Sunday, June 01, 2014

White Privilege

Walter E. Williams

What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that "white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily"? You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation.

The average parent has no idea of the devious indoctrination going on in classrooms in many public schools. What follows are some of the lessons of the conference.

In one of the workshops, "Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom," educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can "insert social justice, anti-racist information" into their lessons that "even little kids" can understand.

Kim Radersma, a former high-school English teacher, hosted a session titled "Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher." She said that teaching is a purely political act and that neutral people should "get the f--- out of education." She also explained: "Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic. I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to every day wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose every day to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way."

But the propaganda and lunacy go even deeper. Jacqueline Battalora, professor of sociology and criminal justice at Saint Xavier University, informed conference participants that "white people did not exist before 1681. Again, white people did not exist on planet earth until 1681." That's truly incredible. If Professor Battalora is correct, how are we to identify William Shakespeare (1564), Sir Isaac Newton (1642), John Locke (1632), Leonardo da Vinci (1452) and especially dear Plato (428 B.C.)? Were these men people of color, or did they not exist?

John A. Powell, a University of California, Berkeley law professor, told his audience, "And right now, I'm going to suggest to you that race is driving almost everything that's happening in the country." He explained the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans by saying, "They took money away from protecting the levees because the levees were protecting black people."

Stephanie Baran's message to conference participants was that capitalism is the cause of racism in the world today. This adjunct professor at Kankakee Community College, who calls herself a vulgar Marxist, added that racism was invented in Colonial America by white capitalists as a tool to divide labor and keep the working class in their place.

Educator Paul Kivel explained what he sees as Christian hegemony, saying, "Very simply, I define it as the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites."

Speaker Leonard Zeskind -- according to the MacIver Institute, which covered the event -- explained that "the longer you are in the tea party the more racist you become." He added, "Parents put their kids in private schools because they're racist."

University of Iowa Professor Adrien Wing gave some of her observations about white privilege, asking, "Does having a black president change that? Has it changed that? Unfortunately, it hasn't. ... (President Obama) ends up being the front man for the system. ... He works for the master of the system of white privilege."

I can't imagine people being stupid enough to believe all that was said at the White Privilege Conference. There's something else at work. I think it's white guilt. That's why, for almost three decades, there has appeared on my website a certificate of amnesty and pardon that I've granted to Americans of European ancestry in the hope that they stop feeling guilty and stop acting like fools.


I will send my children private if I can't get them into a grammar [selective school]

The latest row to embroil the Education Secretary, Michael Gove - whether he did or didn’t want Of Mice and Men taken off the GCSE syllabus - took me juddering back to my schooldays.

That slender volume was a standard text at my comprehensive. I’d always had the suspicion that, being a novella, it was chosen because it was easier to read than, say, a weighty Dickens tome. And far easier to teach, too, when it was common for staff to spend up to two-thirds of a 50-minute lesson performing crowd control.

But reading Steinbeck was a tremendous leap forward from the texts I’d been given in my pre-GCSE year. Aged 14, I was staggered to be handed a brightly-coloured Roald Dahl book. Now I had adored and devoured Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - but at the age of seven. At 14, I craved something a little more challenging.

My comp, in rural Suffolk, wasn’t even particularly bog-standard. But it suffered, like so many mixed-ability schools, from the crushing and pervasive air of mediocrity. Poverty of ambition was the norm.

When my mother asked if I could sit an extra GCSE, in music, with the support of that teacher (I played two instruments to Grade VIII level, but had wanted to focus on languages), she was slapped down by the headmistress. “We do nine GCSEs here,” she was told. “There is no reason for anyone to do more.”

At 16 my parents got me into a girls’ grammar, over the border in Essex - one of the 14 local authorities in England that still operates a selective system. It was the biggest shock of my life.

No one did nine GCSEs there — 12, 13, 14, even 15 was not unusual. And the subjects! They studied Latin, Classics, even Mandarin. Shakespeare was on the curriculum from start. At my comp, Macbeth didn’t crop up until the final year.

Suddenly, the world was full of clever girls all gunning for places at top universities. Academic prowess was something to be envied and emulated. Most refreshingly of all, there was no disruption to lessons.

Since then, I’ve watched the attacks on grammar schools over the years with bemusement, frustration and growing anger. Last year Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw declared that they “failed to improve social mobility”. Really, Michael? Grammar schools are - sorry, that should be were - the reason a grocer’s daughter from the Midlands ended up in Number 10. Those who bemoan that the Cabinet is a cabal of ex-public schoolboys would do well to remember that.

The latest attack this week comes in the form of a study by academics from Bristol, Bath and London. They have found that grammar school pupils go on to earn more than their peers at comprehensives. Grammars, they say, create “an unequal society”, the implication being that they are a Bad Thing.

Twenty years on from studying Of Mice and Men, I see that “unequal society” in action all the time. The CVs I receive from young people who’ve attended comprehensives are invariably so badly punctuated that they go straight in the bin. One grammar school-educated friend, a barrister, would dearly love to give the annual pupillage at his chambers to someone from a state school. But when they so often lack the poise, confidence and oratory skills of their public school peers, that just isn’t possible.

The clamour for grammar school places has never been greater. My alma mater, Colchester County High School for Girls, received around six applicants per place when I was a child. Now, it is closer to 20. Last December 2,600 parents in Sevenoaks, Kent signed a petition demanding the creation of a new academically selective school in the town. But the school was blocked because it failed to clear legal obstacles put in place by the last Labour government.

The solution to improving social mobility, which shuddered to a halt some time ago in this country, is not, as the head of Ofsted would have it, to stymie the creation of more grammar schools. Far from it: let us have one in every town. But nor must children be written off at 11 as was so horribly common in the days of secondary moderns; standards must improve throughout the system.

Our neighbours in London have just sold up and moved to a village near Tunbridge Wells. They have no particular links or affinity with that town but, with two young children, they have been lured there by its excellent grammars.

With a new baby, my husband and I may be following them in a few years. Otherwise, we’ve agreed that we will have to pay.

We are extraordinarily fortunate that we are able to do so. That is what a grammar school education does for you.


100,000 foreign students go missing every year: College leavers from [South] Asia thought to be living on in Britain illegally

As many as 100,000 foreign students a year are thought to be staying on in Britain illegally after completing academic courses here.

The students – believed to be mostly from the Indian sub-continent – come to Britain to attend universities and colleges, according to official immigration figures.

But the Government’s tracking system has failed to find evidence that they ever left the country.

The missing thousands have been detected at a time when numbers of student visas and student entrants to the country from outside Europe have been scaled down steeply as part of the Coalition’s drive to reduce immigration to 1990s levels.

Some 177,000 people moved to Britain for long-term study last year, down from 246,000 in 2011.

But there is now growing evidence that many of the students who came into the country in recent years never left.

The MigrationWatch think-tank called on  ministers to set up an inquiry  into what has happened to the missing students and to trace  those still living in the country as illegal immigrants.

Office for National Statistics records show that last year 50,000 people from outside the EU who came to Britain to study returned home, but the numbers leaving fall far short of those arriving as students.

According to the ONS breakdown 145,000 non-EU students came to Britain in 2012; 185,000 in 2011; 186,000 in 2010; and 167,000 in 2009.

Most came from India and other south Asian countries. Numbers of students from China are thought to have grown to be the largest national contingent last year.

The student gap has opened up at a time when the focus of immigration concerns has switched largely to migrants from Europe, and the probability of a new wave of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria – whose citizens won the right to work freely in Britain at the start of the year.

Some of the growing attention to immigration and its effects is now likely to switch to arrivals from outside the EU and the numbers of students, whose arrival and departure is under the control of Home Secretary Theresa May.

Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch said: ‘It is very significant  that the number of non-EU students recorded as departing last year  was only 50,000, compared to an average inflow over the last five years of 155,000.

‘This suggests that students staying on legally or otherwise comprise a major part of net migration.  This issue of the missing students  is one that absolutely must now be tackled.

‘The education industry is in denial. Whatever the benefits of genuine students, which we all accept, it is absolutely absurd to accept near to 200,000 a year with no effective checks on their departure.’

In The National Audit Office is  to investigate claims that private universities are giving taxpayer-funded loans to thousands of students who don’t go to class.

Students have allegedly been claiming money without proper proof of UK residence following government reforms which allow private college students to claim maintenance loans and grants of up to £11,000 a year.

Colleges can receive £6,000 in tuition fees for each student enrolled.


No comments: