Andrew J. Coulson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 1, 2006
Are you salting away a little money for your retirement? Trying to plan for your kids’ education? If so, Seattle Public Schools seems to think you’re a racist.
According to the district’s official Web site, “having a future time orientation” (academese for having long-term goals) is among the “aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype and label people of color.”
Not all the district’s definitions of racism (and there are lots of them) are so cryptic. The site goes on immediately to say, “Emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology” is another form of “cultural racism.”
Did I mention that the district thinks only whites can be racist in America?
Regardless of your color, your affinity for planning or your penchant for reading “Das Kapital” under Fremont’s Lenin statue, does this make any sense to you?
See if this sounds familiar: a government agency redefining a highly charged word to advance a particular ideology. . . Um, note to the Seattle School Board and administration: George Orwell’s novel “1984” was a cautionary tale, not a how-to book. And the folks trying to control people’s thoughts through state manipulation of the language — they were the bad guys.
Whenever there is a single official school system for which everyone is compelled to pay, it results in endless battles over the content of that schooling. This pattern holds true across nations and across time. Think of our own recurrent battles over school prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the teaching of human origins, the selection and banning of textbooks and library books, dress codes, history standards, sex education, etc. Similar battles are fought over wearing Islamic headscarves in French public schools and over the National Curriculum in England.
There is an alternative: cultural détente through school choice.