Sam Fragoso is a writer, director and podcast host based in Los Angeles. His interviews have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The Atlantic and NPR. In a past…
On this special episode, educator Dr. James Whitfield tells his remarkable story. Whitfield made headlines recently after being fired as Principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas. The reason? A conservative community alleged he was adding Critical Race Theory to the curriculum. (To be clear: he was not.)
But how did this happen? Whitfield begins by sharing a presentation he co-lead on diversity in our schools (5:41), an impassioned email he wrote to parents in aftermath of George Floyd’s unjust murder (10:00) and the eventual backlash that came from it (15:27), leading to accusations of Whitfield bringing CRT into the classrooms (24:05). Then came the “controversial” photos of Dr. Whitfield and his wife (26:40), revealing the deep-seated racism of his community (28:14). A community that uses the cover of Christianity to spread exclusionary and bigoted rhetoric (34:36).
On the back half, Dr. Whitfield explains how he’d like to see American history taught in schools (41:48), what has (and hasn’t) changed since he sent that email in 2020 (47:28), the parallels between his dreams of being an educator and his late mother’s (54:11), and why he refuses to be invisible after everything that’s happened (59:46).