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Southlake

Author: NBC News

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Southlake, Texas, seems to have it all: stately homes, intense civic pride, and above all, terrific schools. So when a video surfaced in 2018 showing Southlake high school students chanting the N-word—and when Black residents came forward to share stories of racist harassment and bullying—the school board vowed to make changes. But the unveiling of the Cultural Competence Action Plan set off a backlash that’s consumed Southlake, fueled by a growing national crusade against critical race theory. Hosted by NBC News national reporter Mike Hixenbaugh (host of the hit podcast Do No Harm) and NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton, Southlake tells the story of how one idyllic city became the test case for a new political strategy with national repercussions.
8 Episodes
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Trailer

Trailer

2021-08-2002:385

Beautiful Southlake, Texas, seemed too good to be true—until a video emerged of white high school students chanting the N-word. But it was the school district’s plan to confront racism that really sent residents on the warpath. Hosted by reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and correspondent Antonia Hylton, Southlake is a six-part series about belonging—and backlash—in an American suburb. Coming August 30. 
Home of the Dragons

Home of the Dragons

2021-08-3036:0027

Southlake, Texas, is an immaculate, largely white suburb 30 minutes from Dallas. It’s a magnet for well-off parents looking for public schools that will get their kids into top-tier universities — and it doesn’t hurt that the town’s Carroll High School Dragons routinely compete for the state football championship. Frank and Robin Cornish, a Black couple, moved to Southlake in the 1990s after Frank fell in love with the place, and he soon recruited fellow Dallas Cowboys to join them. But then the Cornish family suffered a tragedy, and gradually they began to see a different side of their town. In 2018, a viral video of students yelling the N-word brought their concerns to the surface — and exposed racism in Southlake's schools. The whole town seemed to get behind a plan to confront it...at first.
Just a Word

Just a Word

2021-08-3040:5919

Southlake’s leaders try to bring the community together in the weeks after the viral N-word video. But inside the halls of Carroll High, Black students aren't feeling heard. In the midst of the turmoil, 17-year-old Raven Rolle secretly records her emotional showdown in the principal’s office with a white student who insists that anyone should be able to say the N-word. Meanwhile, the school district is forging ahead with a plan to address racist bullying, but before officials can release it, a pandemic and a national racial reckoning throws everything off track. A friend of Raven’s, Nikki Olaleye, organizes a Black Lives Matter rally in town square—and fear takes hold in Southlake.CORRECTION (Sept. 2, 2021, 04:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this episode misstated the hotel where the 2018 homecoming dance was held. It was a Hilton hotel, not a Westin.
Facing a wave of backlash to its proposed Cultural Competence Action Plan, Southlake’s school board tries to find middle ground — but winds up angering everyone. The school board meeting room turns into a battleground, as scores of conservative parents line up to explain their objections to any changes to the curriculum or disciplinary measures designed to protect students of color. Behind the scenes, with the help of powerful figures like Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, a new political action committee begins work to stop what supporters say is a “liberal takeover” of their school district. They sue to put the diversity plan on hold, and their efforts catch the attention of conservatives outside Southlake.You can read the text of Carroll ISD’s draft diversity plan here. 
The Circus Comes to Town

The Circus Comes to Town

2021-09-1340:589

Parents in Southlake discover a new label for what's been bothering them about all this diversity, equity and inclusion talk: critical race theory. A new fixation on the academic concept muddies the debate, drowning out the voices of students who’d come forward with stories about racism. Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the founding scholars of CRT, sheds light on the national battle over the theory, warning of dire consequences. And Tucker Carlson, Dana Loesch, and even Demi Lovato all put a spotlight on Southlake, where the local fight has grown even more divisive — and more personal.
The Debate Channel

The Debate Channel

2021-09-2043:215

The election to fill two school board seats takes center stage—and becomes a referendum on the school district’s diversity plan. At a secretly recorded meeting, members of Southlake Families PAC grill a prospective candidate about conservative political causes, from opposition to Black Lives Matter to abortion. As school board candidates debate whether Carroll's code of conduct is enough to protect students, a queer 16-year-old takes a complaint of harassment to Carroll Senior High School’s principal — and the response leaves her feeling even less safe at school. In the final days before the election, candidates knock on doors, and outgoing Mayor Laura Hill gives a speech calling opponents of the diversity plan to action.
Protect the Tradition

Protect the Tradition

2021-09-2740:269

It’s Election Day in Southlake, Texas — time to see if all the fighting over the school district’s Cultural Competence Action Plan translates into votes. A handful of candidates and supporters who want to see new diversity programs rally in Town Square, across from a much larger, rowdier crowd of those backing the conservative slate. “It’s a great town,” one voter shouts over her shoulder. “We want to keep it that way.” After the votes are counted, Southlake becomes a national poster child in the movement to redefine and root out critical race theory. Stuck in the middle is Lane Ledbetter, Carroll’s new school superintendent, who is tasked with bringing the community together — but in a rare interview, he struggles to answer questions about racism in Southlake. On graduation day, Nikki Olaleye says she hopes Southlake’s future doesn’t mirror its past.
Beyond the Bubble

Beyond the Bubble

2021-10-0439:066

Five months after the high-stakes local election in Southlake, the city is gearing up for yet another contentious vote. One of the school board members who supported the diversity plan, retired Air Force Col. Dave Almand, is stepping down, and the battle over diversity programs is at the center of the fight to replace him. But he’s far from the only leader to leave a role in public schools this year following attacks from parents opposed to what they see as the quiet creep critical race theory. For this special bonus episode, we sit down with a panel of four educators from across the country who’ve come under fire, including James Whitfield, the first Black principal at a high school a town over from Southlake, whose school board has begun a formal process that could lead to his termination. The educators discuss how the anti-CRT movement is driving them out of their careers—and away from their students.
Comments (12)

Cruz Alvarado

Great story...very weak journalism...

Oct 16th
Reply

Claude Poliakoff

Very interesting, exposing the challenge of overcoming racism, which started at birth of America. Teaching history is of critical importance, if we hope to emotionally evolve toward social equity. Of course we are not personally guilty of slavery, BUT, acknowledging history and it's lingering effects is essential. The "micro-aggressions" that defy precise definition are the manifestation of the racism of our past. Like it or not, it must be acknowledged & labeled as reprehensible, if we are to evolve as a nation.

Oct 6th
Reply

Phillip S. Stewart

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Sep 22nd
Reply

Adam F Thompson

entitled white idiots

Sep 16th
Reply

DrRayTay

“Apparently we use someone’s worst moments in life to completely slight their entire life.” Yeah. That’s called accountability. And I’m certain Tucker Carlson and his guests have no problem with that attitude when it comes to prison sentencing, homelessness, addiction, and many other punitive actions we take against vulnerable people. It’s strange how no one in town felt outraged when the podcaster publicly spoke about a Black woman’s struggles. I don’t really see the difference in the flyers and the podcast. Both were uncalled for but only one got a segment on Fox News.

Sep 14th
Reply (1)

barbara santarelli

Great series and underpinning for understanding and discussing CRT.

Sep 11th
Reply

Josie Brockmann

this is fantastic.

Sep 9th
Reply

roxicodone

As a Texan, I'm rolling my eyes so hard at the huffy indignation coming from these parents who have zero perspective. As a member of a marginalized group, how dare these people pretend as if the color of their skin, the ugly words from their children's mouths, the blind ignorance they suffer everyday mean more than the gross misconduct and hurt they've dealt by trying to silence our voices? They have never suffered oppression and now, when someone wants to take action against their ignorant views, they are suddenly up in arms? Eat a fat one. The single star on the Texas flag really is a review.

Sep 9th
Reply

Jaculyn Martin

No need to restrict CRT from school district's curriculum. Children are learning about racism in real time. And some of them are doing the teaching.

Sep 2nd
Reply

Joel Hamburg

well said...,

Sep 1st
Reply

Jim Frees

Sooooooo sick of these racists Trump humping bigots

Aug 30th
Reply
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