Posted on August 2, 2019

California Wants to Teach Your Kids That Capitalism Is Racist

Williamson M. Evers, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2019

California’s Education Department has issued an “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” and is soliciting public comments on it until Aug. 15. The legislatively mandated guide is a resource for teachers who want to instruct their students in the field of “ethnic studies,” and was written by an advisory board of teachers, academics and bureaucrats. {snip}

Ethnic studies is described in the document as “the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States.” {snip} “It is the study of intersectional and ancestral roots, coloniality, hegemony, and a dignified world where many worlds fit, for present and future generations.” {snip}

The document is filled with fashionable academic jargon like “positionalities,” “hybridities,” “nepantlas” and “misogynoir.” {snip}

{snip} Capitalism is described as a “form of power and oppression,” alongside “patriarchy,” “racism,” “white supremacy” and “ableism.” Capitalism and capitalists appear as villains several times in the document.

On politics, the model curriculum is similarly left-wing. One proposed course promises to explore the African-American experience “from the precolonial ancestral roots in Africa to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and enslaved people’s uprisings in the antebellum South, to the elements of Hip Hop and African cultural retentions.”

Teachers are encouraged to cite the biographies of “potentially significant figures” such as Angela Davis, Frantz Fanon and Bobby Seale. Convicted cop-killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur are also on the list. Students are taught that the life of George Jackson matters “now more than ever.” Jackson, while in prison, became “a revolutionary warrior for Black liberation and prison reform.” The Latino section’s people of significance include Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar López Rivera, a member of a paramilitary group that carried out more than 130 bomb attacks, and Lolita Lebrón, who was convicted of attempted murder in a group assault that wounded five congressmen.

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In a sample lesson on Native Americans, the curriculum suggests students offer their responses to a fictional environmentalist speech by Chief Seattle as well as an anodyne quote about relationships from the recently deceased rapper Nipsey Hussle. {snip}

The curriculum lauds bilingual education, but it omits that this program—in which teachers conducted class mostly in Spanish until seventh grade—failed in California and was disliked by much of the Latino community.

{snip} Critical thinking is described not as reasoning through logic and consideration of evidence but rather a vague deconstruction of power relationships so that one can “speak out on social issues.” Thinking critically “requires individuals to evaluate phenomenon [sic] through the lens of systems, the rules within those systems, who wields power within systems and the impact of that power on the relationships between people existing within systems.”

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This curriculum explicitly aims at encouraging students to become “agents of change, social justice organizers and advocates.” {snip} Teaching objective history clearly isn’t the goal. Rather, it’s training students to become ideological activists and proponents of identity politics.