(RNS) – The Campbell Union High School school district in San Jose, Calif., Has come under fire for offering teachers a resource guide on equity that includes the ‘spell’ as a means of expressing their thoughts on fairness. racial justice.
The majority of links on the district resource site lead to external news articles, historical content, book suggestions, and nonprofit support groups working in the areas of social justice and civil rights.
âWe want to engage with our community and take action to address systemic racism and injustice in our schools,â the district’s equity resources webpage read. “We look forward to having open conversations and communication with our parents, students and our staff community to reinforce the importance of this work and the continued effort it will require.”
One of the links on the page points to a public Google Drive, created in 2018, whose content focuses on tackling police brutality. The controversial document is buried in the reader’s main collection of 45 documents.
Entitled “Writing Prompts on Police Brutality and Racist Violence”, the offending document was written by The Dark Noise Collective, a “multiracial and multigender (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.
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Some of the prompts, which include writing a poem and creating lists of “interactions with systems of violence / opposition” and “people who are no longer with us and who you wish you could talk to” , is the following recommendation: “Bewitching people is an important way of venting anger and frustration.
He goes on to suggest that we compile “a list of specific people who have been agents of police terror or global brutality.” This list can be very diverse, from small micro-assaults to the biggest perpetrators (that is, from people who say “all lives matter” to police officers who arrest nonviolent protesters to George Zimmerman).
The prompt ends by asking the reader to write their own hexadecimal poem to âcurse this personâ.
On Monday, December 6, Spencer Lindquist, an intern at conservative magazine The Federalist, published an article criticizing the entire district’s equity agenda, including the hexadecimal prompt, and warned of “descending into radicalism by left âof the education system.
Lindquist accused the district of teaching students “how to curse those who say, ‘all lives matter’. ”
Since the publication of Lindquist’s essay, the link to the Google Drive, along with the collective’s paper, has been removed from the school district‘s main capital resources page. But the Google Drive and all of its content, including the Write Prompt document, is still publicly accessible by direct link.
The district did not return a request for comment, and no member of the collective, which appears to have disbanded, responded in time for the post.
The act of cursing is controversial both in traditional communities and in modern witchcraft circles. It is not a universal practice in the latter case, and opinions vary depending on tradition and personal beliefs. Some witches won’t curse at all; others do so with reserve and solemnity.
âHexes are for severe forays and lifted with a lot of aplomb, usually by a trained practitioner,â explained author and rootworker Stephanie Rose Bird.
Bird is a longtime educator and visual artist as well as a practitioner of Hoodoo, a unique American folk magic tradition. In his 2018 book â365 Days of Hoodoo,â Bird includes an entire chapter on the magic of justice, explaining his history in the work of justice.
As practiced by the BIPOC and others immersed in a practice that deals with issues of justice, Hoodoo has a long history in America and beyond. Although you don’t need to be an insider to launch hexes or spells, Hoodoo practitioners realize that neither is something to be taken lightly, âsaid Bird.
In the spell, the best results, she explained, “come from serious intention” and usually come from “extensive practice.”
While magic, even the curse, has a historical and contemporary place in the work of fairness and justice, Bird does not support the implicit use of the spell in this particular situation.
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“Asking students to create a spell, many of which may be completely inexperienced and oblivious to the venerable history, justification, and modes of seeking justice through African American magic like Hoodoo is insulting,” said she declared.
Whether the collective wanted the invite to be a real curse or just a thought experiment might even be irrelevant. Some witches hold that the very thought can be a spell.
Bird thought the mission was âcreative and well-meaningâ. It came from a good place, she said, however, curses and curses “practiced willy-nilly, without a background and without a solid framework, are potentially dangerous for everyone involved.”