Woke teachers and ethnic studies are toxic

Ethnic studies

So-called “woke” teachers — aka socialists — in their ethnic studies classes use a strong foundation of complete ignorance to teach kids to hate America.

(This post develops one of the topics I discussed in my No. 31 Bookworm Podcast.)

Writing at Minding the Campus, George Leef has an article “A racially ‘woke’ agenda is now hardwired in public schools.

 [T]he political left has become ever more reliant on the education system (K-12 through college and beyond) to inculcate statist ideas in people. If voters were inclined and able to think through the harmful consequences of “progressive” policies such as minimum wage laws, welfare payments, the Green New Deal, government-run health care, wealth taxes, and so on, they would toss the leftists out of office. It’s far better for those politicians if as many voters as possible are conditioned to support candidates who mouth clichés about the evils of capitalism, the need for compassionate government, the imperative of transforming America, so it will be a just society, and many others.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that public schools are ratcheting up their efforts at turning students into adults who will automatically vote to keep their political allies in power. And that calls for constant adjustments to the curriculum.

Among other things, Leef discusses the crazy social justice math lessons in Seattle, something I looked at more than a month ago. The Seattle schools correctly recognized that they had a major problem when it came to teaching children, especially minority males, math. Rather than digging into the basics and helping children understand math’s relevance to daily life, they opted to teach the children that blacks invented math, but that it’s been perverted by white males to abuse minorities. Or as I said in my post (which reprints all of the pages from the social justice math proposal):

“Dear black children, everything that’s important about math predates the Greeks. The Greeks stole from Black Africans and Egyptians. Moreover, when this stolen math came Westerners compounded this theft by stealing Arabic numbers and the concept of zero from the Arabs (who first stole them from the Indian subcontinent). Since its origins in Africa and India, math has been used to destroy you, to oppress you, to demean you, to deny you opportunities to succeed, and to humiliate you. It is a vile instrument of white hegemony over the black man. Oh, and you’d better learn it because it’s a good thing to know.”

That ought to work.

More significantly, for purposes of this post, Leef talks about the “ethnic studies” curriculum that is invading schools across America:

Those “ethnic studies” classes are not about teaching facts about history. They’re about casting a certain mindset in students, one that will incline them to activism against Progressivism’s designated villains. [John] Murawski quotes Professor Julia Jordan-Zachery of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who said, “I oftentimes think of ethnic studies as radical social action.” That’s exactly what leftist educators want.

Leef’s words are the perfect introduction to something I saw last week at Bored Panda: It’s an article about a 4th grade teacher who proudly boasted on Twitter about showing his students the “real” Christopher Columbus, rather than the anodyne explorer who was searching for a new trade route to India. The problem is that, while the teacher got facts about Columbus right, his total ignorance about the world in which Columbus lived meant that his lesson was entirely wrong.

The teacher is a guy named Nathanial Madden. At Twitter, which provides all the information I have about him, he provides the following “who am I” info:

Kids & adults are equals. Student. Teacher. I tweet about education, equity, antiracism, & more. Thoughts are mine. Whiter than a cucumber sandwich. grace&peace. Teaches near Washington, D.C.

Before getting to Nate’s Columbus lessons, it’s useful to get a handle on Nate’s world view. One recent thread, about immigrants, give us a good insight into that:

I’m going to be asking my students (most of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants) about the pressures to cover, code-switch, and assimilate… I want to be a better teacher and I want their experience at this school to be better. What questions should I ask?

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) November 3, 2019

I have questions already and it’s a topic we’ve already discussed. Of course, I want to ask questions sensitively and gently, without adding more pressures, but I also know that my students are the best people to ask when it comes to what goes on in my classroom.

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) November 3, 2019

Immigration is a big topic in the curriculum, but it’s set up in a very Euro-centric way and focuses on the past.. it would be silly not to bring in students’ real lived experiences in this area and talk about modern immigration. Always looking for advice. Thanks in advance 💜

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) November 3, 2019

I’ll make clear that this is something that not everyone can/should do in their classrooms, especially if you haven’t done the work to build an inclusive classroom, where these topics are regular occurrences, where they feel comfortable with you, and comfort NOT to answer

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) November 3, 2019

For example, I need to consider my own position as an “authority”, as a man, as a White person, and how all these factors and others will have sway in these conversations.. if it hadn’t already been expressed to me by my students that they are comfortable, I wouldn’t be asking

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) November 3, 2019

Nate seems blind to the irony contained in his telling his immigrant or first-generation students that they’ve landed in an evil, white, racist, imperialist country. He’s also unbelievably arrogant, in a woke way, insofar as he thinks he’s among  the chosen few who has overcome his toxic cucumber sandwich whiteness.

Further down his feed, Nate tweets approving about a giveaway from the Zinn Education Project. For those who don’t know, Howard Zinn was a communist who wrote The People’s History of the United States, a book that describes America as an utterly evil, racist, imperialist, sexist, oppressive state. Zinn does this by lying and also be de-contextualizing what little he does know. In other words, to the extent he reports on America’s evils, he’s blind to the fact that America was in sync with the rest of the world. What makes America exceptional is that it became better than the rest of the world, a process that took time, energy, blood, and courage. (More on that in a little bit.)

Mary Graber’s Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand just how bad Zinn is. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that any college or K-12 academics will read her book, which is why Zinn’s is the most popular American history book on most college and K-12 campuses.

Before I get to Nate’s Columbus tweets, I want to drag in one more thing I found on his feed, because it so perfectly represents what makes for “woke” teaching in 21st century America, as well as revealing how race and ethnicity underlie everything the Left teaches. Put another way, Democrats are as racist now as they were in the South in 1861 or 1961.

Nate retweeted a text from a gal named Brazil Marie (a “she/her” per her Twitter page). As best as I can tell, Brazil Marie is a high school teacher in Atlanta, Georgia, but that’s a bit of a guess gleaned from scrolling down her Twitter feed. Before I get to Brazil Marie’s tweet, though, you need to know about a young woman rapper named Megan Thee Stallion (birth name Megan Pete).

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Pete is the daughter of a rapper mother. It says a great deal about Pete’s rap product that her own mother was upset by her teen daughter’s sexist and “ratchet” lyrics. (“Ratchet” means rude and ghetto-like.)

Pete’s mother was right. Here are the first few lyrics from Pete’s big hit, Sex Talk. I’ve blanked out the dirty words and added more polite words, but you’ll get the gist. Even with the obscene words gone, the meaning is nasty:

Boy you know you need to come give me that [male sexual organ]
He want to hit from the back ’cause I’m thick
I like to [have sexual congress with] them when I get lit
Yeah, tell me this [female sexual organ] the [fecal matter]
Aye oh, he so thirsty
Ride that [male sexual organ] like a horsey
He said, “Are you tired?”
I look back like yeah

Aye, let’s have the sex talk
I wanna see your body, take your clothes off
I’ma bust quick if ya lips soft
Rock that ship ’til ya blast off
Aye, yeah, let’s have the sex talk
Got a big boy, then pull it out, hey
Can you make it feel like the first time?
I don’t get tired, let him wear it out
Aye, yeah

Put my feet up on the bed, ride it to the tip-top
He likes it doggy style ’cause I make that [derriere] ass pop
He never finna leave me ’cause I got that [I don’t even want to translate]
Said his last [female sexual partner] still [having sexual congress] like a robot

My suspicion is that Megan Thee Stallion’s fans like her rap because she’s filthy dirty in her lyrics and presentation. But just as men used to declaim loudly that they read Playboy for the articles, not the pictures, there’s a Leftist impulse to give Megan Thee Stallion a revolutionary wash that cleanses her of her prurient sins. So, to the extent her knees are apparently part of her sexual persona, scholars are trying to revolutionize those sexual knees. Here’s an Afropunk article making that point:

There is not a Twitter day that goes by that you will not see someone commenting about Megan Thee Stallion and those impressive knees. There is a running joke that former basketball player Derrick Rose wishes he had the set of knees that Megan uses on a nightly basis to balance her twerk to the beat, while rapping — and never once losing her breath or her audience. Of course, I write a lot of this in jest — although her balancing act on heels really is awe-inspiring — because, in all honesty, what makes Megan a force goes far beyond her bars and her body.

Coining the term “Hot Girl Summer”, Megan has quickly become a figure of resistance against the patriarchal standards of what acceptable women should dress and act like. Her purpose for Hot Girl Summer was intended as a decentering of men with intentions towards her “hotties,” while empowering the ladies to not move, act, or be a certain way for the attention or appeasement of those men. Her rules are: “You just have to be the life of the party. You have to be kind, you have to be confident,” and “You have to support other women.”

For Megan, being a Hot Girl was always more than showing off the body she has EVERY right to show off. This summer, after finding out about how pollution was affecting the oceans, she got her legion of hotties to meet her on the beach in hottest swimsuits to do a beach clean-up. She is always conscious of the world around her, also using her platform to promote education. Before become Thee Stallion, Megan Pete was “Thee Student,” attending the HBCU, Texas Southern. Although she took some time off for career, she is preparing to go back to finish her degree in Health Administration, where she is in her third year.

Women musicians have always had to deal with the industry’s body politics differently than their male counterparts. Standing at 5’10”, Megan has been criticized by those wanting to floss their hooked-on-phonics skills for using the term “stallion” which refers to a male horse. However, rather than be bothered by the haters, Megan has continued to use it as fuel to empower others and take ownership of her use of “Stallion” in a “I said what I said”-type of way. On an IG live chat with Nicki Minaj, she recently talked about how you can’t let the opinions of others bother the work that you are doing, after making a statement about writing her rhymes.

With that context about Megan Thee Stallion, let me bring you back to the Brazil Marie’s tweet that Nate retweeted on his Twitter page:

For extra credit on their test I asked my students how strong Megan Thee Stallion’s knees are. Top 4 answers 👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/uv01jw7y8Y

— Brazil Marie (@LifeWithLex_) October 30, 2019

Take a moment to think about the fact that this teacher — whether she’s at middle school, high school, or college — is comfortable assuming that her students are familiar with a young woman’s rap songs that are so filthy the Penthouse editor might blush. I don’t know whether the teacher actually taught her class about Megan Thee Stallion or whether it’s just bad of the world in which they live. All I know is that, as a mother, when my kids were young I would have been very upset about their having anything to do with that kind of sexually explicit and demeaning garbage.

But Brazil Marie’s students knew what their teacher was talking about, hence the extra credit question. And as you can see from the photos accompanying Brazil Marie’s text, one of the four answers that a student wrote is the statement that Megan The Stallion’s revolutionary (not sexual) knees are “stronger than systematic racism in America.” That’s where “woke” education takes you. The least racist country in the world (and believe me, I know, having traveled and seen racism in action elsewhere) is seen by one kid as emblematic of systematic racism.

Now that I’ve established, at least to my own satisfaction, that 4th-grade teacher Nathaniel Madden (aka Nate) is thoroughly woke and completely conversant in ethnic studies, let me get back to his Columbus Day lesson. Nate was proud of his ability to raise the consciousness of the 9-year-olds in his care. We know this because he posted a great number of their comments on his lesson.

I’ve chosen a representative few of his tweets, including one brave 9-year-old who pushed back against Howard Zinn’s view of history:

My 4th grade students recently read of the true history of Columbus’ career as a slaver and the genocide he began in the Caribbean.
I asked them: what new information did you learn? how did this affect you? why is this important to learn?
Here are some of their responses:

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“I found out that the native people helped him, instead of thanking them, he wrote in his journal, he wrote about how he might enslave them and try to control them”

“Christopher Columbus wasn’t an explorer but a slave trader.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“Because the indigenous people were wearing gold, he forced them to mine gold for him. When they did they not mine enough gold, they got their hands cut off and bled to death.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“Columbus killed them ,thinking that the Native Americans were beasts,but he himself actually was the one.”

“he would write down what he did as if he was proud of it.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“This hard history made me feel furious!!! A reason for this is that Columbus enslaved people and killed them! He has made me feel this fury!”

“I do not understand why there is a holiday for Columbus.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“it is just plain wrong and horrible to kill people and think your allowed to because your white and their not.”

“It also made me frustrated because nobody with power did anything about it.”

“I’m really upset. They’re human beings”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“I felt very mad, especially at My teacher for teaching me the wrong thing. I asked myself “why would my teachers tell me something that is pure lie?”.”

“I feel betrayed because the teachers I had last year and the year before that had taught me that Columbus was a good guy.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

“I feel sorrow”

“It must be sad for Indigenous people to see other people thinking Columbus is a hero”

“ It also made me feel mad at my country because of how badly they have treated those who were originally from here. They still deserve more attention.”

— Nate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@thel0rdbyr0n) October 16, 2019

The above, of course, is all historically ignorant garbage, and that’s true regardless of the fact that Columbus did want gold and wealth, did look down upon the indigenous people he met, and did think they were good for nothing but slavery. Context would have taught Nate – and he would have taught his students – that Columbus was hardly unique. Instead, Columbus’s behavior was the same the world over in the pre-modern era, whether in Europe or elsewhere. The world’s norms were cruelty, early death, slavery, exploitation, and all the other nasties. Let me quote myself from a post I wrote last year:

I am reading Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which is very enjoyable because Pinker is a lucid, interesting writer. Although the book was published in 2011, it’s amazingly pertinent in Trump’s America, because Trump  has brought out true Leftism, red of tooth and claw, and it’s becoming increasingly easy to see the direction in which American Leftism is heading.

The book’s basic premise, which is spelled out in the subtitle, is that the world is an exponentially less violent place than it was in the past. Despite the “if it bleeds it leads” media world, which horrifies us with stories about violence, the reality is that, even in the most dangerous parts of the world, life is safer now than it was in the past. Pinker has all sorts of statistics and charts showing that murder rates, assaults, rape, torture, and even war have all declined more dramatically than most people realize. The pre-modern world was a horrific place, not just because of starvation and disease, but because of man’s unending inhumanity to man.

To me, a history major, this is old news. However, I bet for many readers, his vivid descriptions of violence from the ancient world through the mid-19th century is eye-opening. Human history is an endless litany of torture, mass murder, warfare, personal murder, more torture and still more torture. Whether you’re reading the Old Testament, Homer, Josephus’s Jewish Wars, explorers’ and colonists’ eye-witness accounts of savagery amongst indigenous people in the New World, or just the day-to-day history of the Roman or Medieval/Renaissance worlds, what humans did to other humans is completely stomach churning.

Data shows that stone age tribes across the world (including the Native Americans that Lefties always want to present as plaster saints) were ferocious when it came to torturing, murdering, and murderously torturing their foes. (Indeed, that stone age impulse instantly to kill any perceived threats just popped up again in the story of that young man whose missionary urge took him to an isolated tribe on North Sentinel Island, only to have the tribe promptly slaughter him.) Even as people abandoned being stone-age hunter-gatherers and started creating nation-states, these cruel impulses remained, whether in acts of violence individuals committed against each other, in warfare, or in the cruelty of increasingly strong states.

In other words, Columbus was a product of his times – and so were the indigenous people he found. Had they had the power, they would have done exactly as he did. And when it comes to Columbus’s greed for gold, the indigenous people were greedy for different things. As someone told me the other day, the Native Americans did not feel cheated when they sold land they didn’t value (Manhattan) for the trinkets that were enormously important to them for both religious rituals and for social interactions. If Columbus had appeared bearing products the indigenous people did value, the outcome of his first contact with those tribes would have been very different.

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The only reason Nate and his students find Columbus’s conduct repugnant is because they are the beneficiaries of the agonizingly slow inroads of Judeo-Christian doctrines, ideas that led directly to humanism, the Enlightenment, and a modern world in which we find Columbus’s behavior ethically wrong. As an aside, let me remind everyone that the Bible is unconcerned with race: it’s all about moral behaviors, either right or wrong.

The end result of Nate’s woke ignorance is that he’s managed to inspire his immigrant students with a disgust for their adopted country without any of them — Nate included — appreciating that, if they’re going to hate Columbus and, by extension, America, they must also hate every country in the world. All cultures, everywhere, are deeply stained with the same sins. Nor are Nate and his students able to see that by dint of hard ethical work, plus painful bloodshed, plus unique amounts of individual liberty, America has risen to an ethical standard unlike any seen in the world today. We’re certainly imperfect, but we are mostly good.

It occurs to me that Nate’s immigrant students, coming as the majority do from violent and impoverished parts of the world, must be struggling with some serious cognitive dissonance trying to square their home countries with Nate’s dystopian view of the country in which they now find themselves. I assume that there are a lot of nascent Ilhan Omar’s in Nate’s classroom: People showered with blessings — some of which they’ll have to work hard to realize — who nevertheless hate everything about their new country.

About Bookworm 1174 Articles
Bookworm came late to conservativism but embraced it with passion. She's been blogging since 2004 at Bookworm Room about anything that captures her fancy -- and that's usually politics. Her blog's motto is "Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts."