Commentary: Concerns Grow About Critical Race Theory and Fostering Healthy Solutions in Williamson County Schools

Protestor with megaphone, talking
by Robin Steenman


Critical Race Theory and its potential impact on students, and the broader community, has many parents worried in Williamson County. These worries have grown ever since Fostering Healthy Solutions (FHS) was hired – by unanimous vote by the WCS school board – to do an audit of the WCS system. FHS is Shan Foster’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultancy, which he co-founded with his mother, Anita Foster, in 2017. FHS was brought in to address charges of bullying and claims of incidents of racism in the WCS. The WCS School Board has paid FHS $55,000 over 4 months to help the district “provide a safe learning environment for all students by creating a cultural strategy plan”, according to an April 28 article in the Brentwood HomePage.

Fueling WCS parents’ concerns about FHS, are controversies regarding Critical Race Theory that are erupting in other school districts nationwide. The concern being, that firms like FHS are enacting programs in the name of “Diversity”, “Equity” and “Inclusion”, but hiding behind those nice-sounding terms is a bevy of lesser known CRT-based ideas. For example, concepts such as “white privilege”, “anti-racism” and “systemic racism”, as well as a “oppressor/oppressed” framework for understanding America. Oppressor/Oppressed narratives are rooted in Neo-Marxist philosophies and are usually presented as fact to faculty and students via DEI programs, rather than academic theory.

The Tennessee Legislature just banned the teaching of CRT in schools – with Governor Bill Lee signing HB 0580/SB 0623 – which penalizes funding to any school system that teaches CRT concepts. Still, the question many Williamson County parents have is, does CRT inform the worldview of the FHS’s founders?  And does FHS intend to use CRT concepts and ideas to guide discussions about DEI should their contract be renewed in July?

There is reason to believe FHS’s worldview is informed by CRT, after videos have emerged showing co-founder, Shan Foster, ostensibly endorsing a leading CRT proponent, Ibram X Kendi. In one video, for Nashville Reads, Shan Foster participates in a reading and discussion of Ibram X Kendi’s book entitled, “How to Be an Anti-racist”. Kendi openly advocates for discrimination in order to correct for past discrimination in America. He is perhaps best known for coining the term “anti-racist”, a philosophy that argues that in order for white people to be “anti-racist”, they must admit they are oppressors, guilty of participating and perpetuating “systemic racism” in America, in order to preserve their power over people of color. If people don’t agree to these radical points of view, then Kendi asserts that they are definitionally racist.

On Twitter, in response to criticism of Colin Kaepernick – who famously kneeled during the National Anthem and wore socks that showed cops as pigs, Foster tweeted this: “…Modern day slavery. Sworn to serve and protect, but in times like this, we see the core beliefs of people. The cancer that will one day lead to the demise of this country is the same disease that founded this country, hatred and the thirst for power and control over other people.” This is one of many social media posts that have parents concerned that the Foster’s have a highly politicized and biased perspective.

To ensure that the WCS School Board honors their commitment they’ve made to parents to not teach CRT concepts, WCS parents want to know:

Do the Fosters believe “hatred and thirst for power and control over people” is what “founded this country,” per Shan’s tweet?

Will FHS disavow the Neo-racist teachings of Ibram X Kendi?

Does FHS believe that all white people are oppressors and all people of color are oppressed in America, just by virtue of their skin color?

Does FHS believe that America is “systemically racist”, as in every institution, law and policy in the nation has been invented to oppress people of color?

If their conscience compels them, can faculty, students and parents reject the above assertions publicly, and continue to serve or attend the school without being shamed or ostracized?

Can the Fosters ensure the parents of WCS they will not use CRT-based, divisive concepts like “white privilege”, “anti-racism” and “white fragility”, or assign collective guilt to whole groups of people based on skin color?

Williamson County parents are eagerly awaiting answers to these questions and do not believe FHS’s contract can legitimately be renewed unless they are.

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Robin Steenman is a veteran Air Force B-1 pilot, mom of three, citizen of Williamson County.






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6 Thoughts to “Commentary: Concerns Grow About Critical Race Theory and Fostering Healthy Solutions in Williamson County Schools”

  1. Wolf Woman

    Critical Race Theory is a cultural Socialist/Marxist construct that is designed to foster division between the races. This divisive “theory” is based solely on skin color (which can’t be changed) that actually encourages racism and does not account for the character of the individual. It is a toxic antidote to the unitary Golden Rule that says treat others as you would treat yourself.

    I am a native Tennessean elder and I was never taught to disparage any race, either at home, church or school. But it’s only recently that the Marxists have come out of the woodwork to pollute our society.

  2. William Delzell

    Critical race theory DOES foster a healthy antidote to the bigotry that we whites throughout the generations have been taught about non-white groups, especially blacks. Perhaps if Germany before and during the Second World War had promoted critical race theory in its classrooms, no Hitler or Nazi Third Reich could have come to power with its holocaust and other evils. Perhaps if the rest of Europe had had critical race theory 150 years ago, we could have avoided a violent scramble of Africa and even the First World War that claimed millions of white European lives. A people who believe in critical race theory would have never stood for the epidemic of militarism that swept the European Continent between the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    1. WilCo TaxPayer

      Teaching white children shame and guilt for things they have not done and teaching POC children that they are helpless victims is not a healthy antidote to ANYTHING. It is, however, creating racial divide.

      Perhaps if you educated yourself on the facts of slavery, who started it and why (hint, it wasn’t white Europeans), you’d understand why CRT is pure evil that must be stopped.

      1. Truthy McTruthFace

        > It is, however, creating racial divide.

        that’s its goal, keep us at each other’s throats.

    2. Viperstick

      There was Critical Race Theory in Germany before WWII. It was called Nazism and implemented via the Final Solution.

    3. mikey whipwreck

      hahahahaha. right.

      im sure also if we just became a marxist country everything would be flowers and rainbows too.