In the weeks following Mitt Romney’s electoral defeat, Republicans worried at length that the failure indicated a growing cultural divide in which traditional values were being lost. It seemed that millions voted in favor of the free stuff handed out by the redistributionist administration, like the free Obama phones and near doubling of food stamps. Minorities did indeed vote for Obama in large majorities: Hispanics, 71 percent; Asians, 73 percent; blacks, 96 percent (including 100 percent in Philadelphia!).
Quick-fix remedies were proposed, in particular that Republicans should promote an illegal alien amnesty for millions of foreign lawbreakers that would prove conservatives’ friendliness toward diverse immigration.
If only it were that easy. A little surrender of American sovereignty will not begin to solve the cultural erosion, because the rot goes far deeper than can be remedied by a simple political deal. Traditional values and American history are condemned throughout popular culture, but nowhere more than in the public school system.
The neighborhood schoolhouse is often a little indoctrination center for the trendy ideals of diversity as the highest good, followed closely by the equality of outcome in society. American and immigrant kids alike both get the same dose of anti-American views that condemn capitalism, national sovereignty, and the idea of equality of individuals under law.
Modern science informs us that we humans are tribal creatures, hard-wired to prefer the company of others like ourselves in terms of language, culture, and values because of safety within the clan. In short, everybody wants to hang out with people who understand their jokes. Therefore the idea that diversity is a top goal must be repeated and reinforced constantly, because it is so contrary to human nature.
It used to be that Chicano and other ethnic studies were available in college only, but not every young student gets that far, so now the pro-diversity message has trickled down to the earliest classes. Even little kindergarten kids can learn some words in Spanish and hear that diversity is our strength.
I experienced the devolution firsthand when in November 2010 I attended the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco to observe the legal proceedings concerning Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. The local Raza types got out a substantial crowd to protest in the street by the court, including lots of non-Hispanic kids waving signs in favor of open borders and other anti-American issues. I talked to a blond boy and he told me it was a class project of their Berkeley middle school to attend, and not as observers of the legal process but as protestors against a law in a state where they do not live.
One recent indicator of the increasing multicultural emphasis was California’s September enactment of a law mandating that Sikh history be taught in schools to promote “the role and contributions of the Sikh community” in the state. By 2014, textbooks will contain a narrative of the tribe over the last century, which will certainly be a boon to publishers, although not the taxpayer.
The Golden State has led in other efforts in re-education. In August, Gov. Brown signed a bill urging that the story of braceros be part of the social studies curriculum. Supporters from La Raza cheerfully emphasized that the bracero program brought in several millions of Mexicans to the U.S. starting in World War II, facilitating the first big wave from that country.
The year 2012 also introduced the requirement for the inclusion of “gay history” for California students of all ages. The law requires “a study of the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other cultural groups.”
Incidentally, it is entirely appropriate for schools to promote basic politeness and respect among all kids. Such ground rules, however, do not require the detailing of every tribe’s history. Meanwhile kids in Asia are studying math and science.
In Arizona, there has been a long-simmering disagreement over the public schools, instruction of la Raza propaganda, locally known as Mexican-American studies. Many citizens were not happy about their tax dollars being spent to teach Mexican Marxism. In 2008, John Ward, a Hispanic teacher working in an afflicted school, wrote an op-ed (“Raza studies gives rise to racial hostility”), saying he “refused to be complicit in a curriculum that engendered racial hostility, irresponsibly demeaned America’s civil institutions, undermined our public servants, discounted any virtues in Western civilization and taught disdain for American sovereignty.”
After much contentious debate, Arizona passed a law mandating that sedition being taught in the guise of ethnic studies could not continue, and any school with such subjects would cause its district to lose 10 percent of funding. In January 2012, the Tucson School Board voted to suspend Mexican-American Studies so the district would not lose $15 million according to the state law. But in November it was announced that Mexican studies might be reborn in some form as a part of a larger settlement regarding a 38-year lawsuit over racial segregation in Tucson. Stay tuned.
In Texas, some educators apparently thought it would be clever to present the Boston Tea Party as a modern news report framed as terrorism, and direct the kids to discuss. The 1773 action was intended to represent the idea of “no taxation without representation” and no persons were killed or injured during the tea dump into the harbor. A group of colonists later offered to pay the cost of the tea but the merchants refused. So comparing the Boston Tea Party to al Qaeda in a classroom is outrageous and unsupported by the facts.
Cultural touchstones that reflect positively on traditional customs must be rooted out to make way for the utopian diversity, which multicultural cultists imagine. One is Christmas, so rich with associated traditions and memorable music.
In Minnesota, some Somali parents in the town of St. Peter didn’t like Santa Claus visiting the Head Start class — perhaps too Christian for little Muslim children who might want to be jihadists as adults. Did Somalis not understand that immigration to the United States would entail interacting with Christians, followers of the dominant religion? The Islamic complaints of a few prevented a normal American custom for the rest of the kids. Even the local ACLU thought it was unnecessary to end the much enjoyed visits of Santa, portrayed by a local man who loved volunteering for the kids.
Even non-religious holidays have come under the gun. In Seattle this year, an elementary school stopped the kids dressing up in costumes for Halloween. Administrators felt that Halloween costumes could offend and upset students who come from other cultures. The school announced a less potentially offensive “Harvest Party” to replace Halloween with costumes. Many kids and parents were upset by the change, but their feelings didn’t count compared with the possibility of offense to diverse foreigners.
Speaking of religion, many schools are so craven that they cannot even tell the truth about the 9/11 terror attacks, specifically that the murder of nearly 3,000 was committed by Islamic jihadists motivated by their violent religion. An analysis of 38 textbooks used in grades 6-12 conducted by Act! for America found a disturbing level of whitewashing the true nature of Islam. One popular book said the Koran “granted women Koran spiritual and social equality with men” and gave them the right to own and inherit property — when in fact women are second-class citizens at best in every Islamic nation. In earlier generations, schools warned children that Nazism and Communism were dangerous totalitarian ideologies that should be opposed. But today, the education system treats Islam as just another religion, despite hostile Muslims openly declaring their intention to establish a one-world government ruled by cruel and misogynous sharia law. American schools are creating a generation of ignorant young citizens who will be sheep in the face of the Islamic wolf.
There have been instances of schools making kids dress up like Muslims and even recite Islamic prayers so students could learn about the culture from the inside out. In 2002, the Byron, California, schools directed 7th graders to live like Muslims for three weeks — kids were required to memorize Muslim prayers, fulfill the Five Pillars of Faith, and fast during lunch period to simulate fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
For some odd reason, the ACLU never seems interested in such egregious cases of religion being forced upon children in public schools, while the mere sight of a Bible can inspire an immediate smackdown lawsuit.
Diversity indoctrination continues beyond K-12 into college, of course. NPR reported last fall that incoming freshmen in many colleges were asked to read a book over the summer to be discussed when they arrived. The book, of all the many thousands of easily available titles, could have been anything from Plato’s Republic to Moby Dick or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road — there are so many possibilities to inspire conversation. But the book chosen was Enrique’s Journey, the story of an illegal alien Honduran’s travels to America to join up with his mother, another illegal entrant. Rick Mayes, a University of Richmond professor interviewed by NPR, explained that the story helped guide students into political activism: “We, at the University of Richmond, we try to take the learning out of the classroom and into the community as best we can. And this book is a great catalyst for that.”
So training community organizers to serve the diverse downtrodden is seen by at least one professor (and probably many more) as a major purpose of the university. That’s college education for too many these days. Look at the Occupiers. They graduated from the liberal curriculum of advanced victimhood studies, and then pitched their tents with a list of vague but insistent demands for social justice.
Once upon a time, our education system taught an appreciation for American history, values, and principles of governance. Immigrant kids got the same message, that American culture was for everyone, and not so long ago. Victor Davis Hanson described his patriotic grade school education of the 1960’s in California’s Central Valley in his 2002 article, “The Civic Education America Needs.” Even though two-thirds of Hanson’s classmates were Mexican born or descended, the school didn’t teach race-based Raza studies to accentuate tribalism to somehow improve self-esteem. The aim was to raise responsible young members of American society, not create a demanding victim cadre.
As Hanson wrote:
...we repeatedly heard that President Lincoln, Mark Twain, and John Henry belonged to a heritage we all shared — that we natives had no more claim on FDR or Guadalcanal than did the new arrivals from Oaxaca or the Punjab.
Can the current educational system be fixed? Millions of parents have voted negatively by placing their kids in private schools, around 10 percent nationwide. (Interestingly, in 2008, 27 percent of students attended private schools in diversity-promoting San Francisco.) However the great majority of private schools are religiously based, and may have drunk the diversity/immigration Kool-Aid as much as their public brethren. An estimated three percent of students, around 1.5 million kids, are homeschooled according to the 2012 Statistical Abstract released by the Census. Unfortunately, many parents cannot afford an alternative education for offspring.
Still, citizen taxpayers have a right to see their education dollars spent wisely, without hostile ideologies being taught to impressionable young minds. More attention must be paid to who serves on school boards. A Tea Party sub-movement to elect concerned patriots for the local board of education would be appropriate.
Repairing a broken culture is a long-term project, and it won’t be put right by politicians looking for a quick fix. Certainly the societal effects of much of contemporary movies, music, and television are negative, if not downright poison. But the school system lays down the foundational ideas by which young people judge their surrounding society.
As Ronald Reagan wisely observed, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
So when recent college graduates describe the United States as evil, racist, and sexist, they are reciting what they have been taught. And that needs to change.