Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
Woke teachers and school administrators are waging a culture war for the minds of kids as young as five, by inculcating them with toxic social justice teachings.
This summer, I got an unpleasant initiation into the culture war when, in the wake of the George Floyd [Ron: alleged] killing, my five-year-old child's elementary-middle public charter school here in Los Angeles went from being an academic institution interested in preparing students for the workplace and college to an ideological hotbed devoted to promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT) over all other subjects.
CRT is a philosophy of hyper-racialization that looks to radically transform our "inherently racist" society, including children. Under CRT, Martin Luther King's dream is abolished, as racial identification is mandatory, and white children are taught self-loathing and black children to embrace victimhood. Like a religion, it is unfalsifiable, elevates subjective experience above objective reality, and crumbles under intellectual scrutiny.
A shameless example of CRT indoctrination in action is that the very first lesson taught to my child's kindergarten class this autumn was "how to be an activist."
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines activist as "a person who uses or supports strong actions (such as public protests) in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue." My child's school decided to perniciously redefine "activist" as "someone who notices that a system is unfair to another person, group of people, or animals, and then creates a new system that ensures fairness for every person, group of people, or animal."
Redefining "activist" is as Orwellian as it gets. Words have meaning and meaning matters. Calling an ass an eagle doesn't make it sprout wings and fly. But the mendacity doesn't stop there. The school also teaches the four traits of an "activist," which they claim to be "Observe. Ask questions. Have empathy. Show compassion." But these positive traits are more defining of a good neighbor or a good friend, rather than an "activist."
Contorting the meaning of "activist" to suit an ideological need, and claiming that all "activists" have "empathy" and "show compassion" is the kindergarten equivalent of teaching "war is peace,""freedom is slavery," and "ignorance is strength."
Do the "activists" of the Westboro Baptist Church, Antifa, or KKK "have empathy" and "show compassion"? And what about Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Osama Bin Laden? None of these were profiles in empathy and compassion either, but they, too, started out as what one might call "activists."
George Orwell wrote, "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." It seems obvious that CRT has corrupted the language used by my child's school, and that this corrupted language is intended, in turn, to corrupt the thoughts and minds of young students.
This intentionally deceptive "activist" lesson runs throughout the school year and is accompanied by the "activist song," that's sung everyday to the tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat'. The lyrics are..."I am an activist, I look and I observe, I ask questions and find out, what has been unheard / Having empathy, helps me understand, I can make a change, working hand in hand."
This isn't education - this is blatant indoctrination. The school isn't teaching children how to think, but rather what to think.
The school claims its mission is to develop "critical thinking" but does misinforming children about the definition of "activist" spur critical thinking? I've asked the leadership of the school this question, as well as for their specific definition of "equity" and "anti-racism" - terms they frequently espouse. Does "equity" mean "equality of opportunity" or "equality of outcome"? Does "anti-racism" mean "opposing discrimination in all its forms" or "discriminating to benefit minorities"? These questions have been entirely ignored.
I also asked if my child would face discrimination at the school, and the principal and CEO steadfastly refuse to answer that question too, which, unfortunately, seems like an answer unto itself, and one that may carry legal liability.
That this taxpayer-funded charter school - which, according to reports, just received between $2 million and $5 million in pandemic-related Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government - refuses to say it won't discriminate against a five-year-old, is quite an indictment. It reveals the ethical rot at the center of CRT, and the catastrophic error the American education system is making by embracing it.
At best, CRT is an intellectually flaccid and insidiously vacuous ideology that focuses on "unlearning" alleged "implicit bias" at the expense of learning the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. At worst, it is a malevolent, mendacious, and cancerous cult that demands discrimination against some children under the guise of "equity."
Parents should be in charge of their children's moral and ethical education, and if parents want CRT taught to their kids, let them teach it at home. Just as I wouldn't impose my Catholic faith on other people's children, I don't want their CRT cult imposed on mine.
Many parents privately tell me they're horrified that CRT is being taught in kindergarten, but are reluctant to speak out for fear of being labeled ‘racist'.This is part of the ‘social justice' game, in which people are shamed into silence and compliance by scurrilous labels. But parents must screw their courage to the sticking place and fight back now, because the war for children's minds is being waged, and teachers' unions, school boards, and woke faculty members and administrators are moving fast and pushing hard to make CRT the default foundation for all education in America.
Indoctrinating children with CRT is akin to systemic child abuse, as it steals innocence, twists minds, and crushes spirits. Parents must move heaven and earth to protect their children, and they can start by coming together and rooting out CRT from their schools by any and all legal means necessary.
[some colour fonts and bolding added.].
Think your friends would be interested ? Share this story !
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.