Last month I wrote an article titled Of White Privilege and Peanut Butter And Jelly, dealing with one of the more recent fads in education. At a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, people will come to your school district, gentle readers, to tell the teachers they’re all racists just dripping in white privilege, and that’s why kids, particularly the non-white bread kids, are having whatever problems they’re having, or if they’re not having any, these people will help you create some. A quote from that article:
What are the educators in these districts learning in exchange for all of that money?
The PEG message is centered on the concept of ‘white privilege’ and the detrimental impact it supposedly has on minority students.
On a basic level, PEG teaches that minority students don’t do as well as white students on the average because traditional American education is structured around white cultural norms, which are frequently difficult for minority students to grasp.
Reasonable people might see value in that idea. It makes sense for teachers and other educators to be more aware of the various cultural influences and traditions that shape the mentality of their students.
But many people believe PEG goes overboard with the concept, to an alarming degree. Many of the organization’s messages seem to suggest that minority kids are incapable of learning and succeeding unless K-12 curriculum is specifically customized for them.
To which I responded:
That’s precisely what PEG is saying to milk public treasuries across the nation, and it’s utter bunk. My school, for example, has a relatively small black student population, and a considerably larger Hispanic population. It remains mostly white. Exposure to that culture seems to belie PEG’s premise. My Hispanic and black kids somehow manage to get to school on time, to hold jobs, to do their work, and in many cases, to excel academically.
There is no doubt that socioeconomic status can have an effect on academic achievement, but claiming whites are somehow ‘privileged’ and that privilege somehow magically prevents others—particularly blacks—from having successful lives, is not only insulting, even inherently racist, but idiotic. It assumes that black people are genetically intellectually inferior, or that white people can somehow repress black intellectual performance against their will. It also claims that only by allowing black children to adopt the worst and most thuggish aspects of urban black ‘culture’ can they find academic achievement.
Unfortunately, the lunacy is spreading, as such things tend to do. Once an educational fad takes hold, it spreads like a virus through administrative circles. Billions of dollars are spent and enormous damage is done before administrators lose interest and spend untold billions on some other bit of lunacy. The latest, from Katherine Timpf at National Review:
You’re racist and everything is all your fault. Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow school district [Gresham, Oregon] spends $100,000 each year on a white-privilege conference that teaches its faculty that they’re racist and should therefore blame themselves for student misbehavior.
The week-long ‘Coaching for Educational Equity’ conference is mandatory for all administrators (and optional for teachers) in the Portland-area K–12 school district each year, according to the Education Action Group Foundation, a national non-partisan, non-profit education reform organization headquartered in Michigan.
Just to keep the players straight, EAG are the good guys in this particular education skirmish, exposing the idiocy.
EAG reports that school-board member Dan Chriestenson recently obtained the conference materials after a long battle with the Oregon Center for Educational Equity, the private nonprofit that presents the conference.
‘Many white people in Oregon have no idea that our schools and state are immersed in white culture and are uncomfortable and harmful to our students of color, while also reinforcing the dominant nature of white culture in our white students and families,’ one of the conference documents explains.
I’m sure we horrible white people do just that. I, for example, terribly abuse my “students of color” by demanding precisely the same behaviors, dedication, effort and excellence of them as the white kiddies. As a teacher of English, I also demand they work to read better, think better, and speak more correctly and clearly by the end of the year. Some white kids have more trouble with that than “students of color,” most of who recognize the value of improving themselves. It’s also interesting to observe that all of my kids have no trouble identifying themselves as what they are, and upon occasion, gently, and usually hilariously, kidding each other about it.
The manual defines this ‘white culture’ with a list of values, such as ‘promoting independence, self expression, personal choice, individual thinking and achievement,’ because apparently those are strictly ‘white’ concepts and not emphasized in black communities.
By this time, gentle readers, I’m sure you’re thinking “WHAT?!” “Independence, self expression, personal choice, and individual thinking and achievement” are bad things that are bad for “students of color?!” By all means, take the earlier link and revisit my earlier article. But for the moment, keep in mind that this is progressive-think, which demands that people “of color” do not think or achieve for themselves, and that they parrot the proper progressive narratives. This is necessary to keep them in neatly defined, geographically located victim groups that need government largess cradle to grave, which keeps progressivism in business. Do you see why concepts such as “promoting independence” would be horrifying to them?
Here’s one of my favorite parts:
The training instructs participants to stop ‘blaming when students don’t meet standards’ and instead start ‘examining our beliefs and practices when students don’t meet standards.’ It advises faculty to avoid ‘controlling or teaching discipline to students’ and to instead think about ‘changing school practices that alienate students and lead to disruptions.
This is similar to several other current fads that hold that teachers are themselves responsible for student lack of accomplishment, and to a somewhat lesser degree, student misbehavior. There is a long running battle between principals and teachers that believe adults must be in charge of schools, and those that think our purpose is to “facilitate”–they love that word–the emergence of the brilliance and genius that is inherent in every youngster. To that end, outmoded concepts like rules, discipline, actually completing school work, the traditional canon, and pretty much actually teaching kids things, are, well, outmoded. Just let the kids spontaneously discover their inner brilliance!
This new indoctrination goes beyond that sort of argument, however, and is nothing more than racism dressed up as virtue. When “students of color” are failing, it’s not because they’re not handing in any work, or because they’re out of the classroom at on campus suspension, or because they don’t bother to come to school half the time, or because they’re gone the other half of the time for disrupting classes, fighting, drugs, or similar manifestations of white privilege, it’s because we don’t pay sufficient attention to their unique, ancient, immeasurably valuable culture. Take for example the urban black, or to a lesser degree Hispanic, culture based on wearing the crotch of one’s pants around one’s ankles, exposing one’s underwear to everyone, wearing one’s baseball cap backward or sideways, having a vocabulary comprised to a 50% level of “bitch,” or “shiiiit,” avoiding saying a single suffix, mumbling incomprehensibly, refusing to speak in complete sentences, and paying no attention to anyone other than oneself or one’s homeys who are engaging in the same admirable cultural practices.
My school policies are simple. I tell kids they can be teenagers and act like teenagers, just not rude or stupid teenagers. But I suppose I can see how that would “alienate students and lead to disruptions,” when I discipline them for being rude and stupid.
It will surprise no one to learn that the materials involved consider pretty much anything, including asking “where are you from?” a microaggression. You might want to visit The Reflexivity of Microaggression for a crash course on that topic. It’s about a college professor that got himself in trouble for daring to require that “students of color” actually write on a college level. That’s right: he actually corrected their grammar and syntax! The horror!
Would it shock and stun you to learn that this program originates from the oh-so-politically-correct state of California? Thought not.
The conference materials also include a document explaining the “attitudes and behaviors’ that allow participants to become ‘Anti-Racist White Allies’ — the first line of which is: ‘All white people are racist. I am racist.
This is precisely the kind of thing that would get me into trouble, and would surely demonstrate just what a horrific racist I am. After that recitation, I would stand up and say to the program presenters, “repeat after me: All presenters are morons. I am a moron.” I might consider being the ally of a moron–just to ensure they don’t hurt themselves or others–but an “anti-racist white ally?” That’s rather like running repeatedly, face-first, into a brick wall, or betraying the human race.
Actually, I likely will never have to do that. My medium-sized Texas district is more than smart enough never to spend money on this particularly kind of idiocy. There are plenty of other fads. Guess we’re just a bunch of racists.
However, apparently the indoctrination, she is powerful. Here’s what one program participant–probably an administrator; teachers tend to be more rational, and actually have some self-respect–had to say:
The examination has brought me to where I can recognize that I am a white male racist with power and an inherent stake in the dominant culture for that is what has allowed and given me social and financial success.
Oh dear. Well, my white racist privilege–and that of my wife; I don’t make all that much myself–allows Mrs. Manor and me to spend around $2000 a year on our kids, including “students of color.” I guess that’s a bad thing. Who knew?
Perhaps it is a sign of the horrors of my white maleness that when people purporting to teach me something useful begin with gross insults to my character, professionalism and humanity, even though they know nothing whatever about me, I tend to get just a touch exercised. But that’s just me micro aggressing.
Obviously, this is a con, and a very successful one, playing on the good intentions and undeserved guilt of the well-intentioned. All con men know one thing: you can’t con an honest man. The rest hire these racist thugs.