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VIDEO Parents Revolt After Texas’s No. 1 School District Tries To Institutionalize Racism – Vail, AZ

Parents Revolt After Texas’s No. 1 School District Tries To Institutionalize Racism

Parents of kids attending Texas’s top-performing school district found out what their schools have been teaching in the name of ‘racial justice,’ and they are livid.

By Joy Pullmannupdated

A suburb of Dallas, Texas has exploded into national media coverage and arrests of school board members after parents found out what their schools have been teaching in the name of “racial justice.” They’re fighting back with lawsuits and challengers for two school board seats in an election that finishes May 1.

Carroll Independent School District of Southlake is the top-achieving school district in Texas. It has no racial achievement gaps, which is nearly unheard of. That’s because Southlake attracts high-achieving families of all races.

The local median income is more than four times the national average and poverty there is statistically nonexistent. According to district data, “microaggressions,” bullying, and racially charged incidents happen approximately three times per month in the district of 8,500 students, meaning they involve 0.3 percent of students a year.

Yet, beginning in 2018, the district rushed into an eye-popping “cultural competence” plan after two videos of students singing the n-word along with rappers went viral on social media. Media outlets went nuts on the story, and so did local school board meetings, where sometimes-crying taxpayers, parents, and students spent hours insisting their lives have been forever damaged by the kind of “institutional racism” in Southlake illustrated by the rap sing-alongs.

They weren’t complaining that rappers stud songs with racial slurs, or that parents let their kids listen to such music. They were complaining about things like teasing and graffiti. They demanded the school district end such annoyances, and even treat them like crimes, or be convicted in the court of public opinion of enabling “institutional racism.”

Is Everyone to Blame for What a Few Racists Do?

Retired Dallas Cowboys player Russell Maryland and Robin Cornish, the widow of another Cowboy, who both have kids in the district, used national media appearances to pressure the town to enact a “Cultural Competence Action Plan,” or CCAP. A long-form article from NBC News in January that quotes Cornish accuses the town of harboring racists.

Cornish also told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in February 2019 the school district was “sweeping this under the carpet, and they are complicit. Unfortunately, this is the way our country is right now. Southlake is a microcosm of that. We have someone running the country right now who says it’s OK to be racist.”

“The idea that America is fundamentally flawed because some people have a [racist] problem in their minds, that’s a recipe to keep you in poverty and unhappiness for the rest of your life,” said Juan Saldivar, a father of a Southlake student, to explain his opposition to restructuring Southlake schools around “systemic racism.” “My parents always told me it doesn’t matter whether people like you, it matters whether the law protects you, and it does.”

He said most parents who oppose the district’s rush into racial extremism over the past three years don’t want to talk to media outlets because their perspective is depicted as racist, even though their true goals are combating racism and ensuring equal treatment and continued academic excellence for all Carroll students. A local parents group organized to oppose CCAP, Southlake Families PAC, makes that clear throughout their website and other materials.

Through the district’s spokesman, school board members and Carroll administrators refused any comment on this story, even through their lawyers. The spokesman cited ongoing litigation that has paused CCAP and led to two school board members posting bail after being indicted in a lawsuit alleging they conducted meetings about CCAP in secret in violation of state law.

A look at what numerous district employees and contractors were using public resources to teach suggests some other reasons they’re declining comment. Here’s a sampling of what Carroll ISD has been doing in the name of “cultural competency” and “combatting racism.” It’s evidence of the district seeking to push extremist views on kids—a completely different story than CCAP proponents claim and corporate media have reported in the past three years.

Racial ‘Competence’ Means Shaming White People

During a 2019 retreat, Carroll administrators were given a preview of the kind of instruction they would be expected to oversee and carry out under a “cultural competency” regime.

In slides presented at that retreat, teachers and administrators who choose to treat students, parents, and colleagues equally regardless of their skin color or ethnicity were accused of “cultural blindness”: “a state in which differences were ignored and one proceeds as if differences don’t exist.” The slides claimed, “White privilege is being able to navigate daily life in the American culture without having to think about race.”

The administrators were encouraged to construct a “white identity,” discussing “What does it mean for you to be white?” and “whiteness,” as well as “Nam[ing] some characteristics of white culture.”

While being encouraged to think of themselves in terms of race, however, administrators were also told that being white is a bad thing. It includes “white fragility,” “a state in which even a minimal amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves (anger, fear, guilt.. silence).”

Ironically, the presentation also warns against “stereotyping,” which it says “happens when you generalize about a person while ignoring the presence of individual differences.”

“This is how bad it has to get before most white people notice: Burning crosses, Swastikas, KKK, the N-word,” Carroll administrators were told in the presentation.

Everything Could Be Racist, Even Eye Contact

On August 10, 2020, Assistant Principal Rene James gave a presentation to Carroll High School teachers focused on race. It directed them to think about their teaching through “The Lense of Equity,” which means racializing every possible interaction: where students sit, who raises his hand (and doesn’t), which students take advanced classes, and so forth, in extreme detail.

The presentation included this video from a California nonprofit group about “racism” in schools. An unnamed young black woman in the video claims “Black and brown students” need extra resources because they “have to work extra hard and do like double the work just to succeed.”

James’s presentation also links to an “equity rubric,” or things teachers should change about their professional practices, that include “The teacher is aware of their [sic] biases and privileges,” “The teacher utilizes identity-affirming strategies,” and “The school’s core policies and practices indicate a prioritization of Equity.” Teachers were instructed to document “evidence of progress” on metrics like this.

James’s presentation also links to “A Resource for Equitable Classroom Practices 2010,” a 40-page document that includes detailed instructions for greeting students, calling on them in class, and classroom decorations, all with an eye to race. It implies that behaviors such as mispronouncing a student’s name, making both too much or too little eye contact, or not equally distributing how a teacher walks around the classroom is racist.

The document also demands that teachers who don’t want to be considered racists “Use[] body language, gestures, and expressions to convey a message that all students’ questions and opinions are important,” and include non-English words in classroom materials.

Equality Is Actually Racist

A “culturally competent” professional development session held on Sept. 9, 2020 for Carroll ISD staff included similar material. It claimed that teachers who “maintain[] long held traditions over [a]changing population’s traditions” and “neglecting to or refusing to each from a culturally relevant perspective,” as well as striving to treat all people equally regardless of skin color, were negative behaviors teachers should shun.

It called on teachers to “Understand, [sic] there is a system and culture of power dependent on the suppression of other cultures in order to maintain itself” and claimed “educators no longer have the luxury of being color-blind or color-mute in a society socially constructed around race.”

This “training session” was held in conjunction with a publicly funded regional public school cooperative known as Education Service Center Region 11, which oversees 76 Texas public school districts that encompass approximately 600,000 students.

The presentation further called on teachers to consider how they can be a “more critically race conscious leader and educator (in America).”

The presentation depicted as educators’ ultimate goal to encourage students to “work to be agents of change,” and along the way learn to “view problems and issues through different ethnic lenses.” It called on teachers to develop environments that push students to “become actively engaged in solving real-world problems centered around diversity, culture, power, equity, and social-justice.”

Dad: A Poisonous Recipe for Poverty and Unhappiness

CCAP proponents like Maryland depict this kind of material as teaching children basic human decency. But those who oppose it see materials like these and draw the conclusion that there’s a lot more going on here.

Saldivar is a retired colonel who graduated from West Point and remained in Southlake after he was stationed in the area on a military assignment. He strongly opposes this kind of instruction trickling down into his daughter’s fourth-grade classroom.

“I did everything I could to get my child into [Carroll] and it’s No. 1 in Texas, and I say I do not want my child growing up with this stuff being injected into her brain because it’s poison,” he said in an interview. “It’s the seeds of destruction that ruin one’s ability to grow up happy and be a leader in society.”

A Mexican-American grandson of immigrants, Juan was the first in his extended family to go to college. He said he’s experienced racism from both white people and “people of color,” but said racist actions by individuals don’t indict the entire nation he’s put his life in danger to protect and that has given his immigrant family opportunities far beyond their sharecropper past.

“The outcome is nothing less than the survival of our national identity itself. No nation can survive a generation of citizens who hate their country,” Saldivar said to explain why he finally decided to speak his mind despite the social pressure he knew he’d face for it. “That’s why I say education is a higher endeavor than war. It has a longer-lasting impact.”

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Sign up here to get early access to her next book, “How To Control The Internet So It Doesn’t Control You.” Her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” A Hillsdale College honors graduate, @JoyPullmann is also the author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books.

AMAZING! This needs to happen across the United States

VAIL, AZ: Vail School Board Walks Out Of Meeting, Parents Elect New School Board And Vote To End Mask Mandate

Watch the video at the link below

and this added video


What To Read Instead Of ‘White Fragility’

Sooner or later you’re going to encounter these anti-American ideas about addressing racism in your workplace, on kids’ homework, or in the faculty lounge – and you can’t be fragile when confronting it.

“Do the work!” The phrase has become a kind of ritual malediction among activists who seek to weaponize racism.

First, an accusation of racism is made. It goes without saying that it is accurate – how could it not be, when virtually every institution and norm in modern America is an instrument of white supremacy?

At this point, a lot of people merely yield or acquiesce to the will of their accuser out of misplaced guilt or fear of the reputational harm that comes with being branded a racist. If you are foolhardy enough to raise questions of the accuser about the veracity of the complaint, or are merely confused about what’s being alleged, a discussion will not ensue. There will be variations of the same theme: “I AM TIRED. AND EXHAUSTED trying to explain your white privilege to you. DO THE WORK.” 

What does “do the work” even mean? Well, if you want to go down the academic rabbit-hole from which this emerged, in neo-Marxian critical theory argot the term of art is “praxis.”

In his late-phase Marxism, Jean Paul Sartre defined “praxis” as the transformation of the world in accordance with a specific ideological end. So when you’re told “do the work,” leftists don’t mean any kind of personal development that would allow for unique circumstances, individual understanding, and personal agency. They have a very specific program in mind for you to follow.

So we get passages like this from a priceless open letter in Portland Monthly where “white people” are addressed en masse and told to “Consider your performative solidarity officially on notice”:

I advise you to check your white guilt and the impulse you may now feel to reach out to the Black folks in your life. DO NOT CALL YOUR BLACK FRIEND RIGHT NOW! This might be a novel concept, but consume content about the Black experience produced by Black creatives and thought leaders—not white non-experts on Blackness you feel safe with. We all have the same internet, and from it you have equal access to books, culturally-specific contemporary publications, podcasts, and other seemingly endless resources that can be the impetus for your own self-examination.

It’s telling that engagement is one-sided – you’re not to be engaged until you’re immersed in a “culturally-specific” and political understanding of their choosing.

To that end, the author above provides a link to a Google doc with a slew of resources to get woke. The suggestions range from relatively benign or helpful (read Toni Morrison novels!) to eye-rolling (follow The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie on Twitter) to pernicious works influenced by critical race theory that damage race relations and interpersonal relationships (the work of Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, authors of White Fragility and How to Be an Anti-Racist).

By now it should be obvious what’s going on. If you’re aggressively confronted about alleged personal weaknesses, shut out from dealing directly with the supposedly aggrieved party, told you can only begin these failings by engaging with and agreeing to a specific doctrine, and at that point you relent… congratulations! You’ve just joined a cult.

The purging of wrongthink will be total. Last month, The New York Times published an op-ed encouraging people to send texts “to your relatives and loved ones telling them you will not be visiting them or answering phone calls until they take significant action in supporting black lives either through protest or financial contributions.”

The Kafka Trap

While critical race theory is seeping into the culture from a lot of different directions, it’s worth looking at the two most influential books, White Fragility and How to Be an Anti-Racist, which are currently dominating the bestseller lists.

The reach of DiAngelo’s White Fragility is such that she was recently a guest on the Tonight Show, and the book has become almost totemic in its significance. Recently, Robin Broshi, a member of a New York City Community Education Council, got outraged at her fellow councilmember during the group’s public Zoom meeting for bouncing a friend’s nephew on his lap.

His crime? “It hurts people when they see a white man bouncing a brown baby on their lap and they don’t know the context. That is harmful,” she said, in obvious distress. “I would like to know how having my friend’s nephew on my lap was racist,” he asked. “Read a book. Read White Fragility,” she retorted.

Fortunately, the notoriety has been such that at least a few notable people have read White Fragility and finally begun to condemn the insanity it provokes. Matt Taibbi, an avowed liberal who has recently become alarmed by the growing belief that “individual rights, humanism, and the democratic process are all just stalking-horses for white supremacy,” tore the book to pieces in a widely read review, noting, “DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horses–t as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory.”

The Hitlerian race theory bit isn’t really hyperbole. The entire book is a peaen to white identity politics, albeit a backhanded one. DiAngelo, who is white, insists that for white people to address racism they have to accept their identity as a white person and constantly be aware of how the mere fact of their skin color defines interactions with others. Once they’ve done that, only then can they begin to shed their racist behaviors but LOL JK you can’t really stop being racist because you’re still white and “anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities.”

Now obviously there are lots of historical examples of why encouraging white people to find solidarity in their skin color could backfire. In that respect, the colorblind attitudes preached by Martin Luther King Jr. and his acolytes were successful in advancing civil rights,  and not just because they encouraged white people to see black people as their brothers and sisters made in the image of the same God and therefore deserving of the same personal respect and political rights. Emphasizing the “content of their character” over the color of their skin made it clear just how superficial race-based solidarity of white culture is and why it was worth rejecting. In fact, DiAngelo makes a point of explicitly rejecting the “content of their character” argument, arrogantly oblivious to the hubris involved in a white lady dismissing MLK’s civil rights legacy.

While frustration over perceived lack of racial progress since the MLK era is understandable, it beggars belief that anyone, let alone someone who professes to oppose racism, would look at the last 70 or so years of American history and say, “I think we need to get white people to start thinking about how their skin color unites them.” But here we are.

Taibbi righteously identifies problems with DiAngelo, but skirts around the fact that DiAngelo’s desire to harden racial identities is just a set-up for something even more troubling. Should you resist accepting your white identity or otherwise deny how an accident of your birth makes you complicit in systemic evils regardless of your intent and behavior, well, DiAngelo’s pat response is kind of astonishing: The fact you are insecure and “fragile” when confronted with what your white identity means is just further proof that you are, in fact, racist.

This is a rhetorical device known as a “Kafka trap,” where the more you deny something, the more it’s proof of your guilt. Suffice to say, this is both illogical and manipulative by design. It’s not just that DiAngelo’s book is premised on a fallacy; that fallacy is so prominent it’s explained in the title of the book.

This brings us to Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist, which kicks Kafka-trapping up to a whole new level. Like DiAngelo, Kendi’s vision of being “anti-racist” means coding every interaction with people in terms of some sort of complex hierarchy of identity that you’re supposed to innately understand. (Note that the epistemology of various identarian ideologies are at odds with each other. Skin color may be an observable fact to some extent, but “race” is largely a cultural construct, hence why so many people agree to pretend Shaun King is black.)

Again, Kendi is creating a closed loop. Agree to situate yourself in the hierarchy, or you’re racist. And once you’ve situated yourself in the hierarchy, that’s when “doing the work” begins.

Even if you as an individual have done nothing wrong, you’re still benefitting from a racist system just by virtue of your skin color. Merely not being racist and confronting racist behavior when you see it isn’t enough to dismantle racism. Instead, you have to be “anti-racist.”

That means you are constantly combatting systemic racism by, in effect, attacking and remaking the system itself. What does this look like? Well, I’ll let Kendi explain:

To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with ‘racist ideas’ and ‘public official’ clearly defined). It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

All we have to do is “clearly define” racism and make it illegal? Why didn’t we think of that earlier! And a federal cabinet agency that goes around investigating “private” accusations of racism and disciplining public officials for expressions of racist ideas? Just ignore the amusing suggestion that this agency be referred to as “DOA,” let’s just call it the federal Department of What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

These ideas are especially insidious because they exploit the goodwill of people and institutions earnestly seeking to not be racist, and who come into these discussions with their guards down and willing to change their behavior if they think it will help make the world a less racist place.

Ironically, the supposed solutions coming from DiAngelo and Kendi in any other context would be called racist. They perpetuate a worldview that asks people to accept that they are forever defined by skin color, and refute attempts to question this understanding with nonfalsifiable logic that requires permanent subjugation. But you are not racist for disagreeing with this stuff — it’s anti-American, and designed to create more unhappiness and racial strife.

The Use and Abuse of History

So how do you fight this? Well, to start you should, in fact, “do the work.” But acquainting yourself with the more current and pernicious stains of thinking on racial politics isn’t enough.

You may have noticed that DiAngelo, Kendi, and most of their fellow travelers are obsessed with history as of late. They justify their urgency and radicalism by citing historical narratives divorced from reality, one where racism and slavery aren’t a betrayal of American ideals, but the fulfillment of them.

This mythmaking bulldozes over historical and present reality. There are plenty of criticisms of this country’s political and cultural handling of race that can and should be made, but it’s frankly embarrassing how ignorant and misleading about history so many of the people leading our national conversation on race really are. The people yelling “do the work!” haven’t actually done the work.

For instance, this past Fourth of July, Kendi tweeted an abbreviated version of  Frederick Douglass’s famous speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” Written in 1852, it is a scathing indictment of the hypocrisies of American founding ideals at time slavery was still legal.

Douglass, a former slave, abolitionist, and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, is truly great and underappreciated American. But for all his righteous anger over slavery, he still believed in his country. In the speech, Douglass praises the Constitution as “saving principles,” and he’s quite explicit in his belief that it’s “slander on [the founders’] memory” to believe the foundational document was part of a plan to perpetuate slavery rather than end it.

At a time people are toppling statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, anyone quoting Douglass’s speech should probably not omit where Douglass says, “the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure” and that he will “unite with you to honor their memory.”

However, if you just read Kendi’s abbreviated version of the speech, you’d get a very different idea of what Douglass actually said. The use and abuse of Douglass is a recurring theme. Last year, Colin Kaepernick quoted the Douglass speech for his own ends; this year he rejected the holiday outright, and simply referred to the Fourth of July as “your celebration of white supremacy.” Surely it says something that a millionaire athlete’s hatred of his country far eclipses that of Douglass, a former slave writing while slavery was still being practiced.

It’s simply becoming impossible to deny that the goal here is to rewrite history. The New York Times’ much-discussed 1619 Project explicitly aims to make America’s true founding date the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, not 1776. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of the 1619 Project, is a little more than an embarrassing and conspiracy-minded provocateur who has endorsed violence.

Her historical ignorance is such that she recently defended the toppling of a statue of noted racist Ulysses S. Grant and compared him to Hitler and Osama bin Laden because Grant “owned another human being.” For the record, Grant, who abhorred slavery and defeated the Confederate Army, inherited a single slave from his father-in-law and then manumitted him within a year or so because that’s about how long the legal process took.

Despite the fact that Hannah-Jones is a charlatan, The New York Times has had to issue a correction on the 1619 Project, and there have been howls of protests from America’s most eminent historians about the project’s “displacement of historical understanding by ideology,” the 1619 Project won a Pulitzer Prize, is coming to a school curriculum near you, and Oprah Winfrey has a series of film projects planned.

This false narrative that places slavery at the center of American history, rather than our imperfect struggle to realize our founding ideals, will be cemented unless people speak out. In addition to brushing up on the insidious logic behind critical race theory, it’s going to be necessary to improve our historical understanding to fight these attempts to tear the country down.

Doing the Real Work

With that in mind, here’s a list of books and other resources that will help put race and American history in their proper perspective. This list of books will not be comforting to contemporary conservative or Christian worldviews. Even if historical truths generally vindicate American ideals, that doesn’t excuse the blood-soaked betrayal of those ideas that have occurred in the nearly 250 years since. Part of the reason these ahistorical narratives about race are taking hold so swiftly is that most of the country has only confronted the horrors of slavery and racism in the abstract.

As James Baldwin has observed, “the reason for this ignorance is that a knowledge of the role these people [African-Americans] played—and play—in American life would reveal more about America to Americans than Americans wish to know.” Prepare to be uncomfortable and remember that you can handle challenging facts, ideas, and opinions. Remember you’re not the one asking people to join a cult — the goal is to be more empathetic and informed, and you should be prepared to change your mind about some things.

Slavery: Historically, America’s educational system has given the black experience short shrift, and it’s important to understand just how horrifying the practice of chattel slavery was in terms of the torture, abuse, and tearing apart of families. The low-impact book here is Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which was a mega-bestseller when it came out in the 1970s, won a Pulitzer, and prompted a hugely successful TV miniseries.

It follows the story of Kunta Kinte, an African kidnapped and sold into slavery and transported to America, and the generations of his family on down to Alex Haley himself. Roots is imperfect, or at the very least the fact a large chunk of it was apparently plagiarized from another novel about the slave experience written by a white guy should provide some interesting fodder for those who think “cultural appropriation” is a legitimate complaint. Still, the historical sweep of Roots puts slavery into perspective, it’s a cultural landmark, and it’s very readable.

It’s more imperative to read the first-hand 19th-century slave narratives. They are amazing documents. The most famous is, of course, the eponymous Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which should be required reading for all Americans. Just the mere facts recounted about what the slaves were given to eat and wear should shock the conscience, never mind what Douglass has to say about the deliberate denial of slaves’ humanity.

“I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; He must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man,” Douglass writes. The Library of America also has an excellent single volume of slave narratives that includes Douglass, as well as writings from Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, and others.

Finally, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World The Slaves Made by Eugene D. Genovese is considered a classic history of slavery — the book won the Bancroft Prize when it came out in 1972 — and is fairly unique in that it uses Marxist critiques to show how slaves worked within the oppressive system to find ways to maintain their dignity.

Genovese was a sincere Marxist at the time he wrote it, but by the 1990s identified himself as a social conservative who founded the Historical Society to combat the “totalitarian assault” of political correctness and ideological history coming from the academy. The book’s use of Marxist theories is confounding, and even infuriating, to contemporary left-wing academics.

The Civil War: Since Confederate monuments and the legacy of the Civil War are at the heart of many of the current debates, it’s worth getting familiar with this pivotal event and its causes. A leading contender for best single-volume history of the conflict is James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, which has been endorsed by Ta-Nehisi Coates for offering “a catalogue of evidence, making it clear not just that the white South went to war for the right to own people, but that it warred for the right to expand the right to own people.”

Relating to the Civil War, it’s important to also get familiar with the rhetoric of the leader who won it. The Portable Lincoln and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, the latter by the terrific historian Allen C. Guelzo, make it clear that Lincoln’s political success and his justifications for waging war rested on convincing the country slavery was incompatible with our cherished founding documents. Anyone who’s read The Gettysburg Address knows Lincoln was a brilliant writer, but he’s the rare figure, let alone politician, who only seems to grow in your estimation as you read more of his work.

Frederick Douglass: While Douglass’s autobiography is essential, that doesn’t begin to explain his political and cultural influence — and he was an influential political figure until his death 30 years after the end of the Civil War. The Portable Frederick Douglass, edited by John Stauffer and Henry Louis Gates Jr., provides not just selections from his autobiographical works, but a good selection of his speeches and journalism that show how America was continuing to wrestle with race in the decades following the end of slavery.

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois: Born in 1856, Booker T. Washington’s 1901 autobiography Up From Slavery tells the story of the famous educator’s life and how he attributes his success to education, self-reliance, and industriousness. He urges this path for his fellow African-Americans.

It’s impossible to overstate the positive impact this book had on the country and race relations. For decades after it came out, Washington’s book was the only touchstone for race relations many white Americans had, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. (My grandmother, who was raised in rural Idaho and died pushing 100, used to approvingly quote the book’s nuggets of wisdom for my benefit.)

On the other hand, Washington’s popularity and the simplicity of his message were also resented by other 20th-century black writers who were both in his shadow and still dealing with pronounced racism. In W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk, published just two years after Up From Slavery, DuBois tackles Washington head-on.

He praises Washington for lifting up the image of black people and engendering sympathy to the plight of black people from whites, but counters that there were plenty of educated and industrious black Americans in Jim Crow America finding that Washington’s prescriptions weren’t enough to overcome racism. DuBois’ thinking eventually lead to the creation of the NAACP and more African-American political engagement.

It’s worth weighing DuBois and Washington’s arguments against each other in light of the ways political engagement has clearly benefited black Americans, versus creating dependencies that have eroded self-reliance and weakened black families and communities. There are points in favor of both arguments, and finding the right balance between the two is key to improving the lives of black Americans.

James Baldwin: Baldwin is just a stunning writer almost in the literal sense of the word, and he’s almost worth reading just to appreciate his mastery of the written word. The two essays contained in The Fire Next Time manage to say as much or more about the problems of race in just 120 pages than almost anyone before or since.

The Fire Next Time contains multitudes; Baldwin speaks of sincerely wanting vengeance for the treatment of black Americans and his thoughts on the potential for improving race relations drip with cynicism. A former preacher in his youth, he excoriates American Christianity for its inadequacies and hypocrisies on race.

But he always manages to leave the door open just enough so hope can creep in, writing of the need for a “love [that] takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” And he worryingly observes that “glorification of one race and the consequent debasement of another—or others—always has been and always will be a recipe for murder.”

It’s all the more interesting that the book was written in 1963. Baldwin’s asides on communism and imperialism, along with his dismissal of Bobby Kennedy’s surprisingly accurate prediction there would be a black president in 40 years, haven’t aged well.

But it’s also a real indictment so many of his universal observations about racial injustice, including his repeated complaints about the police treatment of black people, remain shockingly relevant. As a bonus, Baldwin astutely dissects the appeal of the Nation of Islam to black Americans — a topic that’s suddenly become relevant again.

Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele: Sowell might be one of the smartest Americans who has ever lived, and his contributions to economics are undeniably momentous. Any other black intellectual of his stature would be much more famous, but Sowell’s conservatism means his extensive writings on race are ignored because they don’t advance the political causes of the left.

But that doesn’t make them any less worthy. Books such as Intellectuals and RaceDiscrimination and DisparitiesBlack Rednecks and White Liberals, and Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? are all impeccably argued and buttressed with research. (Sowell has also done important work on education, the big civil rights issue that doesn’t get discussed because it indicts the left.)

Similarly, Shelby Steele is another unjustly ignored conservative black intellectual whose writing on race is essential. White GuiltShameThe Content of Our Character, and A Dream Deferred all challenge accepted liberal racial and political narratives adroitly.

DiAngelo and Kendi: Yes, it will be painful, but you should absolutely try and read DiAngelo and Kendi’s books, because a lot of the people waving them around as anti-racist talisman might have picked up on a few ideas from an NPR interview, but odds are good they haven’t really read them.

Both books are full of academic jargon are somewhat inscrutable by design. But if you read them, that affords you a powerful opportunity when someone is, oh say, inexplicably offended by you bouncing a child of a different skin color on your lap and yells at you to read White Fragility.

At that point you can say, “Actually, I have read that book. And I think that anyone who actually cares about racism should be very wary of it. Do you really think ‘White people’s moral objection to racism increases their resistance to acknowledging their complicity with it’? Why does DiAngelo encourage white people to be obsessively aware of their racial identity when she also says ‘a positive white identity is an impossible goal’?” If nothing else, the results will be amusing.

James Lindsay and New Discourses: Lindsay and his cohorts at the New Discourses website have emerged as leading and fearless critics of the hordes of critical theorists trying to shove social justice down our throats, particularly as it intersects with real-world occupations and concerns. (See, for instance, this article on how woke politics are making it harder for mental health professionals to do their job.)

If you need a plain English explanation for the latest social justice fad and why it’s corrosive to free speech and other American values, there’s a good chance you’ll find something useful on their comprehensive website. Lindsay is also excellent at exposing just how far gone adherents of “critical social justice” are – see this video where someone tries to explain that determining whether the number of candies in a box is even or odd isn’t just a matter of counting them; it depends on your cultural understanding of “math.”

What’s interesting is that Lindsay is an atheist and a rationalist. Not that long ago, people with Lindsay’s sympathies were predominantly focused on critiquing the religious right. But Lindsay and the New Discourses crew seem to have recognized the seriousness of threat coming from the zealous enforcement of the far-left’s woke doctrines, which have all the problems of religion but offer none of the forgiveness and redemption. To that end, Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose have a book coming out in late August, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody, which promises to be insightful.

Putting Your Knowledge to Work

If you become acquainted with even a small fraction of the work above, you should be well-equipped to hold your own in a conversation about race. Unfortunately, these days entering into any public fray about race is fraught with the danger for reputational harm, no matter how well-intentioned you are.

Discussing race, particularly as a white person, should always be done cautiously, and emphasize empathy and humility. In that respect, I hardly pretend to know everything about race in America; everything I’ve written here should just be viewed as one concerned man offering his opinions and making an effort. I’m keeping an open mind about police reform and many other topics these days.

However, not that long ago, running around fretting about “cultural Marxism” was a sure way to announce you were a right-wing nut job. Now one glance at the bestsellers list suggests that such concerns are perfectly valid. There’s still plenty of room for the right and earnest liberals to discuss solutions to racial injustice, but ceding the discussion to the new clerisy of “anti-racists” is not really an option when they don’t offer participatory solutions so much as issue demands.

Again, it’s worth repeating Kendi and DiAngelo are not fringe figures — people pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars with them, their bestselling books are being assigned in schools, and corporate H.R. departments are writing diversity policies based on their work. It’s important you be aware of what they’re doing and refuse to let you, your children, or your organization be baited into one of their logical cul-de-sacs.

Sooner or later you’re going to encounter these anti-American ideas about addressing racism in your workplace, on kids’ homework, or in the faculty lounge – and you can’t be fragile when confronting it. You need to have a base of knowledge about race in America that demonstrates an understanding of the enormity of the country’s sins, as well as demonstrating you’ve made an effort to inform yourself about overcoming them. You need to understand that your opponents might be employing manipulative logic to make their arguments – arguments that are fast becoming so pervasive that many people making them might readily revise their opinions once you confront them with your concerns.

Already there are stories circulating that people have successfully challenged the woke racial thought police in the office and at professional organizations by arming themselves with some basic knowledge. But we can’t stop there.

If we inform ourselves about the real history of race in America and engage with the good-faith arguments on both sides, we might be able coalesce around solutions and come together as Americans. It won’t be easy, but if this is what it means to “do the work” rather than simply let ourselves be told what to think, the effort will be worth it.

Mark Hemingway is the Book Editor at The Federalist, and was formerly a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @heminator

How Our Anti-American Education System Made Riots Inevitable

Rioting social justice warriors are remaking the world as they see fit, consistent with what they’ve been taught from K-12 to the highest echelons of learning.

How Our Anti-American Education System Made Riots Inevitable

By Inez Feltscher Stepman

The past fire-lit weeks in America’s cities have made clear that the protests, and the riots that attend them, have little to do with the condemnable alleged murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.

Even in the non-violent demonstrations, protesters can be seen burning the American flag, an act that just 30 years ago engendered such outrage it spurred Congress to pass an unconstitutional law, but doesn’t even warrant coverage today. In broad daylight, protesters have defaced and toppled statues dedicated to any and all figures of America’s history.

Lest anyone think the mob’s Year Zero behavior stopped with the slaveholding Confederacy, in Boston a monument to the 54th Massachusetts, an all-black Union regiment during the Civil War, was among those vandalized. Matthias Baldwin, an early abolitionist, got the same treatment in Philadelphia, as did the lesser-known Rotary Club founder Paul Harris, whose plaque in Washington D.C. was marked simply with an ignorance-acknowledging “probably a racist.” The monument to the author of the Emancipation Proclamation on the National Mall was likely spared only because of the protection of the National Guard.

As John Daniel Davidson has noted, toppling statues is not a good sign for the future of the republic; it looks a lot less like a policy conversation about police reform than it does regime change and revolution.

Nor are revolutionary sentiments limited to the youthful protesters. Much as they have in newsrooms and corporate boardrooms, the cultural revolutionaries find only willing kneelers among their elders in the Democratic Party.

After presiding over several nights of free-for-all looting, beatings, and police deaths, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said “400 years of American racism” excused the violence and social distancing violations. In Fairfax, Virginia, known as a moderate county, the Democratic Party put out a tweet praising rioting as an “integral part of this country’s march towards progress.”

Teaching Americans to Hate Their Country

At the heart of the unrest is the belief that the United States is a uniquely bad country, instead of an exceptionally free, prosperous, and powerful one. It’s the same message that the Pulitzer Committee endorsed when it crowned The New York Times’ 1619 Project: the United States is, always has been, and likely always will be, a deeply racist society.

Ibram Kendi, a leading promoter of what is euphemistically termed “anti-racism,” suggests as a solution to America’s alleged systematic racism an amendment that would gut the Constitution and its commitment to equality under the law and freedom of speech. “Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principles: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials.”

It should be clear from Kendi’s view, which replaces the equality of individuals based on natural right with “equality” of collective racial groups, that what the left innocuously now terms “anti-racism” requires the total destruction of the American system.

The narrative that systematic racism has been embedded in America’s DNA from her founding is a dangerous lie. Escaped slave turned statesman Fredrick Douglass, no stranger to harsh and righteous criticism of his country, called it “a slander upon [the framers’] memory.”

America Is Not Systemically Racist

No one denies America’s original sin of slavery, including the Founders. But slavery and racism are not at the heart of the American experiment or its documents and institutions.

Injustice, unfairness, and bigotry are, indeed, an ineradicable part of life. But America is not a systemically racist society. Far from being fruit of a rotten tree, America’s founding principles form the best recipe for racial harmony, and rebuke to inequality, yet devised by man.

Where does this poisonous anti-American idea, acceptance of which seems to be toppling institution after institution, come from, especially after the United States has advanced so far in living up to the promises of its birth?

As many of us warned years ago, the radical ideas born on campus have already metastasized across society. Today, K-12 public schools across the country increasingly teach some version of the lie.

The error-ridden, America-hating 1619 Project, and its associated Pulitzer-endorsed, Common Core-compliant lesson materials, is already being taught in more than 3,500 schools across the country. Anecdotally, ever more superintendents are responding to the current unrest by promising to adopt the 1619 curriculum. The problem will get worse before it gets better.

Most ‘Educational’ Institutions Indoctrinate

Well before protesters spilled into the streets in 2020, the largest national teachers’ union gave its official stamp of approval to Black Lives Matter and to indoctrinating teachers with the concept of “white fragility” and its supposed cause, “white supremacy culture,” as part of professional development. The effort to re-educate the nation’s teachers in the left’s radical image will also likely be accelerated due to the protests.

The same national union runs a division solely dedicated to advancing Black Lives Matter and encouraging identity politics in schools. During that same meeting, the National Education Association failed to pass a resolution pledging to “re-dedicate [the union] to the pursuit of increased student learning,” ostensibly its purpose for existence.

Out of the 100 largest school districts, precisely none have the words “America” or “patriotism” in their mission statements. This fact is even more shocking when one considers the public school system was originally created to teach American citizens how to preserve the republic they had been bequeathed.

Noah Webster, one of the country’s earliest textbook publishers and education advocates, wrote of a future American public school system: “begin with the infant in the cradle, let the first word he lisps be ‘Washington.’” Now the public school system teaches students to view the “indispensable man” as, foremost and unforgivably, a slaveholder.

Marxist College Grads Descend Upon Society

If elementary and secondary schools lay the foundation, colleges and universities, now attended by 40 percent of young Americans, provide the activist training to turn passive beliefs into action. The cultural revolutionaries produced by our education system then advance into corporations, tech startups, Hollywood, sports, and of course, media.

If conservatives ever believed the canard that safe-space social justice warriors would implode on impact with the “real world,” now’s the time to forget that happy notion. They’re not John Mayer, waiting on the world to change; they’re remaking the world as they see fit, consistent with what they’ve been taught from K-12 to the highest echelons of learning.

Where the right finds itself today is a direct consequence of its appalling failure to take culture, and the institutions that shape it, at least as seriously as it takes tax cuts, deregulation, and economic growth.

Is it any surprise that we’re now seeing 1619 in the streets? The anti-American ideas of the radical left have already won nearly everywhere else.

Where the right finds itself today is a direct consequence of its appalling failure to take culture, and the institutions that shape it, at least as seriously as it takes tax cuts, deregulation, and economic growth. I like taking home more of my paycheck as much as the next person, but minor economic reforms will not change the overall trajectory of the country if its schools and academies continue to preach disunion instead of e pluribus unum.

Two thirds of millennials believe that America is a racist and sexist country and close to 40 percent think the United States is “among the most unequal societies in the world.” Not just racist and sexist, but uniquely so: this is the historically-illiterate worldview of the graduates of our nation’s education system.

Some Americans might comfort themselves with the notion that this is a passing madness, but it is instead the inescapable consequence of what is being taught from kindergarten through graduate school. A nation that teaches its children to hate their country cannot endure. A nation that pays out $700 billion a year, and trillions in taxpayer-financed student loans, to train future citizens to see their country as hopelessly and irreparably racist cannot continue.

If the justice at the heart of the American project is no longer taught in the education system, there will be no peace.

Inez Feltscher Stepman is a senior contributor at The Federalist. She is also a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum and the Thursday editor of BRIGHT, a women’s newsletter. Find her on Twitter @inezfeltscher.

Sydney Archbishop Cautions Against ‘Safe Spaces’ and ‘Trigger Warnings’

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 16: Archbishop of Sydney, Most Reverend Anthony Fisher celebrates a mass to pay respect to the victims of the Martin Place siege on December 16, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis, was shot dead by police in the early hours of Tuesday …



Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher warned against the dangers of identity politics in his Christmas morning homily, suggesting that today’s snowflakes risk falling victims to a toxic narcissism.

“As desires change, we can revise our bodies surgically or our beliefs ideologically,” the archbishop said. “But reducing ourselves to our tastes or to a single attribute risks neglecting other important things about us.”

“Amidst celebrity adulation and identity politics, narcissism is now endemic. Too much focus on identity can be distorting,” he warned.

Preaching to a standing room-only crowd of some 2,000 Catholics at St. Mary’s Cathedral Wednesday morning, Fisher said that the modern “era of liquid personality” and “self-generated identities” runs counter to people’s true identities before God.

“Some of our I.D. comes from family, nation and culture,” he said. “But modernity prefers self-generated identities. Much of it is said to be about what we identify with.”

“Sometimes it’s just code for self-indulgence,” Fisher declared. “We humor our preferences with the excuse ‘it’s who we are.’ No need to abide by laws of faith and reason, or to compromise to the needs of others.”

“Safe spaces and trigger warnings coddle our fragile egos,” he added.

Much of the archbishop’s homily seemed aimed at modern theories of gender identity, which propose that a person’s sexual identity is fluid rather than biologically anchored and that sexual orientation is the defining attribute of personal identity.

Fisher said there were “forces” seeking to marginalize the Christian identity in particular, which require a recommitment to the faith from believers.

“If we are confused about values and vocation, we’ll be disinclined to plan or commit. Disengaged from family, Church and society, we fall easy prey to isolation or extremism,” he said.

“Forces threaten our identity and even our existence from the first moment of conception. Some seek to marginalize Christian identity in particular,” he said.

At the same time, people continue to seek God and his truth, the archbishop suggested, as evidenced by the presence of so many at Christmas Mass.

“But your presence here today speaks volumes. It says that our core identity as Christians graces us to be, not just better believers, but better friends and lovers, children and parents, citizens and colleagues,” he said.

In the end, Christmas brings a message of salvific love and turning to Christ means looking for our redemption — and our identity — in Him.

“To call Him our Saviour is to say we need saving – from sin, death, enemies, even ourselves,” Fisher said. “We need liberation – from vices, addictions, all that cages our spirit.”

“To call Him Son, Grace and Glory of God, is to acknowledge that we need a power greater than ourselves. To call Him Wonder-Counsellor, Almighty God and Prince of Peace is to recognize that He has remade us as the wisdom, peace and glory of God,” he said.

Outrage around proposed Modesto ‘straight pride parade’

Hannah Knowles, The Washington Post Thursday, July 25, 2019

An application to hold the event later this summer has thrust Modesto into a national debate over "straight pride," as a similar event that started out as a joking skewer of liberal "identity politics" heads toward reality in Boston.  Photo: DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The event is billed as a “straight pride parade,” but it’s not just about heterosexuality.

A flier for the celebration posted online describes an amalgamation of conservative rallying cries: Christianity, Western civilization, “babies — born and unborn” and more.

An application to hold the event later this summer has thrust a California city into a national debate over “straight pride,” as a similar event that started out as a joking skewer of liberal “identity politics” heads toward reality in Boston. Last month, Boston approved the permit application and route of an August straight-pride parade that many called a mockery of gay activism. Organizers insisted they “don’t hate anyone” and are trying to draw attention to “heterophobia.”

The city of Modesto, California, says its decision on whether the parade can be held Aug. 24 in Graceada Park hinges on logistics and not the organizers’ views, spokesman Thomas Reeves told the Los Angeles Times.

“So although the city does not share in the beliefs of some groups that choose to hold their events here, we may not be able to deny a permit based on an organization’s values,” Reeves said. The Central Valley city is looking at “operational feasibility.”

But the values behind the parade are precisely what Modesto community members are fighting over.

Behind the event is San Leandro chiropractor and herbalist Don Grundmann, who chairs the non-ballot-qualified Constitution Party of California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The organization, which says on its website that it believes in “individual liberty and limited government,” works against such policies as mandatory vaccination and a halt in state executions.

Grundmann also directs a National Straight Pride Coalition that supports the Modesto parade, though the group now has a presence only in California, he told the Times. Grundmann said the event’s mix of causes is meant to celebrate “everything that made our country great.”

“Essentially it boils down to two religious views of the world,” Grundmann told a local CBS station. “One is Christianity, which is represented by heterosexuality, a culture of life, and its opponent is the LGBT movement, which is represented by an opposing religion and an opposing view of life.”

The group Modesto Progressive Democrats derided “straight pride” as responding to discrimination that does not exist.

“Have you ever been fired from a job for being straight?” the group said on its Facebook page. “Have you been banned from the USA for being Christian? No? That’s because it’s Straight pride day EVERY DAY.”

Critics of the Modesto event say “straight pride” is an excuse to promote homophobic views.

While Grundmann has framed the planned parade as an affirmation of traditional values, he also has attacked the gay community, claiming on what appears to be his Facebook page that members of the “Homosexual/Sodomy Movement” are likely “lying about any death threats to them” despite documented cases of intimidation and violence against gay people. This week, a Russian LGBTQ rights activist was found dead after her name appeared on a Web game in which players simulate hunting down and torturing gay people.

The Washington Post has contacted Grundmann and the city of Modesto.

Modesto community members reportedly have deluged City Hall with opinions on the event. Dismayed opponents of Grundmann’s parade are organizing a counterprotest in nearby Enslen Park should the straight pride celebration move forward.

“People are shocked and blown away that this kind of event could happen in our community,” the Modesto Progressive Democrats’ president, Chris Ricci, told the Times.

City Council member Kristi Ah You told CBS Sacramento that she would not allow the event if it were her decision.

“I don’t think we need to give a permit for anything that when you go to the page it talks about whiteness, it talks about western civilization, it talks about being Caucasian,” she said. “That’s all hate crime stuff to me; that’s not OK.”

Ah You said she hopes the event stays low-profile, adding that she thinks it might attract only a handful of people. Grundmann says he has core supporters lined up to attend. But the parade application has already drawn a torrent of attention.

“We’ve been getting letters, emails, comments, and phone calls all day about it,” the Council member said.

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