Stupid Politically Correct Decisions from Our Public Schools
There has been a concerted attempt over the past several years by progressive teachers and school administrators to unilaterally make decisions about eradicating vestiges of our culture, because they alone have determined that these symbols or icons of the past may be offensive to others. This disconcerting practice by progressive vanguards has become more prevalent and absurd, the latest example manifested in Colin Kaepernick's suddenly taking offense at Nike's use of a Betsy Ross colonial flag emblem on one of its shoe models.
Recently, the San Francisco School Board voted to remove a mural of George Washington at one of its public schools because they divined it racist and degrading for its depiction of black Americans and American Indians.
The rationale offered for the mural's removal is instructive, as it reveals not only the pernicious nature of the identity politics underpinnings of modern-day progressivism, but also the inevitable censorship practices that logically flow from a philosophy that views America as an irredeemably racist country.
Here is the justification offered by vice president of the school board and third-grade teacher Mark Sanchez for ridding the school of the image of the nation's founding father, without consulting the student body, parents, or other members of the community. Sanchez claimed that students who must walk past the mural during the school day don't have a choice about seeing the harmful images. "Painting it over represents not only a symbolic fresh start, but a real fresh start," he said.
A question arises: how many students told Sanchez the image of George Washington that has adorned the school for 83 years was harmful? In a progressive world, the question answers itself: there is no need to demonstrate any actual harm sustained by any students. For identity-politics progressives, all that is needed for the whimsical exercise of their notion of social justice is the mere likelihood — however remote — that the historical image could cause harm, if not in the present, then in the indeterminate future or, perhaps, for students not yet born.
For Sanchez, "[t]he starting point has to be from those who feel they are harmed and how that is unacceptable, especially given the history of this country. When we don't listen, we don't learn." If only one student is offended by the image, for progressives, that is a sufficient reason to spend $600,000 of the taxpayers' money to remedy the injury by extirpating the historical image of George Washington.
Other instances of this type of monumental progressive silliness abound.
In 2016, Principal Scott Masini of Bruce Vento Elementary School, in Minnesota, whose student body is overwhelmingly nonwhite, decided on his own to eliminate all traditional Christian holidays, including Valentine's Day. His rationale for taking it upon himself to implement such draconian measures? Masini stated, "My personal feeling is, we need to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of our student population."
Masini further noted, "I have come to the difficult decision to discontinue the celebration of the dominant holidays until we can come to a better understanding of how the dominant view will suppress someone else's view."
Thanks to Masini's imperious edict, Valentine's Day cards and boxes of chocolates were now strictly Verboten.
Reading from the same script, in 2017, a principal at an elementary school in Needham, Massachusetts unilaterally eliminated Halloween for similar reasons, once again based on an unspecified and indeterminate number of students who "might" be offended. Principal Gregory Bayse stated, "Halloween is a holiday that not all families celebrate and — for a variety of reasons — some Mitchell families keep their children home from school on that day." Bayse wrote that one teacher said there would be "awkwardness planning a class celebration knowing that not all of her students would be able to participate." How eliminating a holiday that a majority of students at the school recognize and enjoy will lead to "inclusivity" remains a mystery.
This incident perfectly illustrates how progressives have now elevated themselves as spokesmen or proxies, acting on behalf of others, or acting in the role of a vanguard, in an effort to eliminate displays or recognition of dominant cultural symbols that are or "might be" offensive to some — most of whom, curiously, are never identified, and indeed, may be nonexistent.
In every case where progressive educators act to eliminate symbols or art representative of the dominant culture, which they equate with racism and white supremacy, no demonstration of offense is needed. It is sufficient if one student may be offended. Indeed, this new standard was expressed by Joely Proudfit, director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center in San Marcos, who said with regard to spending $600,000 to eradicate the George Washington mural that it is not worth saving the art if one native student "is triggered by that,'" even though no appreciable harm has yet to be established that would justify censoring a work of art.
For progressive educators, if there is one Muslim, out of a student body of 600, who might take offense at others recognizing a Christian holiday, Christmas celebrations for all 600 students must be canceled. Is this an equitable outcome? Progressive proxies believe so and will continue to make decisions as they deem necessary to achieve the pernicious aims of political correctness.
The actions of these academic administrators illustrate the progressive gospel of multiculturalism, which concerns itself with every culture except the dominant one — which progressives uniformly view as nothing more than a manifestation of racism.
Here are some questions our benighted progressive proxies should be required to answer prior to making decisions to banish our cultural traditions or artifacts to the hinterland.
Who gave a tiny cabal the right or authority to make decisions affecting the entire community? Where are the allegedly aggrieved students? Surely in the new progressive era of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, students offended by trauma-inducing artistic, written, or iconic displays of our history should have no concerns about coming forward.
Before acting as guardians or agents for the mythically aggrieved, did the San Francisco School Board take notice of the fact that an English essay given to 49 student that discussed the fate of the mural, 45 of those students said the mural should stay?
Should the majority of children who have traditionally taken part in Christmas, Halloween, and other celebrations be made to suffer because an unspecified or indistinct number of individuals might be offended? If so, why?
Finally, here is a question for Colin Kaepernick, the new president of Grievance, Inc.: The Betsy Ross flag flew prominently behind the dais at Obama's inauguration, without complaint or incident. Why is it now so unbearable to view?
The great threat to our democratic republic of shared values and beliefs is not tyranny of the majority, but a burgeoning cultural-political tyranny of the minority. A nation that allows an ideology that seeks, through an unaccountable coterie of identity politics practitioners, to expunge our common set of beliefs and cultural uniqueness is one that will be balkanized, with all vestiges of a common cultural heritage destroyed.
John Kinsellagh is a freelance writer and attorney. He has served for over 25 years as an arbitrator for the financial services industry. He is the author of The Mainstream Media Democratic Party Complex and Election 2016, both available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnKinsellagh. Read more of his commentary at errant nonsense.com.