Recently The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by my guest on this episode, Yale freshman Sahar Tartak.
Titled “My High School’s ‘Antiracist’ Agitprop”, she described how illiberal her supposedly liberal high school had become, and the ways she and other students were “berated, bullied and insulted” for voicing dissent towards the school’s race essentialist policies and programs.
The story goes like this.
In 2021 Great Neck North High School directed the student government to give $375 of student funds to a “racial equity” group to speak to the student body about “systemic racism.”
Sahar, then a Senior at Great Neck, was the student government’s treasurer, and felt they didn’t know enough about the organization and its mission to disburse the funds.
So she refused to sign the check.
The teachers who advise the student government berated, bullied and insulted her at their next meeting. They began by announcing that her social studies teacher would be present. Together, the three adults told her that the principal himself found my stance “appalling.” She had made them and the school “look bad,” they told her. One teacher said the situation gave her “hives.” Another said “If you’re not on board with systemic racism, I have trouble with that, girlfriend.”
The adults in the room were teachers who had the power to grade and affect her prospects of getting into college.
After that, there were a series of tense meetings between Sahar and the administration and her parents, resulting in stalemate.
Sahar, whose mother escaped revolutionary Iran, and grandfather escaped the Nazis, wouldn’t back down.
“The experience prompted me and a few like-minded others to look into our school’s curriculums. What we found was an arsenal of lopsidedly race-obsessed lesson plans.”
One was the American Psychological Association’s “Apology to People of Color” for its role in “Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism.” Another asserted that America is a place where racism is “no better today than it was 200 years ago.”
So what does she do? She presents her findings in an audacious speech to the school board and receives a standing ovation – from other students parents, not the school board.
“This was about speech,” she explains. “These are the values that we protect and the reason why my family came to this country.”
Sahar’s story is inspirational. I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from her in the future.
By the way, she taped this show from her Yale dorm room, where she also shared what a terrific time she’s having in her Freshman year.
She’s a fun and engaging interview. Listen in.