After criticism from a physician, the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine’s Pediatric Department has removed a statement supporting a critical-race-theory (CRT) activist, as well as a document promoting the concept of gender fluidity in children.
The Pediatric Diversity and Inclusion Committee (PDIC) said in the removed statement that it “stands in solidarity with Nikole Hannah-Jones,” and disagreed with the UNC Board of Trustees’ decision to decline her tenure, citing her work as a model for future generations.
Hannah-Jones, the author of the “1619 Project,” had been offered a position at UNC’s school of journalism in Chapel Hill under a five-year contract, but was denied tenure, a decision that erupted in controversy for the school.
UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism later offered her tenure after protests, but Jones took a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C., instead.
In the “1619 Project,” Hannah-Jones frames historical events with a lens of racist motives, such as arguing that the Founding Fathers sought independence from the British to protect slavery and that America’s version of slavery was new to history, views that fall within CRT.
Though CRT is a quasi-Marxist philosophy that defines society as a class struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, specifically labeling white people as the oppressors and all other races as the oppressed, the phrase has come to encompass for many teachers and parents a more expansive trend that incorporates not only issues of race but themes of sexuality.
The other removed documents were the Genderbread Person & Pronoun Cards that use the traditional gingerbread man to diagram a theory of gender fluidity.
According to its creator Sam Killermann on his website itspronouncedmetrosexual.com, “Gender isn’t binary. It’s not either/or. In many cases, it’s both/and. A bit of this, a dash of that. This tasty little guide is meant to be an appetizer for gender understanding. It’s okay if you’re hungry for more after reading it. In fact, that’s the idea.”
‘We Only Cared About Getting People Better’
Dr. Nancy Andersen was a general surgery resident at UNC from 2003 to 2010, she told The Epoch Times, which required rotation to the UNC pediatric department, and eventually completed her residency and became board certified.
During that time, she said, people were judged on their abilities, not their ideologies.
“When I trained there, I had no idea who was a Republican or a Democrat,” Andersen said. “We only cared about getting people better.”
As it has in kindergarten through 12-grade public school systems, Andersen said the medical community has adopted CRT, and many doctors are afraid to speak out.
“They are forced into diversity training that claims systematic racism in everything and UNC is leading the charge,” Andersen said.
Whether Hannah-Jones should have gotten tenure or not isn’t an issue the school of pediatrics should be weighing in on, Andersen said, “especially for a public university.”
“If these medical physicians wanted to go out in a private practice not funded by federal and state tax dollars, go for it,” Andersen said. “That’s First Amendment rights.”
However, the “1619 Project” has no relationship with the medical treatment of children, Andersen said.
According to the North Carolina Human Resources Act, taxpayer-funded employees shouldn’t participate in political activity while working for the state.
“As a physician, I have a problem with using medical titles to promote political activism and political statements in the community because it’s disingenuous,” Andersen said. “Medical physicians should have a sense of professional thought and consideration knowing that others may think differently.”
The Genderbread Conflation
Andersen contacted Dr. Stephanie Davis, chair of the department of pediatrics, asking about the statement on Hannah-Jones as well as The Genderbread Person.
“Why would the UNC pediatrics department use an innocent symbol associated with holiday cheer and childhood happiness to conflate serious sexual issues for children?” she asked.
Andersen, now a stay-at-home mother and volunteer with No Left Turn in Education and Education First Alliance—two organizations that investigate CRT ideologies in the K-12 public school system in North Carolina—told Davis that The Genderbread Person has been used in first and second-grade classrooms for “children who have no idea how to interpret biology and sex at that age.”
In an email, Davis responded to Andersen, saying, “We have removed the concerns you outline below from our website.”
Andersen said she offered to share her research on what is being taught to children in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), but got no response.
“This is exactly the problem: They claim inclusivity but are obviously not inclusive,” Andersen said.
Andersen also emailed Dr. Stuart Gold, the vice-chair of Pediatrics for Diversity and Patient Engagement, addressing the same concerns.
Gold responded stating that the department tries “not be political, but that will be seen by different people differently.”
“If this isn’t politically based,” Andersen asked, “then why would the pediatric diversity committee not put out a statement about the racially charged mass murder in Waukesha (Wisconsin) that included the death of an eight-year-old boy, who you would think a pediatric department would care about?”
Andersen is referring to Jackson Sparks, who passed away in the intensive care unit (ICU) after the suspect drove an SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin on Nov. 21, killing six and injuring up to 60 people.
The suspect, Darrell Brooks, was initially charged with five counts of intentional homicide.
In an email to the North Carolina House Standing Committee after the links to the documents were deactivated, Andersen said she has “received no notification as to what their policies will be going forward.”
“This is a serious issue, not just an isolated event for the department of pediatrics’ DEI committee,” Andersen said, adding that she wanted the committee to investigate the funding for the DEI projects at UNC.
Many doctors, Andersen said, have gotten into “progressive bubbles” and forgotten that they aren’t experts on every subject.
“I think a lot of people are afraid to stand up to them lest they get called racist, homophobic, transphobic, or something like that,” Andersen said. “Doctors should not be using their MDs (doctor of medicine degree) to bully people this way,” Andersen said.
The physician, Andersen said, should be focused on diagnosis and treatment, not ideologies.
“Do you want an airline pilot who knows what they are doing or an airline pilot who is politically correct?” Andersen asked.
Gold and Davis did not respond immediately for comment.