The school administrator says that he has been the victim of multiple racist attacks
A Black principal opened up about his experiences with racism while serving in several administrative capacities at Colleyville District in the Dallas Fort-Worth area.
Dr. James Whitfield, who was previously the principal of Colleyville Middle School from 2019-2020 and the assistant principal for the high school from 2018-2019, opened up on Facebook in late July about racially motivated attacks he encountered after being called out in a school board meeting.
In late July, a former school board member called for Whitfield to resign and accused him of teaching critical race theory to the students — which was banned by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in mid-June. Whitfield said this is not true and is just another baseless attack.
Other instances include having to hide photos of him and his white wife embracing, being chastised for supporting anti-racism organizations and for speaking up about the death of George Floyd.
“I am the first African American to assume the role of Principal at my current school in its 25-year history,” he stated in the post. “And I am keenly aware of how much fear this strikes in the hearts of a small minority who would much rather things go back to the way they used to be. But here’s the deal – I’m here, so let’s dive into their claims about me.”
Whitfield says the reason for his post was being publicly named during the school board meeting, which is against the district rules.
In the lengthy Facebook post, Whitfield describes that although the majority of his experience at the school has been positive, there have been distinct events that he believes have racial undertones.
He said it all began when he was about to be appointed principal of the middle school in 2019, and received a call in the evening from a central level administrator, asking him to check his email. When he opened the forwarded message, he was bewildered to find that it was a photo of him and his wife kissing on the beach with a statement that read, “Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want as an example for our students?”
“I showed my wife and I could tell she was already getting upset – tears were welling up,” he wrote in the post. “But I was still awaiting the callback.”
Whitfield said that he took the high road and hid the photo from his profile, but knew this would be the start of more anti-Black aggressions from members of the district and the community.
James Whitfield, Colleyville High School Principal, and his wife. (Photo Cred: James Whitfield)
He then recalled an instance where he was accused of using an existing program, the Advancement Via Individual Determination, to weave critical race theory into the middle school’s curriculum.
Critical race theory (CRT), which was first posited by a group of legal scholars like Derrick Bell, and Kimberlé Crenshaw, is a framework for understanding social, cultural and political issues as they relate to race and racism. This pivotal ideological frame has been central to the works of some of the most prolific writers and academics of our time, as well as the basis for anti-racist activism movements like Black Lives Matter.
However, CRT has become a Republican political hot button as former President Donald Trump denounced it and falsely deemed it as “racist” back in 2020. Since then governors in states like Florida and Texas have banned educators from teaching it in the school.
Whitfield said he has never taught CRT in school or encouraged others to, stating in the post, “I am not the CRT (Critical Race Theory) Boogeyman.”
But what he will do, he said, is continue to fight against hatred and bigotry, and be an example for all the students in the district.
“I’m here today because they consistently chose to stand up in the face of hate, intolerance, racism, and extreme violence to pave a path forward for me,” he ends his post with. “Without them, there is no me and I will not let a small group of hateful people deter me from continuing to walk in my purpose.”
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