Mazzuca: Is this really necessary?
Recently a friend forwarded an article citing how the French are becoming concerned with America’s “woke leftism” and identity politics, and the effects those notions are having on French culture. Normally I’m not overly concerned with the opinions of other nationalities, but when even liberal Frenchmen become fearful of what they see happening in the United States, it might be wise to take note.
In a recent speech denouncing separatism, French President Emmanuel Macron blamed the social science theories recently imported from the United States, i.e., the “critical race” and “post-colonial” theories that are now being taught in American universities.
Allow me to be clear, I don’t deny that racism exists in the United States, just as racism has existed in every society since the Garden of Eden. However, I want to be just as clear that it is not systemic. The Cambridge Dictionary defines systemic racism as, “Policies and practices that exist throughout a whole society or organization, and that result in and support a continued unfair advantage to some people and unfair or harmful treatment of others based on race.” The operative phrase being “throughout a whole of society” and that is simply not the case here. Meanwhile, the UN’s definition of systemic racism takes the Cambridge definition even further stipulating that “systemic racism” means these practices are embedded in a nation’s laws and statutes, as was the case in antebellum America.
But since those times our nation has fought a bloody Civil War, ratified Amendments to the Constitution and enacted numerous laws to eliminate “systemic” racism. But no law is going to change what’s in a person’s heart. So, yes, racism does exist in this country, but spare me the “systemic” nonsense unless or until someone figures out a way to get into someone’s soul.
As opined by France’s minister of education, American woke leftism and identity politics could undermine French national unity and fuel extremism in the country’s education system. Even the New York Times asked, “will America’s ideas tear France apart?”
While not fully in the mainstream across America yet, the identity politics culture of the left is over-compensating in some of the most extreme and ridiculous ways imaginable. To illustrate with just one obnoxious example, the Oregon Department of Education is encouraging its teachers to register for training in “ethnomathematics,“ a ”discipline“ (and I use that term loosely) arguing that white supremacy manifests itself in the focus of finding the right answer to mathematical problems. Now read that sentence again and let it sink in for a moment.
The online course is titled “Pathway to Equity, Micro-Course 2.0” and according to its website is designed for middle school teachers to use as part of a “toolkit” to dismantle racism in mathematics instruction. As an aside, this course also carries two continuing education credits at specified colleges. Now this is where we get into the “You cannot make this stuff up” category. The aforementioned “toolkit” actually includes a list of ways white supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms.
This “teaching model” argues that focusing on getting the right answer and requiring students to show their work somehow discriminates against minority students. This “equitable math toolkit” goes on to advise teachers that the concept of mathematics being objective and that there are always right and wrong answers is patently false.
An associated “Dismantling Racism Workbook” linked with the “toolkit” takes this a step further stating, “the notion of being objective or neutral is a characteristic of white supremacy.” At the same time the workbook encourages teachers to identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialistic and racist views. This is America, right?
White supremacy, encouraging capitalist and racist views, no such thing as objectivity in a math class, wow, I mean just how far left is “wokism”? Some may say this is an extreme example, but perhaps it’s not because based upon what I hear from my grandkids who range from the second grade to college, I’m not so sure anymore.
If parents in Oregon want to spend their tax dollars to have teachers brainwash their kids, that’s their prerogative. But as a nation, when even the French fear the ideological nonsense emanating from the American left, we should all be concerned.
Quote of the day: “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men,” — John F. Kennedy.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. Follow him on his blog at butchmazzuca.com.