Ethnic Studies or Ethnic Cleansing?

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Let me begin with a note of gratitude to Williamson M. Evers. In the print edition of the Wall Street Journal dated July 30, 2019, Mr. Evers alerted readers to a disturbing proposal for education in California. California’s Education Department is currently seeking comment on an Ethnic Studies Curriculum proposal in which, as noted by Mr. Evers, California Wants to Teach Your Kids That Capitalism Is Racist.

However, besides disparaging capitalism, the “education” proposal attempts to define a curriculum focused on oppression of people of color and prepare students for political activism to combat the apparent scourge of humanity: white ethnic groups of European descent. If you’re white, you’re privileged, and your privilege is oppressive.

Language of the Oppressed in America

Consider the following vocabulary sample from the proposal Glossary. [The curriculum proposal can be found at Comment on the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum]

Matriarchy– a government or social system in which women hold primary power, authority, and social privilege

Patriarchy– a system of society in which men are privileged, dominant, and hold power Eurocentric/Eurocentrism- a worldview that privileges and centers the thoughts, practices, knowledge, history, systems of beliefs, and customs of the western world and people of western European descent more specifically.

Heteropatriarchy– a system of society in which men and heterosexuals (especially heterosexual men) are privileged, dominant, and hold power.

The words in these “definitions” are designed to establish a friendly attitude toward the benevolence of a matriarchy and to create a bitterness toward the malevolence of patriarchy and “people of western European descent”. (Agitating attitudes via emotion is essential to effective propaganda.)

This distinction between “people of color” and white “people of western European descent” is brought into focus by the following definitions.

People of color– someone who is not white. People of color as a collective identity emerged as a response to systemic racism and to assert resistance and solidarity against white supremacy. People of color are a global majority

Whiteness– a social construct that has served as the foundation for racialization in the United States. Whiteness is the antithesis of Blackness, and is commonly associated with those that identify as white. However, Whiteness is much more than a racial identity marker, it separates those that are privileged from those that are not. Whiteness can manifest as a social, economic, political, and cultural behavior and power. For example, the “standard” or cultural “norm” are often always based on whiteness and by extension white culture, norms, and values.

White supremacy– the belief that white people are inherently superior and represent the dominant race. It is an operationalized form of racism that manifests globally, institutionally, and through systems of power.

Race– a social construct created by European and American pseudo-scientists which sorts people by phenotype into global, social, and political hierarchies.

Racism– the belief in the superiority of one race over another. Racism manifests when power is used to deny access, rights, and/or opportunities to a particular group or person based on their racial background

People of color have risen together against racism and white supremacy. Of course, white supremacy is the operational form of racism and race is a pseudo-scientific construct of European and American pseudo-scientists. Since whiteness is a social construct which is the basis for racism in the United States, it is essential that whiteness be eliminated from society if any hope of equality and equity is to exist in the future.

Hence, ethnic cleansing of white Americans of European descent is the final solution. This is a benevolent final solution in the eyes of the oppressed collective since it only eliminates all memory of Western European influence on American culture.

Studying Ethnic Oppression

The Ethnic Studies proposal submitted for public review in California seems to focus on oppression. Chapter 1 and the Glossary indicate a desire to engage students in activities that focus on their current environment. The use of inquiry-based learning in ethnic studies will reinforce current emotions and prevent an objective review of today’s social issues.

Perhaps a more objective approach would be to examine a historical example. Then students will be able to trace the impact of activism on social and political structures. They can also see where their current situation fits into the larger social movement. In this way they can truly build on the successes of the past.

For instance, consider the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Although I was just a youngster in grammar school, the activities of the 60’s affected everyone. People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy were community leaders who inspired people, black and white, to examine systemic injustices that denied Negroes their natural and divine rights. The impact of their efforts is clearly evident in the number of African-American legislators at the local, state, and federal levels. It is also evident in the business community and the academic world.

There are no census ratios that measure this impact. The persons engaged in these professional areas [city council members, the members of state assemblies, congressmen (male and female) and senators, CEOs and managers, professors, etc.] testify to the success of the sacrifices of that generation. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for changes he never had a chance to witness

California would do well to examine this period in depth. Students would benefit greatly to reflect on the thoughts of the men and women of that period. They would also benefit from examining the positive effects of the thoughts and actions of the leaders of that period. Consider the advice of Martin Luther King Jr. to his fellow pastors: In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. [Letter from Birmingham Jail]

As time permits, I’ll offer more thoughts on this subject and post them on this blog. Until then, in the words of another great American, Edward R. Murrow, “Good night and good luck.”

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