October 2, 2020

Rep. Allen,

I felt compelled to write to you in the wake of your ongoing “series” about Black Lives Matter education in schools outside of your district. Your recent interest in spreading coordinated disinformation under the guise of some sort of investigative journalist notwithstanding, I’d encourage you to take even a fraction of a moment to think critically before you continue wading into this topic.

First off, what compelled you, someone completely lacking any background in critical race theory or education, to try and take a position as a “thought leader” on this topic? Do you really believe that you, armed only with a disingenuous open records request and a predetermined position, are really substantively contributing to the discourse here? You seem to have decided that it is your duty to provide public commentary on something happening in Madison schools, miles away from your district. Why is that? For someone who constantly claims to be in favor of local control why is it that in this case you believe that you are more qualified to shape the discourse on lesson plans than the school board members elected by Madison voters to do just that?

Aside from these logistical considerations, let’s actually dive into the content of your recent public statements.

In your first “exposé,” you seem to equate teaching children about the value of peaceful public protest with “indoctrinating them” to burn down buildings; you even included a completely unrelated picture for some reason. Let’s do a thought experiment here, using your same logic:

  • Some men in elected office are named Scott

  • Some men named Scott are racists

  • So all men named Scott who hold elected office are racists, and we must publicly denounce every single elected Scott – they are divisive and dangerous

Furthermore, what happened to respecting and defending the Constitution? The right to protest is enshrined in the First Amendment. Believe it or not, it’s been there since 1791! It is true that there are some examples of property destruction that have occurred during some protests… but that’s as American as apple pie too. I seem to remember learning in my history classes about some very unfortunate tea merchants who suffered $1.7 million worth of property damage at the hands of a divisive “mob” back in 1773. How do you feel about those protesters? Do you think that American children should be forced to stand with that organization?

Your second go at this was somehow even worse.

Do tell Rep. Allen, how is it that the Black Village concept, which talks of disrupting societally-defined structural requirements (rather than the idea of family itself, as you seem to be claiming) a point of concern? In no way does this concept cast a negative light on traditional families; instead it very clearly seeks to uplift the concept of community care for children, and get back to the concept of the “village” raising the child, whether or not a nuclear family also exists. Are you threatened by the idea of supportive extended family units? Do you believe that children who do live in single parent households should just be tut-tutted at, rather than cared for in tandem by their biological parent and an extended circle of people who love and support them? I know you’re also a man of faith, so let’s approach this through that lens too – do you believe that Hagar and Ishmael shouldn’t have been supported and uplifted by the “village” created by G-d and the angels because their family structure was non-traditional? Should the sinners embraced by the “village” created by Jesus and his apostles instead have been given a stern lecture about their “choices” before being turned away from their flock?

And then on top of this insincere reading, you thought it was a good idea to bolster whatever “point” you were trying to make by quoting, of all people, Charles Murray. Really? The man who somehow still believes that equating race and intelligence is not only above board but also scientifically supported? The man who, in his book The Bell Curve, freely used the term “dysgenesis” – a term used by eugenicists to reflect what they were hoping to “correct”? That you chose to quote Murray and then release this piece the day after the president, once again, sided with white supremacists across the country is also very telling. Was this a case of bad research on your part, or do you believe that white supremacists like Murray have valid points that should be amplified?

Moving forward, I would implore you to no longer boost famous white supremacist authors like Murray. You should also refrain from going out of your way to attack and try to control curriculum such as the “Black Village.” Next time take a breath before hitting that send button and ask yourself, “Why am I attacking this group specifically? Should I actually learn about and investigate what’s being taught before trying to colonize and destroy it?” Representative Allen, you are blessed with some incredibly knowledgeable colleagues, community stakeholders, and bonafide leaders on these issues. Instead of engaging in this sort of hostile behavior towards something you are not particularly knowledgeable on, try learning from those who are. Remember Representative Allen, it takes a village.

In Service,

Jonathan Brostoff

State Representative

19th Assembly District

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