It’s a good thing California has all of their other “issues” worked out so they can find time to work on further indoctrinating the state’s children while the schools still have them in their clutches. Apparently using the ongoing racial and civil unrest currently wreaking havoc in our nation’s cities as cover, the Golden State is reviving a previously abandoned plan to mandate a full-semester class in “ethnic studies” for all K-12 students. What’s the harm in that, you might ask. It can’t hurt for students to be more aware of the various, diverse groups that make up the nation’s population, right? I would tend to agree with that statement, at least in general terms, but you just know that our friends on the left coast have found a way to twist the concept into something far more woke and disruptive to actual inclusiveness. And they definitely have done just that. (Wall Stree Journal, subscription required)
Last year California’s Assembly passed its ethnic-studies bill known as AB 331 by a 63-8 vote. Then the state department of education put forward a model curriculum so extreme and ethnocentric that the state Senate’s Democratic supermajority balked. The curriculum said among other things that “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.”
The bill was put on ice, but protests and riots in recent months gave Sacramento’s mavens of racial division more leverage. The education department delivered a new draft model curriculum this month, and AB 331 has been revived. It passed a Senate committee Aug. 20 and is expected to go before the full body soon. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, the legislation would require all school districts to offer a semester-long ethnic studies class starting in 2025.
Teaching a course on “ethnic studies” is just about as specific and descriptive as a “women’s studies” course. It could mean almost anything. But in the case of California, they’re not really talking about differences in cultural norms or even socio-economic conditions and how they vary across communities. The few details being offered thus far shed a bit of light on what students will be learning in these courses and, obviously, the class would have been more appropriately named “Social Justice 101.”
As the Wall Street Journal points out, this curriculum makes the New York Times’ “1619 project” look moderate and balanced. If AB 331 is passed, students will learn about ways to “build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.” In other words, this would be a K-12 version of In Defense of Looting. But that’s only the beginning. We’re just getting warmed up here.
Teachers will be encouraged to teach about “examples of systems of power.” Those are to include capitalism and patriarchy. Capitalism is inherently flawed, you see, because it produces unequal outcomes for some individuals, frequently in communities of color. And, of course, the patriarchy is how America keeps the womenfolk barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. On top of all that, the children will learn about “the four ‘I’s of oppression”—ideological, institutional, interpersonal and internalized.
In other words, the state is looking to produce a new generation of young adults who leave high school with a built-in victim mentality. Everything should be provided to them on a silver platter with the same level of satisfaction as everyone else. And if you’re not getting what you deserve out of the system you have to be ready to take it.
This is particularly disappointing because a well-structured course in ethnic studies could actually be quite useful. I sort of wish we’d had such a thing when I was going to school in the sixties and seventies. The majority of American communities seem to have distinct partitions where families of the same race, religion and economic status clump together. (As you would naturally expect to happen.) But learning about the differences in how other families live and see the world could definitely be beneficial. And that goes in both directions, by the way. It’s just as important for students of color to learn that not all White people are raised to be racist oppressors as it is for White students to not look at different races or religions as some sort of “dangerous other” by default. But that’s hardly what California plans to deliver. In fact, they’ll be doing quite the opposite.