When Social Activism Outweighs Good Grammar

When Social Activism Outweighs Good Grammar

When Social Activism Outweighs Good Grammar

For at least a half-century, there has been a cadre of highly trained men and women that appear to be on a mission to destroy our common culture. They are being paid with public dollars. They have access to legions of young people, whom they are training to do their bidding. They can say and do almost anything without losing their positions.

They are called college professors.

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“Social Justice”

Not all professors are part of this plot, but their numbers are growing. The easiest way to distinguish the plotters from the others is to read the words that they use to describe themselves. The phrase “social justice” is a telltale sign.

A leader of this social justice army is Dr. Asao B. Inoue, Ph.D. He is the Director of the writing program at the University of Washington – Tacoma.

The professor’s biases displayed in the titles of his three published books. In 2012, he wrote Race and Writing Assessment. That was followed in 2015 by the award-winning Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future.1
His most recent effort is Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity. Slated to come out soon is his article in the periodical Pedagogy, “Classroom Writing Assessment as an Antiracist Practice: Confronting White Supremacy in the Judgements of Language.”

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Teaching Western Civilization is Inherently Racist

The idea behind these works is that the traditional ways of grading student’s compositions – organization, development of ideas, clarity of expression, use of standard English, among others – is racist and oppressive.

What Asao Inoue is calling racism is really far more complex – a hatred of Western Civilization. All of the basic tools of the writer came from Europe. Over centuries, the process of writing was honed and refined over generations. Sentence and paragraph structure developed gradually, leading to concise formulation and vocabulary to convey notions of truth, goodness, and beauty. Rules of grammar and punctuation made writing understandable across time and distance. The development of the dictionary standardized spelling and pronunciation.

Learning to write takes years. Elementary schools used to correct students who used the term “ain’t.” It did not matter if that term was commonly used in the student’s home. When a curse word slipped out in class, that culprit was punished. Composition teachers lowered grades when a paper said “I think” rather than the more formal “in the opinion of the author.”

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The capstone of this process was the senior English Literature class. The classic curriculum used to begin with Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales. It then went to Shakespeare and grappling with Elizabethan grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Then, there was the reading of a piece of a “Restoration Comedy” like Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer followed by the romantic poetry of Keats, Shelly, et al. The twentieth century began with a look at the works of the Fabian socialist, G. B. Shaw. The year ended with a couple more modern works of the teacher’s choosing.

This course accomplished two highly important ends. First, the student experienced the development of the English language. Secondly, the student’s own writing style developed by examining that of the masters of expression from many periods. At the same time, the personal tastes of each pupil would hopefully expand to more cultured horizons.

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Under the tenets of “multiculturalism,” all of that was swept away. It became “elitist” to assert that there was such a thing as great literature. English Lit was replaced by classes that focused on modern writings that expressed a variety of viewpoints. I Rigoberta Menchú, the autobiography of an indigenous Guatemalan, was more “relevant” than Macbeth. The message of peace in Three Cups of Tea, describing the experiences of a teacher in Pakistan and Afghanistan, was more politically correct than the “militaristic” Charge of the Light Brigade.

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As the content changed, the schools’ expectations also were altered. Appeal to emotion replaced analysis of plot, character development and point of view. Spontaneous oral expression became more “authentic” than the rigors of writing a well-planned composition. When expressing opinions, one no longer needed to base oneself upon a given set of facts. Indeed, two students’ “facts” could be contradictory, and both could still be right.

Not surprisingly, these new graduates did not write clearly. Since they did not construct grammatically-correct sentences in high school, they were hopelessly out of their depth in college. Advocates of multiculturalism faced the dilemma of explaining their failure.

Assigning Blame

Obviously, the real culprit had to be racism.

Apparently “white supremacists” use the common rules of English composition to prevent those of other races and ethnicities from attaining their educational goals. Therefore, professors need to be trained to adapt to “underserved populations” and use communication styles that flow more naturally from their backgrounds and life experiences.

Prof. Inoue teaches other professors how to recognize their own racist suppositions. His recent seminar at The American University was entitled, “Grading Ain’t Just Grading: Rethinking Writing Assessment Ecologies Towards Antiracist Ends.” In the opening session, he promised to “discuss the ways that White language supremacy is perpetuated in college classrooms despite the better intentions of faculty, particularly through the practices of grading writing.”

Even if they disagree, professors are eager to jump on the bandwagon. Nothing is more damaging to a career in a modern university that being charged with racism.

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This approach perpetuates the mistakes of modern elementary and secondary schools. By labeling these important lessons as a sign of racism, the university guarantees that the graduate will have to learn these difficult lessons much later as they enter – or fail to enter – their professional careers.

Thus, the “beneficiaries” remain in a state of permanent poverty. This will, in turn, result in yet more complaints of racism – and the tragic deconstruction of Western civilization.

 

1. In 2017, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) gave it their Outstanding Book Award. According to their web site, “Since 1949, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) has been the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition.”