Sunday, May 21, 2006

Febrile in Seattle

The Seattle Public Schools system has adopted a set of definitions dripping with far-left wackiness that purport to identify various forms of "racism". "Racism" itself (without a modifying adjective) apparently cannot be perpetrated by groups which in the view of the Seattle Public Schools have "relatively little social power," identified as "Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians." This would seem to exempt a sizable chunk of the population (known in the PC vernacular as "people of color") from being capable of committing this hideous crime. One would have thought that "racism" (without the adjectives) is a state of mind. Apparently it is an activity:
The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.
The next entry is on "individual racism." Just when I thought that individuals of all colorations are capable of "racism" after all, it turns out that, besides "telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet," the miscreant must believe in the "inherent superiority of whites." So, unless members of "targeted racial groups" perversely believe in such superiority, they are off the hook once again:

Individual Racism:
The beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can occur at both an unconscious and conscious level, and can be both active and passive. Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites.
But perhaps matters are even more weirdly complex than that. Perhaps members of "targeted racial groups" cannot be individuals at all, for we learn under "cultural racism" that the emphasis on "individualism" is also "racist". Since "targeted racial groups" cannot be "racist," they thus cannot hold "racist" beliefs such as a belief in the individual. Following this dizzying Seattle Public Schools logic, "targeted racial groups" might not exist as individuals at all:

Cultural Racism:
Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.
Another revelation is that planning ahead (what these educationists call "having a future time orientation") is apparently also "racist". Now, believing that planning ahead is a function of pigmentation strikes me as truly racist. But these educationists are probably too dim-witted to realize this.

It should be noted that these dogmas have been far-left fare for a long time. They are not recent creations of Seattle schools. The inspiration listed as a source is Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 1197 eds. Adams, Bell & Griffin. Still, it is astonishing that a tax-financed, public entity would adopt a lunatic fringe creed as its guiding policy. An incidental benefit is that it becomes a little clearer what the proponents of "social justice" have in mind.


Dr. Stat said...

I wanted to pass this on to you:

News Brief #3588 Category: Education Policy
TITLE: “Some Worry About Potential Bias on the National Math Panel”

President Bush has named only one K-12 teacher to his National Mathematics Advisory Panel, a group charged with exploring math teaching and learning. The lack of teacher representation on the panel has some observers questioning the group’s makeup and its objectivity.

The panel is weighted with experts on teaching mathematics at the college level, and does not represent “a balanced view of mathematics,” said Steven Leinwand, a principal research analyst at the American Institutes for Research. Some are concerned that the panel is biased toward one particular method of teaching math, the traditional approach that focuses on drills and computation.

Even Vern Williams, the one K-12 math teacher on the panel, has a Web site on which he criticizes the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics for promoting what he calls “fuzzy” math standards.

Another panelist, Wilfried Schmid, a Harvard University mathematics professor, has also been a frequent critic of NCTM. However, Schmid says the two sides in the so-called “math wars” have begun working more cooperatively, and are finding common ground.

Tom Loveless, a senior scholar at the Brookings Institution who was selected for the panel, dismissed suggestions that the panel has an agenda.

“It’s an opportunity to cut through a lot of the noise surrounding math,” Loveless said.

SOURCE: Education Week, 19 May 2006 (p. 08)

High Desert Wanderer said...

That's Washington for you. Washington State University in the early 90s was teaching that only whites could be racist, and only men could be sexist. Boggles the mind.