In a video recording of the meeting reviewed by Insider, a woman called on the trustees to investigate any use of critical race theory because “the whole idea of ​​systemic racism is a theory or a philosophy.” Other speakers expressed concerns about the area’s teaching of the concept of “social justice” and the “systematic racism conspiracy.”

During the begin forum part of the meeting, one man directly criticized Whitefield by name, which is against board rules. The man accuses Whitfield of promoting the belief that society should “destroy all our businesses, our school districts, our city, and even our state.” He also called for Whitfield’s contract to be terminated due to what he says are Whitfield’s “extremist views”. Shouts of “shoot” Whitfield can be heard in the background.

The man was interrupted twice and reminded of the rules prohibiting broadcasting grievances against a particular employee, but ended his speech to loud applause.

In response to a request for comment, the school district told Insider that similar violations will not be tolerated at coming Board of Trustees meetings.

My agenda is to love children

Whitfield said he was heightened by the community’s anger towards him following the killing of George Floyd.

Feeling compelled to take advantage of his leadership position to speak out against systemic racism, Whitfield emailed his lofty school community service list on June 3, 2020.

“We collectively use our voice to blame the systemic racism and inequality that people of color confront on a daily basis in our country,” Whitfield wrote. “I urge all of us not to be tired in the fight against systemic racism – committing to anti-racism.”

Opponents of Whitfield immediately objected to his letter.

In public Facebook posts reviewed by Insider from a group called “GCISD Parents for Strong Schools,” members called Whitfield a “Critical Race Theory (CRT) support” and accused him of “using his primary position as a platform for social justice and politics.”

Other publications in the group encouraged members to submit public records requests in an effort to uncover documents they could use to protect a school district that promoted critical race theory, social justice, and systemic racism. Insider has identified more than a dozen public records requests submitted over the former six months in Grapevine-Colleyville County for information about critical race theory, anti-racism or social justice in educational materials, school policies, employee training materials, and district communications.

Many of these requests identify Whitfield as the subject of their research, but they have not received much attention. Whitfield co-presented a voluntary professional development seminar for fellow educators in the area for fruitful conversations about differences in identity, including race; Exchange one email with a classmate in another district about anti-racist groups in their schools; And in other emails, he writes about his school’s association with a not-for-gain educational program to support minority, rural, and low-income students applying to college.

Whitfield said he wouldn’t apologize for defending his students, and that includes his commitment to building what he sees as a truly inclusive school for all, not just “for white, Christian, and Christian children.”

He said he was disappointed that his district had not done more to confront his critics.

“Tell them who you are,” Whitfield said of district managers. “Behind closed doors, you say you’re all about inclusion, equality, and diversity, so come out and say that’s what you’re about.”

The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District did not respond to an Insider’s interrogate about social justice or anti-racism policies in its schools, nor did it provide comment on the accusations against Dr. Whitfield at the Board of Trustees meeting and on social media.

For his part, Whitfield says he has an agenda — it’s just not what his critics claim it is.

“My agenda is to love children, and to make sure that every one of them has the opportunity to be thriving,” Whitfield said.

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