San Francisco Schools Rename Arts Department – Acronyms Are a ‘Symptom of White Supremacy’

Reason

“We are prioritizing antiracist arts instruction in our work.”

The San Francisco United School District isn’t quite finished with its renaming binge: The district’s arts department, previously titled VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts), will now be known as the SFUSD Arts Department.

This change has been made in accordance with “antiracist arts instruction,” according to ABC-7 News.

“It is 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,” Sam Bass, director of the SFUSD Arts Department, explained in a memo obtained by the local news network.

Bass did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the memo isn’t widely available. But ABC-7 reported that the decision was made to eliminate VAPA because the department realized acronyms are a symptom of “white supremacy culture.”

The New York Post reported that the memo cites a 1999 paper by Tema Okun. That paper does not specifically say that acronyms are racist, though it does label “worship of the written word” as an aspect of white supremacy. Other purported characteristics of white supremacy are “perfectionism,” a “sense of urgency,” “individualism,” and “objectivity.” (If this list sounds familiar, it’s because the National Museum of African American Arts and Culture got in trouble last year for promoting similar nonsense.) While some acronyms may be confusing to non-native English speakers, it’s quite a stretch to describe them as a function of white supremacy.

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