Friday, July 23, 2021

HATE: ‘Let Them Die,’ Intolerant PTA, NAACP Official Says of Critical Race Theory Foes

If you oppose critical race theory, you should die.

That was the message sent Thursday by an official of both the Virginia Parent Teacher Association and the state NAACP to a group of critical race theory supporters.

Here’s what Michelle Leete, vice president of communications for the Virginia state PTA and first vice president of the Fairfax County NAACP, yelled out to a crowd of critical race theory supporters:

Let’s meet and remain steadfast in speaking truth, tearing down double standards, and refuting double talk. Let’s not allow any double-downing on lies. Let’s prepare our children for a world they deserve.

Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions-policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let-live people.

Let them die. [Emphasis mine] Don’t let these uncomfortable people deter us from our bold march forward.

The “let them die” line was met not with stunned silence or gasps of disbelief, but applause and cheering. Those who cheered were counterprotesting a “Stop CRT Rally” that met before a Fairfax County School Board meeting.

The Virginia PTA on Friday released a statement in response to news accounts of Leete’s incendiary remarks, albeit without identifying her by name.

The Virginia PTA called Leete’s comments a “disturbing choice of words” and insisted that they don’t “reflect the values of” the organization. It said that board members, presumably including Leete, would soon participate in “sensitivity training.”

It was not exactly a strong rebuke or an apology.

Neighboring Loudoun County, Virginia, also a short distance from the nation’s capital, has received considerable media attention for a parent-led rebellion against critical race theory. But the issue is rapidly heating up in Fairfax County as well, and parents are rebelling there, too.

The Fairfax County school district has been aggressive in transforming its pedagogy toward critical race theory, “anti-racism,” and equity.

The district has likely paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for diversity consultants, according to documents obtained through public records requests, paid $20,000 for an hourlong lecture to teachers and administrators by anti-racist activist Ibram X. Kendi, and appears to be transforming its schools into what Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley, who is black, has called “social justice boot camps.”

Clearly, many parents of students there have seen enough and are organizing to stop the destruction of their children’s education.

The reaction of defenders of critical race theory: The nerve of those people! Don’t they know that the only people allowed to direct the education of children are social justice activists?

The forward march of history apparently means stomping on those who oppose it.

Asra Nomani, whose son recently graduated from Fairfax County Public Schools and who helps run the watchdog group Parents Defending Education, told The Daily Wire:

What we heard tonight was hate speech, pure and simple. It was shocking that anyone would cheer and applaud a call to violence … . Ironically, [Leete’s] hateful, intolerant words are a perfect illustration of the divisive ideology of critical race theory in action.

In the name of tolerance, it preaches intolerance and is a betrayal of all values of humanity and decency.

That’s for sure.

To say the outlook of Leete and others like her is noxious and a serious problem for a republican form of government that requires deliberation, consent, and compromise would be an understatement.

It’s a more extreme form of the message that’s been sent by the militantly woke, who increasingly treat any form of opposition to their radical ideas as illegitimate and “violence.”

In the minds of some, those who oppose the revolution are enemies who must be destroyed. That this message is coming from someone in a position of authority and with a significant platform like Leete is both telling and chilling.

If anything, the “let them die” message of Leete is a clear-cut example of why critical race theory and the ideology that springs from it is poisonous to a free people and has no place in K-12 classrooms.

This isn’t about teaching “honest” history or in reducing actual racism. It’s about indoctrinating the young to become foot soldiers for a radical political movement that teaches people to hate themselves, hate their country, hate their fellow citizens, or some combination of all three.


Mom of Bullied Daughter Speaks Out About California Schools’ ‘Indoctrination’

Celeste Fiehler knows how destructive identity politics can be. She lives it every day in a house divided over race and politics. And she says California’s push to make “ethnic studies” a statewide requirement to graduate from high school is only going to make matters worse.

“My life is hell,” she told The Epoch Times.

Fiehler, 40, is married with four children in the public school system and one in college. She is one of several local parents in La Quinta, California, who have spoken out against critical race theory (CRT) being taught in California schools.

The local Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) will offer a new ethnic studies course in the fall, and Fiehler is worried it will include CRT and racial ideas pushed by the California Teachers Association that promote concepts like “divorcing the default of whiteness,” which she sees as racism towards white people.

“It’s disgusting. It’s full-on racist. It’s so sad,” Fiehler told The Epoch Times.

“More and more, we hear from parents across the political spectrum who are outraged about what they see as indoctrination and a radical philosophy that divides students by color, and fails to instill a love for our country,” she said.

CRT stems from Marxist ideology, which focuses on class struggle between the “bourgeois” and the “proletariat.” But CRT adds a controversial racial component by focusing on the struggle between white “oppressors” and “oppressed” other races.

The theory has gained support among many left-wing activist groups, academia, and government in recent years. But over the past few months, parents have increasingly spoken out against CRT teachings they claim are hidden under the guise of “ethnic studies” and other euphemisms. Several states have banned CRT in public schools and other government institutions.

In response, the largest teachers union in the U.S., the National Educators Association (NEA), recently approved a resolution stating that CRT is “reasonable and appropriate” to teach to K-12 students. The group plans to “publicize” CRT and has dedicated staff to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.”

Bullying at School

A few years ago, Fiehler says her then 12-year-old daughter was bullied at school in the Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD). Fiehler says she was beaten at least six times.

Bullies also allegedly followed her home from school and hurled racial slurs at her, sometimes in Spanish, such as “stupid white girl,” “white Dora” (since she had bangs like the television character Dora the Explorer), and “rat.”

Fiehler wondered if her daughter was targeted for the color of her skin when she heard the bullies’ verbal attacks. She said district officials assured her the bullying began as a squabble over “boys.” But then it escalated into name-calling, racial slurs, mean-spirited texts, social media attacks, and physical violence, she said.

And when the bullies found out her stepfather worked in law enforcement, they harassed her about that, too.

“They texted her to kill herself,” Fiehler said. “My daughter wanted to end it all.”

Fiehler says she went to district officials to put a stop to the bullying, but “the school did nothing,” despite a “zero tolerance” policy. She also claims she found out her daughter’s school counselor was the grandmother of the “head bully,” and the mother was a principal at one of the high schools.

Fiehler decided in 2019 the best option was to pull her daughter out of the school and send her to live with her father in Nevada. “We are a blended family,” she said.

Her daughter, now 15, is back in California and will return to the same school district in the fall.


Arizona Governor Ducey signs bill to prevent teaching of critical race theory

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday signed a bill that would prevent local governments from teaching critical race theory in public schools or to government employees.

"I am not going to waste public dollars on lessons that imply the superiority of any race and hinder free speech,” Ducey said. “Here in Arizona, we’re going to continue to be leaders on civics education and teach important lessons about our nation’s history."

The law prohibits the state from requiring employees to partake in critical race theory training from government entities and prohibits such the practice in schools.

Ducey signing the bill into law comes as other Republican legislatures have pushed for anti-critical race theory bills such as the one now being considered in Texas' special legislative session.

The law targets teachings that "presents any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex." That includes programs that cause "discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of the individual's race, ethnicity, or sex," and bans teaching that "meritocracy or traits such as hard work ethic are racist or sexist."


Anger at Penn State sociology professor for singling out 'average white guy' in lecture theater to demonstrate his 'privilege'

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A sociology professor at Penn State university raised eyebrows after he called on an 'an average white guy' student during a discussion about white privilege.

Dr Sam Richards, known for his provocative and popular lectures, had a packed auditorium for his June 30 class, as part of a course described as 'an introductory class on race and culture'.

Richards marched into the crowd and chose at random a white student in a baseball cap and hoodie, who gave his name as Russell.

'I just take the average white guy in class, whoever it is, it doesn't really matter,' Richards said. 'Look at Russell, right here.

'It doesn't matter what he does. If I match him up with a black guy in class, or a brown guy, even, who's just like him, has the same GPA, looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, acts in a similar way, has been involved in the same groups on campus, takes the same leadership positions, whatever it is ... and we send them into the same jobs ... Russell has a benefit of having white skin.'

In another clip posted online, Richards ushered one white student and one black student to the front of the class and asked about privilege.

'Bro, how does it feel knowing that [when] push comes to shove your skin's kind of nice?' Richards asked the white student.

'I don't know, it makes me feel sad,' the student answered.

Critics on social media accused the professor of making students feel guilty for the color of their skin.

Conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan tweeted: 'The key to bigotry is taking a generalization and applying it to a random unique individual. Sue this professor.'

One Twitter user asked: 'When is Dr Sam Richards going to resign his position to a black professor due to his white privilege?'

Another noted: 'The saddest part is that the student answers that his skin color makes him sad.'

One woman said the United States was regressing. 'That is the whole idea behind all this CRT. Dividing all and looking only at the color of our skin. (we are going backwards)'

'How idiotic!!!' said another.

'We have no say in the color of our skin! We have a say on what we do and this teacher is doing damage on the future of our children by focusing on skin color.'

'This is racism. Pure and simple. To call out someone purely based on the color of their skin. Disgusting! This dude is a hater and he teaches how to hate white people. There is no other meaning to this.'

Penn State is yet to comment on the controversy.

The university offers courses looking at the theory, such as 'Race 101 Critical Dialogues: Introduction to Critical Race Theory'.

Republican politicians in Pennsylvania have brought forward bills attempting to ban CRT in public schools.

CRT has been taught at law schools since the 1970s, but now is a hot topic among Republicans, who argue that it teaches children and young people to discriminate against each other, and resent the history of the United States.

Some states, such as Idaho and Oklahoma, now restrict the use of CRT in public colleges and universities.

Other states, including Georgia and Utah, are actively considering similar legislation or administrative action.




Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Why Do Colleges Dislike Men? The Disappearing Collegiate Male


The estimable National Student Clearinghouse recently released data on spring 2021 enrollments. The press accounts stressed continuing decline; total numbers were down 3.5% from spring 2020 to spring 2021. By exploring the NSC website in greater detail, I learned that since spring 2011, total enrollment has fallen over 14 percent. In 2011, there were about 63 college students for every 1,000 American population; now there are less than 51, a decline of nearly 20 percent. As colleges shrink in immediate importance in people’s lives, support for colleges wanes.

Yet the aggregate numbers disguise a striking additional trend: the decline in male enrollment is dramatically greater than that for women. In the 2020-21 year, for example, the number of women enrolled declined by nearly 203,000, but the male decline was nearly double that, over 400,000. In the 2011-21 decade, spring enrollment for men fell strikingly more than 18%, nearly double the female decline.

If recent trends continue, we will soon reach a milestone: there will be more than three female students for every two male ones. Girl students may find it hard to get dates with guys!! Ironically, the reverse was the case a half century earlier; almost 60% of students in the 1969-70 school year were male. At that time, the burning issue was: should elite Ivy League schools admit female students! They did, and the number of all-male schools is approaching zero.

Some potential explanations seem unsupported by evidence. It is true, for example, that more young men are incarcerated than women, but that does not work as a good explanation of most of the changes of the last decade or two (possibly partially offsetting that, for example, both the number and proportion of young men in the armed forces has declined as a proportion of the population).

Let me throw out another, no doubt controversial possibility: young men increasingly feel colleges don’t want them. Professors and student activists rant about “white male privilege.” Colleges are trying to literally throw prominent dead white male alumni off campus, taking their names off buildings or even removing statutes. A group at Washington and Lee tried (unsuccessfully) to even take the name of a white male (Lee) out of the university’s name.

Assumed in all of this: our male ancestors, especially white ones, did lots of evil things that the present, more morally upright and sensitive generation needs to correct. Our largely male dominated past is not a good one. The diversity and inclusion bureaucracy on campuses are mainly preoccupied by racial issues, but also go out of their way to promote women as well. Men may be increasingly viewed by incoming college administrators as necessary evils, cash cows to help pay the bills.

As a consequence, some young guys are perhaps saying “the hell with it, I will get a good job in construction, as a computer coder or as a medical technician with limited non-collegiate postsecondary occupational training, avoiding the implicit campus ostracizing, while also escaping a ton of student debt.” I haven’t seen comprehensive gender breakdowns in enrollment in coding academies or welding schools, but a relative of mine graduating recently from truck driving school was in a class 81% male. I bet that is pretty typical. I suspect vocational schools take racial/gender bean-counting of students less seriously than universities trying to show their wokeness and politically correct commitment to eliminating racial, ethnic and gender barriers.

There are perhaps other good reasons for surging female enrollment relative to males. Girls on average do better in school, for example, and therefore may be better prepared for college. I also suspect that such sad modern trends as the decline in two parent families has led to dysfunctionalities in boy teen-agers more than girl ones. Fewer young women become dope dealers then men, for example.

If I were a college president at a school struggling for students, I would examine enrollment trends by gender and, if males have declined in numbers more than females, ask: what are we doing to turn men off to our school? Should “diversity and inclusion” mean numerical equality between men and women? Should we putting more pictures of happy male students in our brochures and internet promotions?


The Purists of the Campus

Mark Bauerlein

A couple of years ago, while doing a week of lectures in Australia, I was told by my hosts of an initiative to start a small Western Civilization degree program at the University of Sydney and other colleges in the nation. The program would be but one portion of the giant slate of offerings to undergraduates each term, a fledgling initiative that surely wouldn’t draw more than a handful of students in the first few years of its existence.

Traditional programs such as English and history would barely notice the program as it moved forward. Also, money to support the program would come from an outside source, so no loss of funding would be suffered by other campus units. (People off-campus should not underestimate the degree to which humanities departments see one another as competitors for scarce resources, not as colleagues in a mutual enterprise.)

But, my hosts told me, the proposal had been shot down. Activist faculty members mobilized against it, sending dire messages across the campus and forewarning administrators that this plan would become an irritating controversy if it proceeded. The basis for the protest was all too predictable. The profs decried the focus on Western Civilization, which by 2018 was routinely characterized as white supremacy. They objected as well to the private funding, which they treated as a cheap bribe aimed at inserting conservative content into the curriculum without undergoing faculty oversight. Worse, the professors might find some conservative teachers hired behind their backs. It had to be killed.

We needn’t go into more detail, only remark on the disproportions. (You can find more faculty responses to the proposal with a quick internet search.) On one side we had a modest effort to add a traditionalist element to the vast array of humanities courses available at the schools every term, a good portion of them taking a progressivist angle on the materials. The slice of the pie that Western Civ would take amounted to barely a sliver of the whole. And on the other side, we had a faculty reaction that treated this effort as if it were a Fifth Column, the first step in an insidious indoctrination, the machinations of dark forces out to undermine the very integrity of higher education. The advocates of the program were modest and conciliatory; the professors were fearful and indignant. Why the outsized response?

I’ve seen it before, this strange impulse to keep the conservatives and traditionalists out, to keep them away, expel them all and for good. The Western Civ faction at Sydney would never be more than a tiny piece of ground on the campus, and it would have virtually no institutional power at all. If the program did manage to hire a few traditionalist teachers, in a college-wide faculty meeting they would be outnumbered 50-to-1. Their votes on curriculum and other matters wouldn’t change anything. Ideological control by the left would not be jeopardized.

Clearly, though, control wasn’t enough, nor was domination. This was more extreme, and it was wholly familiar. I’ve observed it again and again in four decades on campus. At academic conferences and within many institutions I’ve seen people with advanced degrees and in secure positions bristle at the bare presence of a conservative voice in the proceedings, though it be one voice out of 20, powerless and solitary. They’ve sat in uncomfortable silence in contemplation of that disagreeable figure on the other side of the table, and they’ve risen to speak in righteous tones if the conservative himself took an opportunity to give an opinion.

The dynamic makes you think less of politics and more of purification. Better to interpret it with the eyes of an anthropologist than those of a political scientist. That’s what it looks like as it unfolds, a group psychology in action. The professors act as if conservatism is just that, a contaminant, an impurity, a bad apple that will, indeed, spoil the whole bunch. The invasive vine must be weeded out; the hallways must be cleansed.

What do calls for intellectual diversity mean in this climate? Absolutely nothing; or, no, they mean something much worse: the allowance of a toxin into the system. Conservatives typically understand leftist anti-conservatism as a form of political arrogance, but the attitude runs deeper than that. It’s visceral. Conservatives aren’t just wrong, confused, misguided. No, they’re noxious. The logic is elementary: Why should a deliberative group admit morally repugnant members? No, they can’t be introduced to the polity, not a single one of them. They can’t be fixed or cured. They’re irredeemable, as Hillary Clinton stated quite bluntly.

Everyone recalls the “deplorables” part of her infamous remarks, but not so much that follow-up verdict: “Now, some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” In concluding that “they are not America,” Mrs. Clinton frames them as a foreign element, a virus within the body politic. The language is unmistakable. It says, “You conservatives—not all of you, I grant, but a lot of you—you may live in this country, you may pay taxes and own property, but you don’t really belong here, you’re not really American.”

The irony in this is, of course, that conservatives are the ones accused of a nativist attitude, who are said to be anti-pluralist and xenophobic. If I had a dollar for all the times I have heard leftist academics say that conservatives are “threatened” by the advance of women and minorities in the professions, that they’re “afraid” of postcolonialism and other innovations, I’d be in a much higher tax bracket. I recall a faculty dinner long ago when a professor at the table said that very thing (relative to Queer Theory), and I replied, “No, I think they just disagree with it.” That brought a pause to the conversation, with no follow-up, and we moved on to other subjects. We had to. If liberal professors accepted conservative responses to left-wing developments as having intellectual grounds, the norms of academia would demand an intellectual rejoinder. That in itself would grant conservatism a seat at the table, a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. If conservative opinion is emotional, however, if it has a neurotic basis, then it doesn’t merit any substantive consideration at all. It must be cancelled.

Yes, cancellation was the process. Conservatives were not beaten in debate, defeated in the marketplace of ideas, or persuaded of the superiority of liberal aims. No, they were simply removed, displaced, not hired and not encouraged to try. Campus liberals and leftists had to get rid of all the old-fashioned ones, because the continuance of a single one of them suggested that the position was, perhaps, a viable one, if a minority preference. It would jeopardize the categorical dismissal of conservatism.

Hence, the overreaction of the professors at Sydney and a thousand other campuses. As with so many other innovations of the Age of Woke, the campus was a testing ground for social transformation. It proved that pluralism was not a binding ideal. Leftist professors could ramp up the tensions to dire threat levels, frame conservatism as a poison, and act in wholly illiberal ways with full justification—and moderate center-left professors wouldn’t object. This is why the conservative/libertarian calls for free speech and intellectual diversity accomplished nothing. They assumed a First Amendment-based culture that no longer exists.

Conservatives are never going to out-argue and out-debate their academic adversaries. They must develop other methods, all of which begin with this premise: they despise us—they abhor us—they don’t want us around … and they guard the gates, the portals, and the pipeline with ever greater vigilance


Educators around the country have come out to condemn a 'Dismantling Racism in Mathematics' program which tells teachers not to push students to find the correct answers to math problems because doing so promotes white supremacy.

The program is centered around a workbook for teachers entitled 'A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction' which asserts that America's education system – even mathematics instruction – reinforces the dominant power structures of white colonizers.

Grading students, asking them to show their work, requiring participation and even pushing them to get the right answer are depicted in the workbook as harmful to minorities.

The workbook was created by Oakland, California-based advocacy group The Education Trust-West under its 'Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction' initiative, which is funded through a $1million grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

So far, the workbook is being used by school districts in Georgia, Ohio, California and Oregon, according to education news site The 74 Million.

It's part of a larger push nationwide to have students learn about critical race theory, which teaches that racism against minorities is embedded in every aspect of life - even in something as seemingly cut-and-dry as math.

But many critics of the workbook say it actually reinforces negative stereotypes and drives wedges between students according to their race.

'The workbook's ultimate message is clear: Black kids are bad at math, so why don't we just excuse them from really learning it,' Erec Smith, a professor of rhetoric and composition at York College of Pennsylvania and co-founder of Free Black Thought, told The 74 Million.

Despite its use by districts in California, state board members recently voted against using it in the redesign of the state's math curriculum.

And while The 74 Million reported that Georgia schools have used it in, the state's board of education recently passed a resolution banning critical race theory from being taught in its schools.

Supporters of critical race theory say it helps illuminate the obstacles faced by BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) individuals in every aspect of life, including the classroom, which their white counterparts do not have to worry about.

But critics claim it is unnecessarily divisive, and teaches children that they are either victims or oppressors from an early age.

Georgia joined Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Montana and Idaho in banning the teaching of the theory. There are 10 other states discussing a ban, including Texas, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, West Virginia, San Dakota, North Carolina and Louisiana.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Education hosted a seminar on antiracism in education in February, which featured the controversial math workbook.

'The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false,' reads the manual. 'Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates "objectivity." '

Instead, it encourages teachers to have more than one answer for math problems, refrain from calling on students to answer problems for the class, relate math to minority students' experiences and provide examples of how math is used by political revolutionaries.

'Identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.' The workbook reads.

'Math enjoyed this notion that it was somehow above the influence of the cultural and political issues of our time,' Rachel Ruffalo, the director of educator engagement at The Education Trust-West, told The 74 Million.

'We live in a toxic culture that affects us all; one dynamic of the culture is that we are discouraged from seeing it,' reads a stand-out introduction to the book. 'One of our tasks is to learn to see our culture and how it teaches us to make normal that which is not and should never be normal.'

Williamson Evers, who worked for the U.S. Department of Education under George W. Bush, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal after the workbook started trending among educators in California, shortly before state board members recommended nixing it.

If adapted into curriculum, Evers said that it would discourage students from succeeding in math class and put them behind students in other countries.

'If California education officials have their way, generations of students may not know how to calculate an apartment's square footage or the area of a farm field, but the 'mathematics' of political agitation and organizing will be second nature to them,' he wrote.

But even proponents of teaching antiracism have said that the book contradicts the very ideas it's trying to promote.

John McWhorter, a Free Black Thought contributor and professor of linguistics and music history at Columbia University, recently published a blog post denouncing the workbook.

'It claims to be about teaching math while founded on shielding students from the requirement to actually do it,' he wrote. 'Humans may sacrifice the black kid from the work of mastering the gift of math, in favor of showing that they are enlightened enough to understand that her life may be affected by racism and that therefore she should be shielded from anything that is a genuine challenge . . . this is not pedagogy; it is preaching.'

David Barnes, the associate executive director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, also shared reservations about the workbook.

'Are we building bridges or throwing grenades?' he asked. 'When you get to page two and what's bolded is "dismantling white supremacy," there are some people that cannot read past that.'

But supporters of the workbook say that its message is being taken out of context.

They argue that its teachings are more about making math more relatable and understandable to every student in the classroom.

Josie McSpadden, a spokeswoman at the Gates Foundation, defended the project in an interview with The 74 Million.

'At times, research has shown that racial bias and student mindsets can affect student academic achievement,' she said, adding the workbook, 'highlights a critical discussion — how students arrive at answers and demonstrate their understanding and conceptual grasp of important math concepts.'


Now 'trigger warning' is banned by Brandeis University along with the 'offensive' phrases 'picnic', 'rule of thumb' and 'take a shot at it'

A liberal arts college in Massachusetts has warned its students and faculty against using 'violent language' - even banning the phrase 'trigger warning' for its association with guns.

Brandeis University in Waltham has created an anti-violence resource called the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center which provides information and advice to students and staff.

It lists words and idioms, including 'picnic' and 'rule of thumb,' which it claims are 'violent' and suggests dreary alternatives such as 'outdoor eating' for the former and 'general rule' for the latter.

The college claims that 'picnic is often associated with lynchings of black people in the United States, during which white spectators were said to have watched while eating, referring to them as picnics or other terms involving racial slurs against black people.'

Picnic is derived from the French 'pique-nique,' originally used to describe the taking of one's own wine to a meal, which later evolved to encompass the sharing of food outdoors and started being used in England in the 18th century.

Lynchings were often public spectacles and could be described as taking place in a picnic-like setting. A project by the Equal Justice Initiative entitled 'Lynching in America' notes that during the late 1800s and early 1900s, 'white men, women, and children present watched the horrific murders while enjoying deviled eggs, lemonade, and whiskey in a picnic-like atmosphere.'

However, the word picnic itself is not derogatory and has no intrinsic links to slavery, lynchings or racism.

Brandeis also disagrees with 'rule of thumb' which it claims 'comes from an old British law allowing men to beat their wives with sticks no wider than their thumb.'

But this is another spurious etymological interpretation which has been wrongly attached to the phrase by myth and rumour.

The precise origins of the phrase are unclear but it is meant in the sense of approximating something using the thumb rather than a specific tool - there is no evidence of a legal application to wife beating.

It was first used in print in 1865 by Scottish preacher James Durham who writes: 'Many profest Christians are like to foolish builders, who build by guess, and by rule of thumb (as we use to speak), and not by Square and Rule.'

Among the most absurd phrases that the university objects to is 'trigger warning,' the very term which was coined to help those who might be offended by language.

Brandeis suggests that instead of 'trigger warning,' speakers should use 'content note' or 'drop-in.'

'The word "trigger" has connections to guns for many people; we can give the same head's up using language less connected to violence,' the anti-violence group says.

In addition to its page of 'violent language' the college has a whole section dedicated to 'oppressive language,' which includes 'identity-based language,' 'language that doesn't say what we mean,' 'culturally appropriative language' and 'person-first language.'

For example, the phrase 'abusive relationships' is not appropriate because 'relationships don't perpetrate abuse; abusers do. It is important to name that someone is responsible.'

Instead we should say, 'relationship with an abuser.'

Other linguistic leaps are to be found for 'disabled person', which is corrected to 'person with a disability'; 'addict,' which should be phrased 'person with a substance use disorder'; and 'prostitute,' where the phrase 'person who engages in sex work,' is recommended.

The university provides a form where students and faculty members can submit further 'oppressive words' to be added for consideration.




Monday, July 19, 2021

Teacher reveals how cancel culture's made her terrified of saying wrong thing

A few weeks ago, the headmaster of a South-East London school made headlines when he suggested that teachers are ‘walking on eggshells’ and ‘terrified of using the wrong word’.

He cited ‘a righteous generation of children looking for the micro-aggressions that will trip teachers up’. I wanted to cheer. I felt — as the kids might say — ‘seen’.

If you’re blissfully unaware of the word micro-aggression, let me enlighten you. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as ‘a small act or remark that makes someone feel insulted because of their race, sex, etc, even though the insult may not have been intended’.

As a straight, white woman in my 50s, teaching in a culturally diverse inner-city comprehensive, avoiding micro-aggressions feels like just another thing to add to my mental to-do — or don’t — list.

I have taught in challenging situations for more than 20 years, but my job has never felt more fraught than it does today. Because, regardless of my intentions, a simple remark such as ‘Girls, could you stop talking please?’ could see me accused of misgendering a pupil, while carelessly picking a picture for a presentation could well be construed as racism. Think that sounds OTT? Here is an example.

I am a geography teacher, so say I need to illustrate a lesson about wealth distribution. I do a quick Google image search for ‘rich people’ and pick the first photo that pops up. If it only has white people in it, you could be suggesting only white people can be well-off when actually it was just very late, and you were tired and didn’t think.

But in this job, you can’t not think. From 8.30am until the last pupil goes home, you’re on all the time.

Including my form, I teach up to 100 kids every day, and I see hundreds more if on lunch duty. It would only take one of them to take against me — they don’t even need to actively hate me, they might just think my lesson was boring, or that it would be a laugh — and they could seize upon something like this and make my life hell, even lose me my job.

Think back to how you tormented teachers when you were at school. You probably weren’t nasty, just a teenager wielding whatever power you could.

In the current ‘woke’ climate, pupils have more power than ever. They know the slightest slip by a teacher can be weaponised, so we must be constantly on our guard.

We get no training in this at all. It’s something you have to figure out from the mistakes you make, the mistakes other people make and things you read in the papers — such as the teacher from Batley, West Yorkshire, who was suspended in March for showing pupils a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed from French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Although cleared of causing deliberate offence, that teacher has refused to return to work because he fears for his life.

Then there’s the head at London’s Pimlico Academy who resigned after pupils staged a protest about the school flying the Union Jack, which they believed to be racist.

They had previously protested that a uniform code stipulating students could not have haircuts that ‘block the view of others’ effectively banned Afro styles, and so was racist, and demanded that the history curriculum be ‘decolonised’ because it focuses on ‘white kings and queens’.

The problem is, we don’t set the curriculum, and the people who do don’t come to our defence.

The history curriculum does focus on white kings and queens, friends in the English department do have to teach books mostly written by white men — and that’s hard when you’re in a multi-cultural school. But it’s teachers who bear the brunt of it, not the people higher up the food chain.

It’s like walking a woke tightrope. You always feel as if you’re one step away from losing your job.

We’re expected to talk to pupils about religion and racism as part of PSHE — personal, social, health and economic education. That was where I tripped up.

I told the class an anecdote from when I started out in teaching. I aimed to emphasise how bad the language used back then was and show the progress being made.

I recalled speaking to a young girl of Pakistani origin while a (white) parent was waiting to talk to me. As the girl walked off, the parent audibly remarked: ‘I can’t believe I had to wait for you to stop talking to a P***.’

Before I said it, I warned them I was going to use an offensive word that we wouldn’t use these days, but I wanted to say it so they could understand how things had changed and how I hoped they would never face that sort of thing in the future.

A few days later, one of the boys who had been in the class told me his dad was going to ‘get me’ for calling him a P***. I was terrified, not only at the threat of violence, but also about the potential repercussions of being labelled racist.

I went straight to my union rep for advice. Had I been wrong? Could I lose my job? Fortunately the school backed me. They understood the reason why I told the story — but I haven’t told it since, and never will again.

Who knows what the next flashpoint will be? What’s acceptable and what’s not seems to change with the wind.

When I was growing up, racists would refer to ‘brown people’, but right-on types like me would say ‘Asian’. Now ‘Asian’ is considered offensive, as it lumps together everyone from Japan to India. But now I hear pupils using the term ‘black and brown people’.

Six months ago, it was OK to talk about ‘white privilege’, but there’s since been a report that suggests the term holds working-class white kids back. Even something like forgetting a name, or mixing up two pupils, is fraught with danger.

I try hard to remember every child’s name, but am in constant paralysing fear of accidentally calling, for example, one black girl another black girl’s name and that I’ll be accused of ‘thinking they all look the same’ and being racist —when it’s just that my menopausal memory has failed me. Of course, I’d be just as likely to call a white pupil the name of another white pupil.

I’m not sure there’d be disciplinary action, but who wants to be labelled the racist teacher?

It’s like religious festivals — I try to check the dates of any that might mean my pupils are fasting. For if a child is falling asleep in lessons, and I call them out for it and it turns out they’re exhausted as they’ve been fasting, that could be considered a micro-aggression.

Keeping up with this stuff is like another full-time job on top of the (more than) full-time job I already have. And it’s exhausting.

Then there’s the pupils who change their pronouns — that’s absolutely fine. If a child is struggling with their gender identity and decides they want to change their pronouns, I will make every effort to use the terms they feel comfortable with — but sometimes I just don’t know.

Maybe they’ve told their form tutor, who meant to send an email but didn’t get around to it. Maybe they sent the email but it was one of the 400 I didn’t have time to read before school that morning. It hasn’t happened to me, but I know of teachers being suspended pending an investigation into that sort of thing. You don’t have to be guilty to be made to look guilty.

I don’t want to suggest pupils shouldn’t have the right to be spoken to in a way that makes them feel comfortable. But equally, teachers need to be given the benefit of the doubt.

No one goes into teaching because they want to insult their pupils. They do so because they want to make children’s lives better.

We’re still trying to do that, it’s just we’re doing it in an era when social media is full of mob-stirring rhetoric that gives pupils ideas, and means already overworked teachers are forever anxious they can’t do right for doing wrong.

The maddening thing is teachers can’t lead the debate on this. If you stick your head above the parapet, you risk your career — that’s why I’m writing anonymously.

And ironically, the people who seem to be setting the rules of what is and isn’t acceptable are not those who know children best, who have done the most research, or are the most intelligent, they’re simply the ones who are most vocal on Twitter.

And it has to stop.


North Korean defector says 'even North Korea was not this nuts' after attending Ivy League school

image from

Yeonmi Park was shocked by the oppressive culture within the university, reminding her of the country she fled.

As American educational institutions continue to be called into question, a North Korean defector fears the United States' future "is as bleak as North Korea" after she attended one of the country's most prestigious universities.

Yeonmi Park has experienced plenty of struggle and hardship, but she does not call herself a victim.

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found.

"I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think," Park said in an interview with Fox News. "I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying."

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.

Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school.

During orientation, she was scolded by a university staff member for admitting she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen.

"I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing," recalled Park.

"Then she said, 'Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’"

It only got worse from there as Yeonmi realized that every one of her classes at the Ivy League school was infected with what she saw as anti-American propaganda, reminiscent to the sort she had grown up with.

"’American Bastard' was one word for North Koreans" Park was taught growing up.

"The math problems would say 'there are four American bastards, you kill two of them, how many American bastards are left to kill?'"

She was also shocked and confused by issues surrounding gender and language, with every class asking students to announce their preferred pronouns.

"English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say 'he' or 'she' by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them 'they'? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?"

"It was chaos," said Yeonmi. "It felt like the regression in civilization."

"Even North Korea is not this nuts," she admitted. "North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy."

After getting into a number of arguments with professors and students, eventually Yeonmi "learned how to just shut up" in order to maintain a good GPA and graduate.

In North Korea, Yeonmi Park did not know of concepts like love or liberty.

"Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like," said Yeonmi, who by the age of 13 had witnessed people drop dead of starvation right before her eyes.

"These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they've experienced. They don't know how hard it is to be free," she admonished.

"I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free. But what I did was nothing, so many people fought harder than me and didn't make it."

Park and her mother first fled the oppressive North Korean regime in 2007, when Yeonmi was 13 years old.

After crossing into China over the frozen Yalu River, they fell into the hands of human traffickers who sold them into slavery: Yeonmi for less than $300 and her mother for roughly $100.

With the help of Christian missionaries, the pair managed to flee to Mongolia, walking across the Gobi Desert to eventually find refuge in South Korea.

In 2015 she published her memoir "In Order to Live," where she described what it took to survive in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships and the harrowing journey to freedom.

"The people here are just dying to give their rights and power to the government. That is what scares me the most," the human right activist said.

She accused American higher education institutions of stripping people's ability to think critically.

"In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving," she recalled. "He's the fattest guy - how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said 'Look at him, he's the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.' And I was like, 'Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?' Because I never learned how to think critically."

"That is what is happening in America," she continued. "People see things but they've just completely lost the ability to think critically."


Defund the Universities

The left’s slogan “Defund the police” makes no sense. It doesn’t follow from the injustice perpetrated on George Floyd. The natural inference from that incident is to hold accountable that particular policeman, together with any of his accomplices. But nothing more follows from that, least of all that all police departments are systematically bigoted and discriminatory. It’s not clear that Derek Chauvin’s treatment of Floyd was even due to his race.

While we shouldn’t defund the police, however, there’s another institution that deserves to be defunded: the American universities. I’m not merely suggesting that states defund their public universities. I’m recommending that all funding for universities, both private and public, be withdrawn. Even private colleges benefit from, and depend on, a whole array of government subsidies from grants and loans to students, research money, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and other military provisions, and so on. It’s time to end all of it.

Naturally, this raises the fear that the complete removal of government money would cause the university system to collapse. This is not something to be feared; it’s something to be eagerly anticipated. Why? Because the university system is rotten to the core. It deserves to collapse. It’s not even important to ask, “What will replace it?” We’ll figure that out later. My claim is that universities today are so poisonous to the society that simply getting rid of the poison is the first step to a restoration of true education.

Funding our universities today is like giving money to our foreign enemies. Just as our foreign enemies work assiduously to destroy our society and our culture, so too, the universities are doing the same, but domestically, internally. They’re the enemy within. And the tragedy is that we have been giving them money to do it. Thus, we, no less than they, are to blame for the harm they’re doing. Their future is in our hands, and by cutting them off, we save ourselves and our children.

If you’re wondering what universities have done to deserve this strong action—I would call it strong medicine—I’d like to focus on a single story that provides a stark illustration of how badly things have gone wrong in American higher education. What makes this story so compelling, and horrifying, is that it occurred at Columbia University—an Ivy League school, and thus one of America’s top institutions—but it could easily have occurred at any major college or university. All of them are rotted enough to deserve the axe.

Yeonmi Park, now 27, grew up in North Korea. She and her mother fled that totalitarian regime in 2007, when she was 13. After braving the frozen Yalu River, they entered China where they were captured by human traffickers who sold them as slaves. Yeonmi’s mother went for $100; Yeonmi fetched a somewhat higher price of $300.

Fortunately, some Christian missionaries intervened and helped Yeomni and her mother to flee to Mongolia by walking across the Gobi Desert, and they eventually found protection in South Korea. Yeonmi’s story is told in her memoir “In Order to Live,” where she describes life under one of the world’s most brutal tyrannies and her providential escape to freedom.

In 2016, Yeonmi transferred from a South Korean university to Columbia, where she was instantly shocked by what she encountered. “I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think,” she told Fox News in a recent interview. “But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think. … I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea.”

During her orientation, Yeonmi told a Columbia administrator she enjoyed reading Jane Austen. Yeonmi recalls the woman replied, “Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots … and are subconsciously brainwashing you.” Yeonmi says the bullying, the intimidation, the ideological propaganda only got worse from there.

In North Korea, she said, she was propagandized with anti-Western themes, the idea of the collective guilt of the white man, and a rigid political correctness drawn from Marxist ideology. To her astonishment, she found that Columbia was pushing the same anti-Western agenda on its students.

“It felt like a regression in civilization,” she said. “Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.” Yeonmi realized that there was nothing she could do to fight back. She “learned how to just shut up” in order to keep up her grades and graduate.

“Because I’ve seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said. These kids “keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. … North Koreans, we don’t have internet, we don’t have access to Shakespeare or any of these great thinkers, we don’t know. But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed. And they deny it.”

As a result of the kind of indoctrination pushed by professors and administrators in American universities, students in this country “have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend.”

“Where are we going from here?” she said. “There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos.”

One can almost feel the frustration, bordering on despair, in her words. I remember this same tone in the voice and writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the famous Soviet dissident. He was protesting the indoctrination and censorship of Soviet Russia. Yeonmi Park is protesting the indoctrination and censorship of the American elite university. In both cases, they’re exposing the closing of the human mind.

Enough! Why are we putting up with this in our own country? Why are we subsidizing the brainwashing of our own sons and daughters? Why are we giving money to institutions committed to the destruction of our values? We need to close these places down, put the professors and administrators out to pasture, and build new institutions where genuine learning takes place. Defund them all!


New Jersey School District Eliminates Holidays’ Names to be ‘Inclusive’

A New Jersey school district has voted to eliminate “the names of all religious and secular holidays from the school calendar … opting for the more generic description ‘Day Off,'” reports the Washington Times. You can guess the reason. They used those increasingly popular words — “inclusive” and “equitable.”

No more Christmas, Hanukkah, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or even Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly known as Columbus Day). Maybe they should keep April Fools’ Day because that accurately reflects their decision. Or, since they have chosen “Day Off,” they could name them after the film character Ferris Bueller.

New Jersey State Senator Anthony M. Bucco tells me: “We’re getting to a point where it’s becoming acceptable to sanitize American history and our shared, diverse culture to please a small politically correct minority. Americans should stand up to this nonsense when it comes to their communities and fight back.”

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the country’s 10th largest school district, school board member Abrar Omeish was invited to deliver the commencement address to Justice High School, formerly known as J.E.B. Stuart High School. The name was changed as part of the continuing effort to eradicate anything related to slavery and the Confederacy. J.E.B. Stuart was an officer in the Confederate Army.

Omeish was a co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Virginia. She is also a spokeswoman for the group “No Muslim Ban Ever.”

Before her speech, reports, a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but not the one we are used to: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under Allah, indivisible, and with liberty and justice for all.”

Under Allah?

Omeish said the U.S. was guilty of stealing land from Native Americans. She also denounced “extreme capitalism, individualism and white supremacy.” She has previously made remarks The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington has said “target and marginalize Jewish students and their families.”

These and other incidents and decisions made by school boards across the country have raised the ire of many parents. Some have shown up at public board meetings, denouncing members. Others are engaged in recall efforts. The question is whether any of their replacements will be better than the current ones and would they also give in to pressure from various groups that want to “fundamentally transform America,” as former president Obama pledged to do?

This summer offers a unique opportunity for parents and their children. After more than a year of distance learning that has left some students behind, especially those in marginalized communities, now is an excellent time to rethink our entire education system. Public education, established three centuries ago with values that are in sharp contrast to what is taught today, has long exceeded its expiration date.

Parents should take advantage of school choice in states that allow them to choose the schools — public, private, religious, or home school — which best teach subjects that matter and at a minimum do not undermine the country, its history (good and bad), their faith and societal values.

The pandemic has allowed many parents to see the contrast between what many public schools have become — missionaries” for a far-left and secular agenda — and what they were taught as students in an altogether different country.

Whatever school board changes might occur, parents have it in their hands to make a lasting difference by depriving the system of raw material — their children — who in many cases are being indoctrinated with secular progressive ideas. President Joe Biden wants to begin molding young minds even earlier. He has proposed free pre-K classes.

An admonition by the late first lady Barbara Bush seems even more important today: “Your success as a family … our success as a nation … depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

And in schools.