America Playing With Fire By Evelyn Markus Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute. On May…
Child Abuse in Plain Sight
By Larry Sand
Forcing Critical Race Theory on children is psychologically damaging.
I come from a time when schools existed to teach the ABCs, basic math and the amazing story of the American founding. While it’s true that Horace Mann, the man who first promoted universal public education, was a central planner, government schools usually turned out educated students whose values comported with those of their parents. But these days, driven by fads and pseudoscience, many schools seem to exist to frighten children by forcing them into believing some craze-du-jour that is often alien to their parents. Of late, the global warming (or is it climate change?) and gender fluidity fads have been cruelly forced upon children as young as five.
Then, most recently, we had the hysterical response to COVID-19. The ensuing school lockdowns have led children to live lives of social isolation, which have increased rates of anxiety, depression and suicide. Additionally, the learning loss has been incalculable. And now, many of those who have been able get back to in-person classes are being subjected to woke schooling and its foundational underpinning, Critical Race Theory (CRT). Those who condemn CRT pedagogy, which maintains that racism is pervasive and permanent, and divides students into “oppressor” and “oppressed” factions, usually comes from those who have an issue with its inherent radicalism. But what about its effects on children’s psyches?
In an eye-opening piece, Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation president Lewis Andrews writes that “woke curricula involve much more than warped views of history, the scientific method, and social relations – they also employ instructional methods that have been shown to inflict serious psychological harm completely independent of what is being taught. These include the frequent use of shaming, forced public confessions of so-called ‘privilege,’ the acceptance of one’s socioeconomic background as an excuse for not achieving, and the promotion of ideological conformity as the best way to deal with social conflict.”
Quoting psychologist Anna Smith, Andrews adds that shame is the ultimate divider. “It’s a me versus them feeling. A deliberate act to cause one to feel like an outsider. As ‘a finger-pointing gesture,’ she says, it can easily induce the very reverse of what was intended.”
Here in Wokefornia, where CRT has reached religious status in some circles, the state is getting close to passing AB 101, which would mandate teaching a one-semester course in ethnic studies in high school. As written, the bill does not include specific content, however. That decision would be left to each school district. And like the wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood,” the red CRT wolves are waiting to pounce. In Los Angeles, the school district is considering a curriculum that disdains “merit” and “individualism,” and claims that “history classes and textbooks focus on the perspective of white colonial culture.”
The San Diego Unified School District is no better. There, students must “confront and examine your white privilege” and to “acknowledge when you feel white fragility.” Additionally, children are told to “understand the impact of white supremacy in your work.”
The good news is that a “civil rights violation complaint” has been filed against San Diego schools. The Californians for Equal Rights Foundation along with five partner organizations have filed the complaint against the school district for unlawful, discriminatory critical race training of teachers and employees. CFER claims, “Culturally Responsive Sustaining Practices & Ethnic Studies and other relevant training violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Article I Section 31 (a) of the California Constitution, as well as state anti-discrimination laws and Board policies.”
One can only hope that this lawsuit – and perhaps others – will put a crimp in the rampaging Cultural Marxism we are experiencing. And make no mistake about it – this is Marxism. The godfather of Communism taught his followers that the world was divided into two categories –oppressors and the oppressed. Marx also despised the nuclear family, which he claimed “performs ideological functions for Capitalism” and teaches “passive acceptance of hierarchy.” He thought that the destruction of the family model would make it easier to abolish private property.
Traditionally, teachers have tried to empower kids, but now the regnant pedagogy aims to foster tribalism, anger, resentment, and victimhood. As Lewis Andrews notes, “Sadly, today’s woke curricula do far more to erode a child’s sense of intrinsic worth than to build it up. Indeed, one can hardly imagine a more effective way of grooming disorganized and incompetent adults. As one veteran teacher in the Buffalo Public School system recently put it, anti-racist classrooms have devolved into little more than a series of ‘scoldings, guilt-trips, and demands to demean oneself simply to make another feel empowered.’”
Yes, for many government-run schools and increasing numbers of private ones, it has come to this – child abuse plain and simple – and it’s being perpetrated in plain sight.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.