Diversity and Racism

Eileen F. Toplansky
On January 18, 2013, Rush Limbaugh had a caller who explained that she was "going to school to become a teacher ... and from the first class that [she] took in education[, she and the other prospective teachers] were being taught as teachers that [they] are racists."  She explained:

We are inherently racist and, in order for us to be effective teachers, we have to acknowledge our inner racism, whether we know it or not.

Her call was in response to the story at the Delavan-Darien High School in Wisconsin, where parents discovered that "teachers are teaching basically that the white population in this country has been racist and bigoted."  One parent explained that the school was "dividing the students.  They're saying to non-whites, 'You have been oppressed and you're still being oppressed.'"  Basically, "this is a radical left agenda and ideology that is now embedded in our school."  It is an anti-Western civilization agenda that teaches that "[w]hite Europeans brought with them racism, sexism, environmental destruction, homophobia, all of that." 

This is reminiscent of the case in November 2007 where the University of Delaware made a decision to "subject its students to mandatory 'treatment' where they learn[ed] that 'all whites are racist,' racism by 'people of color' is impossible, and George Washington is merely a 'famous Indian fighter, large landholder and slave holder.'"

After the case was brought to the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the school finally dropped the program, but clearly the insidious indoctrination continues.  In the University of Delaware case, students were required to learn the following:

A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination [.]

REVERSE RACISM: A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give 'preferential treatment' to people of color over whites.

A NON-RACIST: A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called 'blaming the victim'). Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing a racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent.

Have you ever heard a well-meaning white person say, 'I'm not a member of any race except the human race?' What she usually means by this statement is that she doesn't want to perpetuate racial categories by acknowledging that she is white. This is an evasion of responsibility for her participation in a system based on supremacy for white people.

This one-sided, decidedly self-serving cant has permeated every aspect of our lives.  A poster from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Visiting Scholars Program asserts "its commitment to creating a corporate environment that reflects the diversity of its test takers ... from  underrepresented groups to examine fairness and other issues of test design and development while learning to write and review test questions and related materials [.]"

What exactly is a "fairness issue" in test creation?  And why bother with the euphemistic "underrepresented group" lingo?  At a Fisk University Academic Affairs Newsletter, "women and minority scholars and students" are sought.

Or one can turn to the January 18, 2013 piece entitled "Noncognitive Measures Are 'Not a Magic Wand'" by Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education to learn that at a "conference ... hosted by the University of Southern California's Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, many attendees have predicted that the future of college admissions will include more assessments of attributes not captured by standardized-test scores and grade-point averages.  As science reveals more and more about what matters in learning, it follows that our measures of merit will evolve."  Thus:

Patrick Kyllonen, senior research director of the Educational Testing Service's Center for Academic and Workforce Readiness and Success, said noncognitive assessments could help colleges better serve students once they enroll-and help employers make better hiring decisions.

Like the "fairness issue," it is quite unclear what non-cognitive assessments are. 

But should we really be surprised by this obfuscation and history turned upside-down?  In the Winter 2012-2013 issue of American Educator, Professor Sam Wineburg writes about how Howard Zinn's well-known history text A People's History falls short, since it is as "radical in its rhetoric as in its politics."  Replete with examples, Wineburg's exposé shows how "Zinn plays fast and loose with historical context" and basically ignores "a quarter century of new historical scholarship [that has] shed light on his original formulations." 

Nonetheless, Zinn's text "remains a perennial favorite in courses for future teachers, and in some, it is the only history book on the syllabus."  Wineberg explains that Zinn's text "relies almost entirely on secondary sources, with no archival research to thicken its narrative."  Additionally, "the book is naked of footnotes, thwarting inquisitive readers who seek to retrace the author's interpretative steps."  Wineburg maintains that:

... Zinn's undeniable charisma becomes educationally dangerous[.] The danger mounts when we are talking about how we educate the young, those who do not yet get the interpretive game, who are just learning that claims must be judged not for their alignment with current issues of social justice, but for the data they present and their ability to account for the unruly fibers of evidence that stubbornly jut out from any interpretative frame.  It is here that Zinn's power of persuasion extinguishes students' ability to think[.]

Actually, any history that is monolithic and avoids "new facts or interpretations" is "dangerous because it invites a slide into intellectual fascism."

Yet, a study of two Texas universities in January 2013 by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) entitled "Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?" affirms that:

... all too often the course readings gave strong emphasis to race, class, or gender (RCG) social history, an emphasis so strong that it diminished the attention to other subjects in American history (such as military, diplomatic, religious, intellectual history).

In fact, in comparing history courses at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, the following was noted:

As race, class or gender (RCG) emphases crowd out other aspects and themes in American history, we find other problems setting in, including the narrow tailoring of 'special topics' courses and the absence of significant primary source documents.  Special topics courses used by students to fulfill the history requirement lack historical breadth.

Moreover:

Faculty members failed to assign many key documents from American history; for example, none of them assign[ed] the Mayflower Compact or Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address [.] Only one faculty member assigned Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.  Moreover, rarely did reading assignments contain anything about figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Edison, the Wright brothers, or the scientists of the Manhattan Project.

There appears to be "no common core of readings" within the history departments.  Many
political documents that one would expect to find in an American history survey are missing from the reading assignments.  It is striking that "classic historical memoirs or autobiographies were rarely assigned."  Moreover, "89 percent of faculty members teaching lower-division U.S. history courses assigned none of the 100 key documents" recommended by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The findings in this study "shed light on a source of Americans' increasing ignorance about their own history."  Many "U.S. history courses fail to provide a comprehensive rendering of U.S. history as a whole."  Thus, "thematically skewed teaching leads to an incompleteness of knowledge" by American students.  Based on a 2010 exam in U.S. History, "55 percent of 12th graders scored 'below basic[,]'" with "only nine percent of fourth graders correctly identifying a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and stating two reasons for his importance."  There was still no improvement in 2012. 

Coupled with the politics of race, it is no surprise that too many Americans now react reflexively to the "wearisome bromides" of racism.  The anti-white racism of the left no longer remains underground, as has been aptly described in David Horowitz's 1999 book Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes.

Historical illiteracy abounds while indoctrination prevails.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.

On January 18, 2013, Rush Limbaugh had a caller who explained that she was "going to school to become a teacher ... and from the first class that [she] took in education[, she and the other prospective teachers] were being taught as teachers that [they] are racists."  She explained:

We are inherently racist and, in order for us to be effective teachers, we have to acknowledge our inner racism, whether we know it or not.

Her call was in response to the story at the Delavan-Darien High School in Wisconsin, where parents discovered that "teachers are teaching basically that the white population in this country has been racist and bigoted."  One parent explained that the school was "dividing the students.  They're saying to non-whites, 'You have been oppressed and you're still being oppressed.'"  Basically, "this is a radical left agenda and ideology that is now embedded in our school."  It is an anti-Western civilization agenda that teaches that "[w]hite Europeans brought with them racism, sexism, environmental destruction, homophobia, all of that." 

This is reminiscent of the case in November 2007 where the University of Delaware made a decision to "subject its students to mandatory 'treatment' where they learn[ed] that 'all whites are racist,' racism by 'people of color' is impossible, and George Washington is merely a 'famous Indian fighter, large landholder and slave holder.'"

After the case was brought to the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the school finally dropped the program, but clearly the insidious indoctrination continues.  In the University of Delaware case, students were required to learn the following:

A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination [.]

REVERSE RACISM: A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give 'preferential treatment' to people of color over whites.

A NON-RACIST: A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called 'blaming the victim'). Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing a racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent.

Have you ever heard a well-meaning white person say, 'I'm not a member of any race except the human race?' What she usually means by this statement is that she doesn't want to perpetuate racial categories by acknowledging that she is white. This is an evasion of responsibility for her participation in a system based on supremacy for white people.

This one-sided, decidedly self-serving cant has permeated every aspect of our lives.  A poster from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Visiting Scholars Program asserts "its commitment to creating a corporate environment that reflects the diversity of its test takers ... from  underrepresented groups to examine fairness and other issues of test design and development while learning to write and review test questions and related materials [.]"

What exactly is a "fairness issue" in test creation?  And why bother with the euphemistic "underrepresented group" lingo?  At a Fisk University Academic Affairs Newsletter, "women and minority scholars and students" are sought.

Or one can turn to the January 18, 2013 piece entitled "Noncognitive Measures Are 'Not a Magic Wand'" by Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education to learn that at a "conference ... hosted by the University of Southern California's Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, many attendees have predicted that the future of college admissions will include more assessments of attributes not captured by standardized-test scores and grade-point averages.  As science reveals more and more about what matters in learning, it follows that our measures of merit will evolve."  Thus:

Patrick Kyllonen, senior research director of the Educational Testing Service's Center for Academic and Workforce Readiness and Success, said noncognitive assessments could help colleges better serve students once they enroll-and help employers make better hiring decisions.

Like the "fairness issue," it is quite unclear what non-cognitive assessments are. 

But should we really be surprised by this obfuscation and history turned upside-down?  In the Winter 2012-2013 issue of American Educator, Professor Sam Wineburg writes about how Howard Zinn's well-known history text A People's History falls short, since it is as "radical in its rhetoric as in its politics."  Replete with examples, Wineburg's exposé shows how "Zinn plays fast and loose with historical context" and basically ignores "a quarter century of new historical scholarship [that has] shed light on his original formulations." 

Nonetheless, Zinn's text "remains a perennial favorite in courses for future teachers, and in some, it is the only history book on the syllabus."  Wineberg explains that Zinn's text "relies almost entirely on secondary sources, with no archival research to thicken its narrative."  Additionally, "the book is naked of footnotes, thwarting inquisitive readers who seek to retrace the author's interpretative steps."  Wineburg maintains that:

... Zinn's undeniable charisma becomes educationally dangerous[.] The danger mounts when we are talking about how we educate the young, those who do not yet get the interpretive game, who are just learning that claims must be judged not for their alignment with current issues of social justice, but for the data they present and their ability to account for the unruly fibers of evidence that stubbornly jut out from any interpretative frame.  It is here that Zinn's power of persuasion extinguishes students' ability to think[.]

Actually, any history that is monolithic and avoids "new facts or interpretations" is "dangerous because it invites a slide into intellectual fascism."

Yet, a study of two Texas universities in January 2013 by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) entitled "Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?" affirms that:

... all too often the course readings gave strong emphasis to race, class, or gender (RCG) social history, an emphasis so strong that it diminished the attention to other subjects in American history (such as military, diplomatic, religious, intellectual history).

In fact, in comparing history courses at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, the following was noted:

As race, class or gender (RCG) emphases crowd out other aspects and themes in American history, we find other problems setting in, including the narrow tailoring of 'special topics' courses and the absence of significant primary source documents.  Special topics courses used by students to fulfill the history requirement lack historical breadth.

Moreover:

Faculty members failed to assign many key documents from American history; for example, none of them assign[ed] the Mayflower Compact or Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address [.] Only one faculty member assigned Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.  Moreover, rarely did reading assignments contain anything about figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Edison, the Wright brothers, or the scientists of the Manhattan Project.

There appears to be "no common core of readings" within the history departments.  Many
political documents that one would expect to find in an American history survey are missing from the reading assignments.  It is striking that "classic historical memoirs or autobiographies were rarely assigned."  Moreover, "89 percent of faculty members teaching lower-division U.S. history courses assigned none of the 100 key documents" recommended by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The findings in this study "shed light on a source of Americans' increasing ignorance about their own history."  Many "U.S. history courses fail to provide a comprehensive rendering of U.S. history as a whole."  Thus, "thematically skewed teaching leads to an incompleteness of knowledge" by American students.  Based on a 2010 exam in U.S. History, "55 percent of 12th graders scored 'below basic[,]'" with "only nine percent of fourth graders correctly identifying a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and stating two reasons for his importance."  There was still no improvement in 2012. 

Coupled with the politics of race, it is no surprise that too many Americans now react reflexively to the "wearisome bromides" of racism.  The anti-white racism of the left no longer remains underground, as has been aptly described in David Horowitz's 1999 book Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes.

Historical illiteracy abounds while indoctrination prevails.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.