Why Ethnic Studies Programs Are Good for California, and America

Noah Remnick, Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2014

On Nov. 6, 1968, the Black Student Union and a coalition of student groups at San Francisco State University known as the Third World Liberation Front began what would become the longest student strike in U.S. history. They wanted the university to institute an ethnic studies program.

Beyond simply teaching students names like Frederick Douglass and Sacajawea, the program they envisioned would explore race and ethnicity across all disciplines in order to address issues of Eurocentrism, oppression and identity.

Such a field had been proposed since the late 19th century by thinkers like W.E.B. Du Bois and José Martí, but obstinate elites had never formalized it in mainstream academia. At one rally, San Francisco State President S.I. Hayakawa silenced student activists by yanking the wires out of the loudspeakers. But after nearly five months, he capitulated, instituting the first College of Ethnic Studies in the nation.

The movement that started at San Francisco State spread across the state and country. Today, some form of ethnic studies is taught at most American universities. Nine of the 10 University of California campuses (UC San Francisco, the system’s health science campus, is the exception) have various ethnic studies departments and programs, offering courses on Native American literature (UC San Diego), “Gandhi and the Civil Rights Movement in America” (UC Berkeley) and farmworker history (UCLA). {snip}

But ethnic studies remains virtually absent in K-12 public education nationally, and it is rare even in California, where about three-quarters of students are nonwhite.

That could change with Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s (D-Watsonville) recent introduction of AB 1750, a bill requiring California to form a task force that would study how to best implement a standardized ethnic studies program for high school students throughout the state. Such a program would shore up important gaps in students’ knowledge and, coming from one of the most diverse states in the nation, serve as a powerful model for the rest of the country.


A report this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed a disturbing abundance of states offering little or no study of the civil rights movement. In a comprehensive analysis of state standards and instructional resources, the center handed out Fs to nearly half of the country based on what teachers were expected to teach about civil rights history. {snip}


In 2011, the National Education Assn. published a review of research on ethnic studies that summarized K-12 textbooks this way: “Whites continue to receive the most attention and appear in the widest variety of roles, dominating story lines and lists of accomplishments. African Americans, the next most represented racial group, appear in a more limited range of roles and usually receive only a sketchy account historically, being featured mainly in relationship to slavery. Asian Americans and Latinos appear mainly as figures on the landscape with virtually no history or contemporary ethnic experience. Native Americans appear mainly in the past.”

The problem can’t be solved by lightly interspersing ethnic diversity into the existing curricula–tokenism goes only so far. This is about offering students an education that is not just enriching but empowering.

Indeed, there is a strong body of social science evidence showing that a serious ethnic studies program can pay off in improved student achievement and higher graduation rates.

For example, the NEA review of research cites multiple university studies showing that, for students of color, the more they know about race, racism and cultural identity, the higher their grades and graduation rates, and the more likely they are to go on to college.

Interestingly, the positive impact of such studies is even higher on white students, who gain a much more sophisticated ethnic consciousness as they confront issues of race already familiar to minority students.


In a state where minorities are the majority, a dynamic understanding of ethnicity isn’t a luxury or a diversion but a necessity. Such courses would help high school students to grapple with the complex history of oppression and achievement in a truthful–and even liberating–fashion.

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  • MekongDelta69

    Every non-White person should get a degree in ‘oppressed studies.’

    Then, they can join the black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front and become fine upstanding citizens who give back to their ‘communities of colored crayons.’

    • mobilebay

      Sorry, Mekong. You’ll have to find another ocean for the LA Times to fall into. I just traded the Rio Grande for the Pacific. Had it always been here, we in Texas would not be in the mess we’re in right now.

  • Truthseeker

    The last thing we need is for these people to be even more “empowered.” They’ve proven that the more “empowered” they get, the worse it is for Whites. And making “oppression” the focus of these curricula is as nakedly Marxist as it gets. We don’t need more of our children being indoctrinated to hate their own race.

    • SentryattheGate

      Muhammed Ali, upon returning from his first trip to Africa (the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match vs.George Foreman), was asked what he thought of the land of his ancestors. He replied, “I’m just glad my granpappy got on that boat!” I read that to mean that the slavery of his ancestors was worth getting out of Africa and away from Africans! Same for most immigrants to this country, I’ll bet!

      • saxonsun

        He also unashamedly said that one of his opponents (I forget which one) looked like a gorilla. Ali had no trouble being “racist.”

        • John R

          I think that was “Smokin Joe” Frazer. Shame. Because he was one black man I actually liked and respected. Few and far between.

    • I’ll bet there is no way even the Khmer Rouge could possibly make me pass one of these fake “classes”.

      • LHathaway

        Interesting analogy.

      • John R

        They’ll have to send you to a “re-education” camp, then, to learn the error of your ways!

    • propagandaoftruth

      “Why Ethnic Studies are Good for Up-jumped Affirmative Action Parasites with Axes to Grind”
      There. Fixed it.

  • Ed

    As always this drivel is pushed by a member of the tribe.

    • JohnEngelman

      Jews do not major in Jewish studies. They major in stuff like physics, mathematics, law, and medicine.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        Of course they don’t. Only Palestinian Arabs would enroll in Tel Aviv University’s Hebrew studies program.

        • Orthodox Jews do that. You know: the same ones who are driving the illegal West Bank settlement problem, but who are simultaneously exempt from the Israeli draft. They get it both ways, they get to create messes without having to clean them up.

        • Chip Carver

          At least most Jews finish college, give them credit for that. Most of them aren’t going to wander the halls for three decades trying to figure out what to major in. Most of them anyway.

          Noah Remnick. Los Angeles Times. Telling us all how great these ethnic studies programs are. No surprises here.

      • Usually Much Calmer

        I’ve noticed that.

      • JDInSanD

        They’ve also created and dominate the fake sciences of sociology and psychology.

        Summarized they both basically say: We can’t predict how anyone will act in the future but everything you do or have ever done as a group or a person can be categorized as a sickness where your parents or society is to blame and all of it can be cured by prescription drugs or diversity/sensitivity/multicult training.

        • PvtCharlieSlate

          Sociology and psychology do have one genuine use: you have to attach the football and basketball scholarships to some kind of a major.

        • kikz2

          agreed.. and many of them do major in jewish studies, they’re called rabbis.. they study the talmud/torah etc, so they can argue w/their god Yahweh, and further tell the goyim what a light unto nations they truly are….

      • paul marchand

        Jews are also above-average in the financial world, and when dingbat leftist governments, such as that of the US, go $20 trillion into debt, knotheads such as some libertarians blame the lender, rather than the borrower.
        No. I aint Jewish. I’m a “coonaxx”, a.k.a. Cajun.

        • John R

          As Peter Griffith on Family Guy said: “Hey, you Jews are just so smart! Is there anything you people don’t do well? I mean, besides manual labor?”

      • Paleoconn

        Who’s talking about them majoring in them? We’re talking about them creating the cultural marxist curriculum.

  • If the school year could be extrapolated to an entire calendar year, civil rights and diversity brainwashing would start on January 1 at 12:01 AM and end on December 31 at 11:55 PM, the last five minutes are needed for sex education. I suppose the problem here is that the last five minutes aren’t used for the usual propaganda.

    • r j p

      Wouldn’t the 4 of 5 minutes be used for how perversions are “normal”. and the last minute be used to discuss how heterosexuality is not the norm in the new AmeriKa.

  • Whites are a cancer, according to ethnic studies. A commenter on my web site came up with these quotes that show what ethnic studies teaches: (had to put in *s since blacks always use profanity)
    1.Europeans never discovered s*** but ice seeing how Europeans got their color white
    2.there are no jungles in Africa that a huge misconception about that continent 3.everything a European knows they where taught by the MOORS(Africans)p.s. Beethoven is black in his younger days known as the black boy play that on your bongos
    4.agian the moors taught Europeans how to sail the seas brought them out the dark ages built castles walk ways bathrooms because European kings and queens was sleeping with chickens and goats
    so to conclude class white people where black until they took there a**es to ICEAGE EUROPE and had to drop there color to survive in the cold the cousins from Africa had to teach them everything they know like politics, math, science, English ,religion ,music…….I could go on but its point less cause the reason the moors taught Europeans all this and the reason I’m wasting my breath to you is because we are equally the same European African Hispanic Asian only thing that’s different is the color of our skin and the way we talk stop hating on your selves and others s*** aint cool

    So-called ‘white people’ have killed more Black people and other people of color ever recorded in the annals of this worlds history. U keep trying to trick Black people into believing they are their own worst enemy when in fact it is white people who are the absolute lying enemy of all humanity including themselves. This is why ur society and civilization is imploding upon itself. Why do u think its only white people who are profiled as serial killers; only white people who go into their own schools, malls, and other public places and start shooting, killing all in their sight; only white people who have engaged in bestiality ie., having sex with animals; such as in the case of syphilis a canine disease that white people introduced to the human family along with incest ie., having sex with ur own children and relatives. None of this phenomenon including homosexuality existed on this planet before white people infected it. U are a cancer, a deliberate bad seed and everywhere you have gone u lie, steal, murder and rape. Do ur own damn research cracker cause i’m not about educating u. In fact I want yall to continue to do what u do best murder, lie and steal other peoples land, resources and raw materials. Its going to make it that much sweeter when u get ur recompense. Remember u will reap what u have sown. I will end with this…. Something is inherently genetically wrong in the make up of the grafted pale demon. U might want to read Michael Bradley a white man who wrote a book called ‘The iceman Inheritance’ among others. The grafted humanoid beings who improperly refer to themselves as “white’ is a hybrid infestation on this planet. U have been judged and found guilty. Know this ‘judgment is near’.

    • ncpride

      Sounds like the same idiot who responded to one of my posts here, but was of course deleted. JJ Walker was the name it was posting under. I almost wish the mods would leave their ignorant rants for the world to see.

    • JohnEngelman

      The only thing one can possibly learn from black studies is good written and verbal skills. This guy did not even learn that.

      • Mason Gull

        I doubt that the writer took a course in black studies, and I doubt that he has any education beyond the eighth grade level. Judging from the phrases he used, the author is a Black Hebrew Israelite. He thinks that black Americans are descended from the tribe of Judah.

        • saxonsun

          “Black Studies.” A terrific example of an oxymoron with emphasis on “moron.”

      • Expecting them to produce well-written termpapers is a “microaggression”. In fact there were protests in California universities last semester making precisely that accusation.

    • Mason Gull

      Link to the original post?

  • Luca

    Very soon now, our K-12 kids will be forced to study the struggles of the labor movement, the Holocaust, the women’s movement and how the communist party was discriminated against throughout American history.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Been a while since you’ve been to a public school, hm?

      Unfortunately, your future is now.

      • LHathaway

        Good one. Perfect post. I Hope Luca’s comment was intended to be facetious, because he is describing the past and not the ‘very soon’.

  • TruthBeTold

    Another absurd theory. They’re endless aren’t they?

    This one is going to bridge the gap between all races and everyone will see their common humanity.

    This theory, like every previous theory, is ridicules, won’t do what it’s supposed to do, cause racial/ethnic animus, and is doomed to ultimately fail and be removed and forgotten.

    Let them have these programs. Let them cause deeper rifts. Let them fail.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    “Whites continue to receive the most attention and appear in the widest variety of roles, dominating story lines and lists of accomplishments.”

    So, in other words, the curriculum reflects reality.

  • Evette Coutier

    Ethnic studies are good for colleges because they bring in money from unqualified minorities who can pass real classes.

  • Brady

    Meh. California is already mostly a Third World banana republic anyway, and the state is so strapped for cash this “program is unlikely to get off the ground anyway.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      But since diversity is our greatest strength, developing our diversity will make our economy more productive and increase GDP (blah blah blah) and so this is an investment that will yield dividends. . . unlike roads or weaning Wall St. off cheap money.

      You think because it is stupid it is unlikely. I think because it is stupid it is more likely.

      • Brady

        They can say what they want, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

        The legislation may well pass, but the “task force” it creates will have all the efficiency of a Soviet collective farm. California doesn’t have the resources for such an extravagant program and political dogma isn’t going to make the money appear out of nothing. The primary result is that California will go bankrupt faster. That’s all.

      • LHathaway

        Nice final sentence. It warms up to you when you think about it.

  • IstvanIN

    “Whites continue to receive the most attention and appear in the widest variety of roles, dominating story lines and lists of accomplishments. Because we built the country and the modern world, the others didn’t. Facts are facts.

    African Americans, the next most represented racial group, appear in a more limited range of roles and usually receive only a sketchy account historically, being featured mainly in relationship to slavery because slavery was their major role in this country, other than crime, indolence and being the ball-and-chain type of side kick.

    Native Americans appear mainly in the past.” because their roadblocks to America’s development were all in the distant past. Now they are mainly alcoholics and casino owners.

    Asian Americans and Latinos appear mainly as figures on the landscape with virtually no history Take away all their positive contributions to America’s rise to greatness and we would still have been the world’s greatest country. They have no significant contribution.

    Maybe history should reflect the truth?

  • The Final Solution

    “Such a program would shore up important gaps in students’ knowledge”
    I fail to see how ethnic studies will shore up any “gap” in knowledge that actually matters, like math, science, reading, and writing which will improve America’s international competitiveness and PISA scores. China, India, Finland, pretty much the entire OECD list of 27 or so nations are surpassing the USA and they sure as hell aren’t wasting their time with “ethnic studies” programs. They can’t sink this ship any faster.

  • JohnEngelman

    Ethnic studies programs do no one any good. They lead people to see their failures and disappoints in life as the result of injustice, rather than poor performance, unrealistic aspirations, avoidable mistakes one can learn from, and just plain bad luck.

    No one benefits from viewing life with feelings of entitlement and personal grievance.

    • SentryattheGate

      Right! All our ancestors, even us whites, endured hard times; only the tough made it through. Yet, it seems that minorities think they’re the only ones that have. That gets to me as my (German) mother was a (Catholic) Holocaust survivor and a Dresden fire-bombing survivor, enduring many years of starvation.

      • IstvanIN

        In this world she doesn’t count.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Ethnic studies are for people that can’t do math or science or contribute anything useful to society. Ethnic studies = Look at me I’m a black/mexican going to college just
    like the smart Whites and Asians!

    • JohnEngelman

      I doubt many Jews and Orientals get degrees in Jewish and Oriental studies.

    • kikz2

      jus like the smart Whites and Asians!…and you YT are payin for it…. there… fixed that for ya…

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    They should set up a real ethnic studies program, one that looks at the biology of ethnoracial differences instead of the usual cultural Marxist indoctrination.

  • Visceral

    And the endless conveyor belt of victimhood continues. The lefts only purpose is to invent more and more invisible bogeymen to leverage power and money from the traditional white power structure of our country. This is yet another attempt by the left to brainwash our children into believing the ideas of perpetual victimhood.

  • The Final Solution

    This curriculum will spread like wildfire throughout the country. Every district in America will want to adopt this so as not to appear “racist”. Before you know it, they will be teaching this stuff in preschool if they’re not already. We are now in the middle of a massive shift in thinking and power in this country. The seeds were planted long ago but we are at the cusp of it now. Those who know how to see the connections between headlines know that this nation will be done in fifty years or less. It is too late to reverse anything – we can only hope to build something from the ashes.

    • It’ll be a national “race to the bottom”… oh, wait; we’re already doing that. Never mind. My bad.

      • The Final Solution

        That’s exactly what it is. I read somewhere that the American “empire” is crumbling faster than any empire in history. It took the Romans centuries to collapse. At this point that is what we need since it’s too late to salvage anything out of this rotting corpse of a country.

    • Chasmania

      Building from the ashes will be cake compared to strapping on the dead weight of a bunch of stone age barbarians who want to live off government subsidies.

      Just ask yourself which of these 2 examples has the better chance of succes.

      A: Todays society as it’s now composed, 100 years from now.

      B: A White, homogenous country that was tasked with rebuilding cities after a civil war, 20 years later.

  • Cultural Marxism: An offshoot of Marxism that gave birth to political correctness, multiculturalism and “anti-racism.” Cultural Marxism maintains that all human behavior is a result of culture (not heredity / race) and thus malleable. While traditional (economic) Marxists focused on class identity in racially homogenous countries (with poor results during WWI),
    Cultural Marxists facilitated the racial organization of non-whites, while simultaneously asserting that “race does not exist” for white people and that whites must deny all racial loyalties.
    Cultural Marxists typically support race-based affirmative action, the proposition state (as opposed to a nation rooted in common ancestry), elevating non-Western religions above Western religions, globalization and free trade, speech codes and censorship, multiculturalism, diversity training, anti-Western education curricula, maladaptive sexual norms, the dispossession of white people, and mass Third World immigration into Western countries.
    Cultural Marxists have promoted idea that white people, instead of birthing white babies, should interracially marry or adopt non-white children.
    Samuel P. Huntington maintained that Cultural Marxism is an anti-white ideology.

  • The Final Solution

    There are only two things constant in the universe – entropy, and the white man’s eternal progress. Everything else is just not white.

  • Gentleman Jim Crow

    I would be all for teaching ethnic studies if it included the genetics of race. Pretending that the races are equal in every way is at the heart of many of our problems. The lie cannot persist forever. The truth will out.

  • ViktorNN

    In case there are any white people reading who haven’t figured all this out – these “ethnic studies” stories are the consequences of becoming a minority.

    Their history gets taught as “struggles against injustice” and “stories of overcoming,” while our history gets taught as a “history of oppression.” Everything our ancestors did was evil or morally suspect. Everything their ancestors did was noble.

    Our accomplishments – of which there are so many – get pushed to the side further and further until one day, your children will send their children to school and they won’t get taught anything about the Founding Fathers, or the amazing achievements of white explorers and inventors, and the amazing art and literary accomplishments of white artists will be increasingly forgotten.

    This is the consequence of demographic marginalization. If you don’t like the sound of it then you better stand up and do something about it.

  • LHathaway

    Notice. . . a college with a black student union is being held up as ‘only being discrimination free in 1968’ I think it says. I have news for the reporter. The UofSF didn’t have a white student union in 1968 and it doesn’t have one now. Only sometimes is separate but equal bad. And Their separate but equal is not quite equal.

  • kikz2

    learn to blame yt… eyeroll… so i UH guess, they can becum… unuthu UH! Non-Sequitur UH! Niggaz duh-bait team, then move into an AA gov job administrating bennies to more non-YT minorities. was that polite enough? blinkblink..


    “They wanted the university to institute an ethnic studies program.”

    Already being done. In 1960, I enrolled in a course of cultural anthropology in a California JC. I’m sure the study of culture dates much further back than that.

  • John R

    “Indeed, there is a strong body of social science evidence showing that a serious ethnic studies program can pay off in improved student achievement and higher graduation rates.

    For example, the NEA review of research cites multiple university studies showing that, for students of color, the more they know about race, racism and cultural identity, the higher their grades and graduation rates, and the more likely they are to go on to college.

    Interestingly, the positive impact of such studies is even higher on white students, who gain a much more sophisticated ethnic consciousness as they confront issues of race already familiar to minority students.”
    Are you F***ING (Sorry, moderator!) KIDDING ME? So, blacks will do better in school if we tell them about how racist Whites are? Huh? Are you, okay, I won’t say it again. You get the idea, I’m sure.

  • propagandaoftruth

    Yeah, many of those Amerind civilizations accomplished some impressive stuff with no large beasts of burden, but…

    The most successful were psychopathically insane. I can’t help but think that the average poor little darkie schmucko, after the terribly unfortunate disease die-off…

    Had it maybe a little better under his new, White caciques. At least not worse.

    Meet the new boss, less psychopathic than the old boss. More hated…

  • So now you don’t have to do anything wrong to be sent to reeducation camp. Your white skin is original sin and no, a one or two day freshman minorities orientation course is not sufficient. (Still, look at the bright side: You’re not required to major in White Guilt, at least not yet.)

  • Alucard_the_last

    Ethnic studies and sensitivity training never includes whites. When some barbarian puts a human rib bone through their nose, it is multiculturalism. Meanwhile, opera is racist and should be shunned at best.

  • ShermanTMcCoy

    Imagine a world where people are rewarded based upon merit and punished based on their actions. Where accomplishments are not invented and quotas are banned. Imagine a color-blind society where criminals (including blacks) are arrested, convicted and executed for their crimes in an evenhanded way, where disparate impact is not considered. Imagine a world where the immigration laws are enforced, and border jumpers are forcefully ejected. Imagine a world where governments live within their means, and foreign aid would be seen as an illegal confiscation of taxpayers’ earnings. Imagine a world where the elite are not allowed to hire cheap foreign labor to supplant their fellow citizens. Imagine a world where tests are not “dumbed down” and people are accepted into institutions of higher learning based solely on their ability to profit from an education.

    None of the above would have anything in particular to do with race, but would automatically solve most of our problems.

  • disqus_irCdmAu8It

    Ethnic and Gender studies have one message – White Men are the Devil and must be eradicated. Is there any wonder hatred by blacks and females against white men is at an all time high?