San Francisco school district's arts department to be renamed due to “white supremacy culture”

by Jenny Mount · Feb 2nd, 2021 4:08 pm

Last Updated Feb 3rd, 2021 at 3:16 pm

The arts department of the San Francisco Unified School District has moved to eliminate acronyms from its name, claiming that the abbreviations are linked to "white supremacy culture."

The district said it will be changing the acronym "VAPA," which stands for "visual and performing arts" to "SFUSD Arts Department."

"We are prioritizing antiracist arts instruction in our work," said department director Sam Bass. "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."

The move away from acronyms is currently only in the arts department, rather than district-wide. Bass said his decision was rooted in a 1999 paper called "White Supremacy Culture, which argued cultures perpetuate racism "when things continue to be written down in a certain way."

"The use of so many acronyms within the educational field often tends to alienate those who may not speak English to understand the acronym," Bass said.

🔦 The move to rename the art department follows the recent decision of the San Francisco school board to rename 44 of the district's schools whose names were tied to racism or slavery.


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