The event called Playdate Social, hosted by the Equity and Inclusion Committee of the school, was meant to foster community building among specific racial groups. However, the flyer for the event explicitly stated that it was only intended for "black, brown and API (Asian and Pacific Islander) families." (Related: NO WHITES ALLOWED at Georgetown University “dialogue event” on racism… because the organizers are racists.)
"If your family identifies as Black, Brown or API or are a parent/caregiver of a Black, Brown or API student, come hang out while we get a chance to know each other and build our community as we kick off this school year," the invitation wrote. Moreover, attendees were encouraged to bring games, snacks and drinks to share.
The invitation quickly sparked controversy when a concerned parent, who wished to remain anonymous, posted the flyer on Reddit along with his/her thoughts. "I don't [know] about others, but I'm genuinely upset about what ultimately boils down to a 'No whites allowed' playdate." The parent also argued that such practices could inadvertently promote segregation instead of addressing racism.
"We'll look back and cringe so hard that we tried to beat racism by segregating kids of color from white kids," the parent added, echoing sentiments that promoting unity and understanding among children from diverse backgrounds might be more effective in addressing racial disparities.
After the Reddit post gained attention on social media, Libs of TikTok called the school "racist against White people" in a tweet. But instead of gaining sympathy, authorities branded the criticisms as "hate speech incidents" on social media.
Worse, they linked those criticisms to the bomb threats and emails against the school.
On Aug. 26, the elementary school received bomb threats and emails at around 7:30 a.m. Oakland Police, in collaboration with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and K-9 and bomb teams, evacuated the school located at 6686 Chabot Road in the Rockridge neighborhood.
Capt. Lisa Ausmus told reporters that more bomb threats were received at individual residences but did not provide further details except to clarify that these threats were unrelated to the homes of students or parents.
The Oakland Unified School District issued a statement on Aug. 29 defending the event. "This playdate aimed to create an affinity space where Black, Brown, and API families can build and sustain connection and belonging at the school. It's one of many examples of the important work we do for equity and inclusion across the District," it said.
The district also gave their statement regarding the seriousness of the incident: "This incident, along with multiple threatening emails, phone calls, and social media posts, are being taken seriously by Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Police Department. The FBI is also now involved in this active investigation."
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