The King’s School headmaster Tony George attacks agenda against ‘white privileged males’

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
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The King's School headmaster Tony George has railed against "wokeism" and "progressive extremism" in a paper that bemoans the "underlying agenda" against white privileged males.
The King's School headmaster Tony George has railed against "wokeism" and "progressive extremism" in a paper that bemoans the "underlying agenda" against white privileged males. Credit: The King's School

The headmaster of one of Sydney’s most elite single sex boys schools has attacked “wokeness” and “progressive extremism” in an extraordinary article that deplores the rise of “identity abuse”.

The King’s School headmaster Tony George has claimed the media was infatuated with “the top one per cent” in an essay published in The King’s School Institute publication released on Tuesday following an ABC investigation into the all-boys Cranbrook School.

Mr George said there was a “cultural malaise of wokeness and victimhood” and the concept of toxic masculinity had become a “cliche of progressive extremism”.

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“The underlying agenda against the strawman of white privileged males has fuelled the creation of the term,” he said, adding any toxic behaviour by students was bad.

Mr George said while the core principles of “wokeness” had involved recognising and combatting systemic inequalities and promoting inclusivity, the concept had devolved to embracing victimhood at the expense of positive action.

“Consequently, wokeness often appears driven by a spirit of complaint rather than hope, as compared with the more hopeful and proactive stances of previous social justice movements,” he said.

“Significantly the emphasis on victimhood within wokeness may lead to a lack of leadership, as characterised by a narrative focussed on external blame, and its demands can potentially stifle self-empowerment and internal leadership within communities.”

Former Cranbrook School headmaster Nicholas Sampson resigned from his position earlier this month after the ABC broadcast a 4Corners investigation into the exclusive school in Bellevue Hills in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

It emerged Mr Sampson had promoted a teacher at the school despite being aware since 2015 of allegations the man had sent multiple lewd messages to a former female student from a school at which he formerly taught.

Cranbrook has announced an internal review into how the school handled complaints as well as the school’s policies and procedures “relating to child protection, workplace health and safety, whistleblowing, and discrimination and bullying, to ensure these are in line with best practice”.

Mr George said modern journalism had shifted from reporting news in the public interest to content that interested the public as clickbait became increasingly important to financial models adopted by news outlets.

“The concept of identity abuse, where individuals are misrepresented and objectified for sensationalism, is a disturbing trend with children attending non-government schools being increasingly targeted and ridiculed,” he said.

“The distinction between what is in the public interest (news that informs and educates) and what is interesting to the public (content that entertains or shocks) is important, as the blurring of this distinction is detrimental to the societal role of journalism in informing the public sphere.”

The King’s School in Parramatta charges more than $43,000 a year for a year 12 student and is Australia’s oldest independent school.

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