San Francisco’s public schools have been making some pretty negative national headlines of late:
Last week, Mayor London Breed blasted the school board for having a plan to rename schools that had been named after historical figures associated with “slavery, genocide, colonization, exploitation and oppression” — but not having a plan to reopen those same schools.
Then a San Francisco public school teacher faced heavy criticism for her Monday op-ed saying that far-left U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in mittens at President Joe Biden’s inauguration embodies “white privilege, male privilege, and class privilege.”
And now the district’s Arts Department is getting into the act and taking the radical step of dropping its acronym name “VAPA” — which stands for Visual and Performing Arts — and changing it altogether, KGO-TV reported.
‘Acronyms are a symptom of white supremacy culture’
Why? Well, the station said the director of the arts department wrote in a memo that “acronyms are a symptom of white supremacy culture.”
“The use of so many acronyms within the educational field often times tends to alienate those who may not speak English to understand those acronyms,” department Director Sam Bass told KGO.
So what’s the new name?
Drumroll, please … SFUSD Arts Department.
(Just don’t tell ’em the new moniker leads with yet another acronym.)
Still, Bass told the station that “it’s a very simple step we can take to just be referred to as the SFUSD Arts Department for families to better understand who we are.”
The anti-acronym thing is based on a 1999 paper by Tema Okun titled, “White Supremacy Culture,” KGO said, adding that Okun told the station that “our culture perpetuates racism when things continue to be written down in a certain way.”
Bass added to KGO that his department also is “prioritizing antiracist arts instruction in our work.”
The station also wondered if the district’s acronym “SOTA” — which stands for School of the Arts — should instead be called the Ruth Asawa School, and Bass was all in favor of it.
“In the same sprit of getting rid of acronyms, I do believe in calling it Ruth Asawa,” he told KGO.
The district also informed the station that there’s no official districtwide policy or plan related to acronyms.
But there’s always hope.