University Temporarily Suspends Taxpayer-Funded Program That Teaches White 4-Year-Olds About ‘Anti-Blackness’

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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The University of Texas-Austin (UT) used taxpayer dollars to do research that recruited only white children aged four to five years old to learn about their alleged “anti-Black racism.” The project was placed on hiatus pending a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

The “GoKAR!” or “Go Kids Against Racism” research project was developed by three UT faculty members who were “interested in young children learning about anti-Black bias,” according to recruitment emails obtained by the Daily Caller. The program recruited white children with the goal of reducing “bias and increas[ing] awareness of racism.”

“Through this program, we aim to create opportunities for caregivers (parents/guardians) to engage in dialogue about anti-Black racism with their preschool-aged children at home,” a recruitment email reads.

Programming is designed to take place entirely online and at home and includes “children’s videos and discussion guides” on racism, according to a “GoKAR!” flyer.

Screenshot/GoKar! Flyer/

Screenshot/GoKar! Flyer/

Children selected for the program are asked to “complete a child study session with a UT researcher both before and after the program period to assess their awareness and responses to racial differences,” according to a parent consent form for the project.

“It is possible that you or your child may feel uncomfortable when talking about race and racism,” the consent form reads. “Every effort will be made to mitigate these risks and you may choose to skip any questions that you do not wish to answer.”

The above flyer states that the study was approved by the UT Institutional Review Board (IRB), a board tasked with approving whether a study is acceptable to conduct on human subjects.

The trio of researchers, Jessica Toste, Huriya Jabbar, and Kate Pounders, submitted their research project on “GoKAR!” for IRB review in 2020, according to an IRB submission form obtained by the Daily Caller.

Several antiracist scholars were cited as sourcing under the project’s background section. Citations include “How to be Antiracist,” by Ibram X. Kendi, work from “Courageous Conversations” founder Glenn Singleton and “White Fragility,” by Robin DiAngelo. The research was approved under the premise that “structural racism” exists in American society.

“Generally, white people conceive of racism as prejudice, while people of color typically see racism as systemic or institutionalized,” the proposal reads. “The reality is both of these forms of racism — individual, implicit biases and structural racism through policies and institutions — exist simultaneously.”

According to the same IRB proposal form, the study is set to begin in the fall of 2021 and will be completed by the summer of 2022.

The Daily Caller reached out to the University of Texas on Nov. 18,and received an update at 11:00 p.m. stating that the “GoKAR!” project had been placed under review pending a “complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.”

“Because we also expect all research projects to comply with the law and university policies, the university is conducting a legal compliance review of the complaint before this study is launched,” the university’s update reads.

U.S. Civil Rights law upholds that public accommodations and federally funded programs — such as a taxpayer-funded, public university — cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or natural origin. (RELATED: Maryland Public School Forces 14-Year-Olds To Take ‘White Privilege Test’)

The “GoKar!” research team did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.