Students who are searching for objective truth should shy away from any course with the word “Studies” in its title. Centered on opinion, persuasion, and propaganda, these courses seldom include rigorous evaluation of provable facts.
According to the Hoover Institution, California’s educationists1 have been handed a defeat in their attempt to impose a wildly liberal Ethnic Studies curriculum on their students. When the curriculum was circulated for public comment, its authors probably thought that it would be largely ignored. Full of educational jargon, curriculum documents are not easy to read, and seldom attract much notice.
This time, an avalanche of public opinion forced a change of plan. Even the reliably-liberal Los Angeles Times found itself on the traditional side. The Times editorial board opined, “too often the proposed ethnic studies curriculum feels like an exercise in groupthink, designed to proselytize and inculcate more than to inform and open minds. It talks about critical thinking but usually offers one side and one side only.” More succinctly, the Orange County Register stated that “Students should be taught to understand conflicts, not take sides in them.”
Those painting the past as an unbroken trail of oppression were handed a rare but important defeat. Although this victory is far from decisive, the fact that traditional ideas could overturn this juggernaut is highly encouraging. It shows how the public can defeat the ideologues.
Ethnic Studies proponents claim to represent groups about whom little has been written or recorded. Modern ideologues take what is known about these marginalized groups and craft them into what they call “Social History.”
Radical egalitarians like social history, because it is easily manipulated. Since there are few sources, any available document takes on an exaggerated importance. A single 1870 letter from a farmer’s wife in Kansas can be presented as reflecting the opinions of all women. If that letter contains a line like, “Life is so hard, I don’t know why Bill ever wanted to come here,” it “proves” that every woman on the Great Plains hated it and blamed their husbands. Since such a construction favors a feminist point of view, it becomes the accepted interpretation.
Likewise, a newspaper report of a fight between a black man and a white man over a piece of land can be spun into a narrative of widespread racism. A single Texas rancher who didn’t pay the vaqueros workers symbolizes the exploitation of all Mexican laborers by all ranchers. The process can be repeated indefinitely. The historian’s point of view becomes history.
One such product is the California Ethnic Studies curriculum that was recently rejected.
In that document, even the word “history” is manipulated. This curriculum almost always refers to “hxrstory.” A look into the glossary defines this curious term as “pronounced the same as “herstory,” hxrstory is used to describe history written from a more gender-inclusive perspective. The “x” is used to disrupt the often rigid gender binarist approach to telling history.”
“Binarists” are those who believe that there are only two sexes.
Terms of Engagement
The twisted logic can be seen in the way the educrats define other words, as directly quoted from the official document.2 These excerpts warrant careful reading.
Capitalism- an economic and political system in which industry and trade are based on a “free market” and largely controlled by private companies instead of the government. Within Ethnic Studies, scholars are often very critical of the system of capitalism as research has shown that Native people and people of color are disproportionately exploited within the system.
Environmental racism– is a type of discrimination where people of low-income or minority communities are forced to live in close proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution, and urban decay.
Gender– western culture has come to view gender as a binary concept, with two rigidly fixed options— men and women. Instead of the static binary model … a far richer tapestry of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect resulting in a multidimensional array of possibilities. Thus, gender can also be recognized as a spectrum that is inclusive of various gender identities.
Institutional racism– the systemic normalization or legalization of racism and discrimination … the unequal and inequitable distribution of resources, power, and opportunity. Institutional racism is also referred to as systemic and/or structural racism.
Liberation- the state of freedom. Within … Ethnic Studies, liberation is often used to describe social movements (i.e. Black Power, BDS, and others) whose aim is to achieve freedom through equal rights and justice.
Master narrative- is generally described as the colonially-derived story of events emphasizing monolithic, Eurocentric, and androcentric perspectives.
The Four “I”s of oppression– the four “I”s of oppression are: ideological oppression (an idea, concept, or theory whose qualities advocate for or can be interpreted as causing harm or upholding the views of a dominant group at the expense of others), institutional oppression (the belief that one group is superior than another and that the more dominant group should determine when and how those on the margins are incorporated into institutions within a society), interpersonal oppression (how oppression is played out between individuals), and internalized oppression (the internalization of the belief that one group is superior to another).
People of color- someone who is not white. People of color as a collective identity emerged as a response to systemic racism and to assert resistance and solidarity against white supremacy. People of color are a global majority.
Whiteness- a social construct that … is commonly associated with those that identify as white. However, Whiteness … separates those that are privileged from those that are not. Whiteness can manifest as a social, economic, political, and cultural behavior and power. For example, the “standard” or cultural “norm” are often always based on whiteness and by extension white culture, norms, and values.
The words earned, enterprise, individual, work and other similar terms are not included in this glossary. Nothing in the program helps students see that people can advance themselves outside of a group. White males are the group that oppresses everybody else. Those who are not white and male can only prosper by acting as a group with other oppressed groups to force change on the oppressors.
The Continuing Dangers
This revolutionary mindset endangers society and the individuals who are sucked into it. White students come to see themselves as racists who must always be on guard to quell their involuntary impulses. Everyone else must adopt a collective identity, becoming pawns in the hands of their self-appointed “leaders.” To do otherwise is to join with the evildoers.
Those who believe in the family, the Church, absolute truth, and other traditional ideas should be pleased with this outcome. This curriculum was rejected, not by massive campaigns, but by thousands of taxpayers and parents who are trying to take back their schools.
At the same time, this fight is not over. The radicals are not about to fold their tents and go home. They will try again.
The Only Way to Defeat the Educrats
There are essential lessons in the radicals’ defeat. Even in leftist California, these entrenched educrats can be defeated.
The next battle will probably not be in California. It will likely move to a state whose citizens believe that their officials are more reliably conservative. All state boards of education foster radical thought. The teachers’ colleges all teach the collectivist philosophy of John Dewey as revealed truth. Tens of thousands of teachers have already been trained to accept and promote these ideas. Citizens of “red states” should not be complacent.
Fortunately, most states require public notice of such changes before they can go into effect. In the age of the Internet, a cadre of traditional-minded people can spread the word quickly when action is necessary. No state representative, senator, or governor wants to lose an election because of a curriculum – especially one as indefensible as this one was.
Such action takes diligence and commitment. There are no easy solutions. All Christians must work to subvert such attempts to coerce their children into accepting these lies. Only the combination of the Grace of God, prayer, sacrifice, vigilance, and bold action has any chance of defeating the educrats and their minions.
1. Educationists and educrats are mildly pejorative terms sometimes applied to those who are part of the education system, but who never see students as part of their professional duties.
2. An attempt to gain access to the glossary after the rejection was unsuccessful (“the requested Web page has moved or is no longer available”). This practice is common on such occasions. These definitions come from a copy that was made by the author before the rejection and are archived in his office.