IT’S LEFTY BAIT AND SWITCH AND VIRTUE SIGNALING: Banned Books?
I’ve seen a number of FB memes extolling the virtues of reading banned books and listing books that seem relatively innocuous (which is by design because those creating the lists want you to be surprised by the stupidity of those doing the banning) to most people. However, as with the term “anti-vax” getting thrown in the face of those who are anti-mandate, the term “banned” really has no meaning when you realize that anybody can take that list of books to Amazon, or down to their local Barnes & Noble, or their public library and find and buy or check out every. Single. One.
For a book to be truly banned the government needs to step in and forbid and punish the printing and distribution of a book. Like, oh, say what the Soviets did, or what Kim Jong Un does, or what the CCP does…you know, what totalitarian governments do. I challenge anybody getting their knickers in a twist over “banned” books to tell me which of the books on that list are forbidden to be printed, sold, or possessed in the United States. Go on. I’ll wait.
But back to the current self-aggrandizing book banning kerfuffle. Just because a high school or elementary school pulls books from its school library or is asked to pull books, does not mean those books are banned. It means that parents at those schools do not think the book is appropriate for the students at that school. As I asked previously, if you are the parent of an eleven-year old, are you comfortable with them reading erotica? Are you comfortable with them reading about kids “exploring their sexuality” in very explicit ways? Be honest now.
So, for all those preening over their “support” for banned books…have you stood up for authors that left has tried to cancel? Which is banning? Have you read books by authors with whom you may find yourself disagreeing? Have you told anybody that the response of “well, they’re just not printing any more of that book because it’s racist, but they’re not banning it” amounts to a soft ban? Have you read Huckleberry Finn? Is it a product of its time? Is that horrifying to you? Do you think that Mark Twain should have known that the future would find his books “problematic?”
If you’re patting yourself on the back for reading books on the lists that are going around, why? Did you, like Russians passing around samizdat risk your life to have that book in your possession? Did you get one copy of the book and then type it out so that the typed copies could be distributed…when carbon paper was illegal to own? Have you ever photocopied a book for someone? Was that illegal where you were?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “no” then you haven’t read a banned book. You’ve read a book that some parents or some leftist, or some Karen didn’t like. Those people aren’t actually preventing you or your kids from reading the book in question, are they? Are other parents monitoring what their kids read? Yes. Is it your problem or your business? No.
Books that get pulled from a school library are not banned. If you are upset with your kids’ school librarian pulling a book, get off your ass and buy a copy and give it to your kid. Tell them to read it and pass it along. Or even better, if it’s that important to you, buy several copies, donate a few to your local public library and put the rest out on your front porch with a “FREE” sign.
We have prosecutors who won’t prosecute the ‘wrong’ people for their crimes and prosecutors hell-bent on prosecuting the ‘right’ people for what they symbolize.
There is a flip side to the way progressives have perverted the concept of prosecuting crime. It is, in its way, just as insidious as the now-familiar delirium that non-prosecution is the best prosecution.
The flip side is equally the fallout of politicizing state police power. It flows naturally from the conceit that the point of prosecution is to run interference for the Left’s favored groups while penalizing those who oppose progressives. It has only disdain for the quaint idea that we prosecute for the purpose of upholding the rule of law, so society as a whole can flourish.
The flip side is this: When today’s cutting-edge prosecutors do deign to prosecute, the target is ideas, not acts. The objective is not to neutralize those who prey on society, but to frame their acts as part of a morality play: the progressives cast as the guardians of “our values,” and the criminals drawing out contempt more for what motivates them — or, at least, what progressives say motivates them — than for any evil they have done.
This is exemplified by the Kyle Rittenhouse prosecution.
The fact that Rittenhouse, then 17 years old, shot and killed people was not decisive in making his prosecution a national story. More people are routinely shot in Chicago than were shot in Kenosha on that fateful night. And, though not as sedulously suppressed as news of black-on-black violence is, white-on-white violence is usually far too humdrum for the media-Democrat complex to take much notice.
Source: Prosecution and Prejudice
This is our special Columbus Day episode, dropped on “old school” Columbus Day, instead of the “Canadian Thanksgiving” Columbus Day long-weekend holiday. This episode is not actually about the Columbus Day social war, except in passing. Instead, we consider the larger consequences of Columbus’s “Great Enterprise,” and various counterfactuals — “what if” moments that might have made it all go quite differently. Along the way we say some challenging things that will irritate almost everybody, but we know you are only listening because of your resolutely open minds!
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Manhattan Institute Offers Toolkit for Parents to Fight Back Against Woke Schools.
Something peculiar is spreading throughout America’s schools. A public school system just outside the nation’s capital spent $20,000 to be lectured about making their schools less racist.At a tony New York City prep school, a teacher was publicly denounced by the administration for questioning the idea that students should identify themselves in terms of their racial identity. Educators in California are locked in pitched combat over a statewide model curriculum overflowing with terms like “hxrstories” and “cisheteropatriarchy.”
Again, there’s a difference between teaching about Critical Race Theory and teaching in Critical Race Theory.
So how can you tell if a teacher, principal, or school board official tells you that, no, there’s no critical race theory here (as a lone heckler briefly interrupted my remarks in Loudoun County to inform me)? Here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of five key critical race theory principles. If your school or office does anything that includes these ideas, you can confidently call Bovine Manure when they deny it’s critical race theory.
The first and most important bedrock principle of critical race theory is that racism is not an individual, conscious decision to be a racist or act on that belief. No, it’s “systemic.” Racism, according to critical race theory’s purveyors, is written into America’s laws, institutions, and capitalist system. What masquerades as American culture is actually the norms and practices of white people.
“Critical race theory,” writes one of its main architects, Angela Harris, “takes the position that racism pervades our institutions, our beliefs, and our everyday practices.”
A second principle follows from the first: Behaviors and beliefs are inherent in identity categories, and thus the members of these categories must not adopt American culture—which, in their telling, is merely a conspiracy to perpetuate white supremacy. Members of minority groups must never assimilate to standard practices or norms, even those that appear neutral on the surface.
“[M]any Latinos naturally view information about time more generally and simply cannot see the judicial system’s need for specificity and exactitude,” writes Maria Ontiveros, a professor at the University of San Francisco, in her book “Critical Race Feminism.”
A third bedrock principle is that white people receive unearned privilege at birth, while other Americans are denied it. This “whiteness premium” has prevented the union of the working class.
Segregation, wrote the man widely recognized as the “Godfather” of critical race theory, Derrick Bell, “represented an economic-political compromise between the elite and working-class whites [that] gave to the poor the sense of superiority, while retaining the substance for the rich.”
A fourth principle is that meritocracy is myth. Since whites have rigged the system, all the ways we use to measure merit or success in education or work are far from objective. Hiring metrics and workplace benchmarks, and standardized tests for university admissions, must be eliminated.
On this we have, again, the authority of Bell, who wrote in “Popular Democracy,” a chapter in “The Derrick Bell Reader”: “In short, merit serves as the phony pennant of color-blindness, used as justification for opposition to affirmative action.”
The fifth and last tenet is that equity must replace equality. This may surprise those who think they amount to pretty much the same thing, but under critical race theory, the word equity has become corrupted, and has become the functional opposite of equality. Because the systemic racism that critical race theory’s proponents see everywhere has produced disparities under a capitalist system that rewards the wrong criteria, government must step in and treat individual Americans unequally.
Only in that manner will outcomes be equal.
And on this, we have no less an authority than our Vice President Kamala Harris: “Equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.”
Any curriculum or training program that does any of the above is classic critical race theory. Any functionary who denies it has simply not read her Derrick Bell—or may be lying to you.Daily Signal
What makes discussions of CRT more complicated is that people are conflating teaching about CRT, which happens in law school, with teaching in CRT, which happens in grade schools and high schools.
When people say CRT isn’t being taught in grade schools, guess which sense they’re referring to.
One of the problems with discussing and debating CRT is that it’s a complicated set of teachings and beliefs about which people know very little, and which probably vary at least somewhat according to who is doing the trainings. The most pernicious aspects of CRT are often in the details of how the trainings and/or classes go.
There’s a liberal way to fight illiberalism. And it’s beginning to work.
The stories in the mainstream media this past week about the broadening campaign to ban critical race theory in public schools have been fascinating — and particularly in how they describe what CRT is. Here’s the Atlantic’s benign summary of CRT: “recent reexaminations of the role that slavery and segregation have played in American history and the attempts to redress those historical offenses.” NBC News calls it the “academic study of racism’s pervasive impact.” NPR calls CRT: “teaching about the effects of racism.” The New York Times calls it, with a straight face, “classroom discussion of race, racism” and goes on to describe it as a “framework used to look at how racism is woven into seemingly neutral laws and institutions.”
How on earth could merely teaching students about the history of racism and its pervasiveness in the United States provoke such a fuss? No wonder Charles Blow is mystified. But don’t worry. The MSM have a ready explanation: the GOP needs an inflammatory issue to rile their racist base, and so this entire foofaraw is really just an astro-turfed, ginned-up partisan gambit about nothing. The MSM get particular pleasure in ridiculing parents who use the term “critical race theory” as shorthand for things that just, well, make them uncomfortable — when the parents obviously have no idea what CRT really is.
When pushed to describe it themselves, elite journalists refer to the legal theories Derrick Bell came up with, in the 1970s — obscure, esoteric and nothing really to do with high-school teaching. “If your kid is learning CRT, your kid is in law/grad school,” snarked one. Marc Lamont Hill even tried to pull off some strained references to Gramsci to prove his Marxian intellectual cred, and to condescend to his opponents.
This rubric achieves several things at once. It denies that there is anything really radical or new about CRT; it flatters the half-educated; it blames the controversy entirely on Republican opportunism; and it urges all fair-minded people to defend intellectual freedom and racial sensitivity against these ugly white supremacists.
And no, 6-year-olds are not being taught Derrick Bell — or forced to read Judith Butler, or God help them, Kimberlé Crenshaw. Of course they aren’t — and I don’t know anyone who says they are.
But they are being taught popularized terms, new words, and a whole new epistemology that is directly downstream of academic critical theory. Ibram X. Kendi even has an AntiRacist Baby Picture Book so you can indoctrinate your child into the evil of whiteness as soon as she or he can gurgle. It’s a little hard to argue that CRT is not interested in indoctrinating kids when its chief proponent in the US has a kiddy book on the market.
The goal of education of children this young is to cement the notion at the most formative age that America is at its core an oppressive racist system uniquely designed to exploit, harm, abuse, and even kill the non-white. This can be conveyed in easy terms, by training kids to see themselves first and foremost as racial avatars, and by inculcating in them a sense of their destiny as members of the oppressed or oppressor classes in the zero-sum struggle for power that is American society in 2021.
This is not teaching about critical race theory; it is teaching in critical race theory. And it is compulsory and often hidden from parents. It contradicts the core foundations of our liberal society; and is presented not as one truth to be contrasted with others, but as the truth, the basis on which all other truths are built. That’s why teaching based on CRT will make children see themselves racially from the get-go, why it will separate them into different racial groups, why it will compel white kids to internalize their complicity in evil, tell black kids that all their troubles are a function of white people, banish objective measurements of success to avoid stigmatizing failure, and treat children of different races differently in a classically racist hierarchy.
And this is why — crucially — it will suppress any other way of seeing the world — because any other way, by definition, is merely perpetuating oppression. As Kendi constantly reminds us, it is either/or. An antiracist cannot exist with a liberalism that perpetuates racism. And it’s always the liberalism that has to go.
What parents and principled teachers of all races can do is protest, show up to school board meetings, demand accountability and total transparency, share and spread the evidence of this indoctrination, demand answers from teachers and principals, and, if all else fails, pull their kids from public schools if necessary.
And what the rest of us should do is support them, come to the aid of fired teachers, shaken students, bullied educators, and intimidated mothers and fathers. And never, ever concede the idea that opposing critical race theory is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Insist that you are not attempting to ban CRT but to allow it to be taught as one idea among many in a liberal education. And do not conflate CRT with honest, painful accounts of our history, which can be taught just as well within a liberal context.
The legacy of this country’s profound racism, the deep and abiding shame of its genocidal slavocracy, the atrocities, such as Tulsa, which have been white-washed, the appalling record of lynchings and beatings, the centrality of African-Americans to the story and success of this country: all this must be better explored and understood. There is nothing wrong and a huge amount right about black scholars taking the lead in shining light on what others might miss, building on past knowledge, helping us better account for it. White scholars, like the hundreds of thousands of white citizens who gave their lives to end slavery, have a crucial role to play as well.
But we must also unequivocally insist that all of this is only possible within a liberal system — that sees the individual and reason and equality as our foundations. Liberalism can live with critical race theory; but critical race theory is committed in its foundational texts to the overthrow of liberalism. And this matters.
It’s not just a culture war gambit. It’s a deep defense of our liberal inheritance. Once a generation grows up believing that there is no such thing as reason — just “white thinking” and “black thinking”; once it grows up believing that free speech is a device for oppression not liberation; once it sees our founding documents as cynical lies to perpetuate slavery and “white supremacy”; once it believes that no progress has ever been made in race relations, because the “systems” sustain unaltered “white supremacy” for ever, then we have detonated the foundations of a free society.
The other night on facebook, I found myself in a weird argument with someone who thought there really was white privilege because “you can go anywhere and be treated like a human being.” I’m not 100% sure what he means by “being treated like a human being” because casting a long eye to history and how human beings who ain’t from around here are treated, I’m glad to say I’ve never been — on the mild side — run out of town or killed and thrown in an acid pit.
My sons don’t appear black (well, the younger if he’s tanned, looks half way there, partly because his hair grows upward) but they appear “mixed race” (Human race. We think. Most of the time.) and are both large, swarthy and male. By the time they were in their mid-teens they found that total strangers skeedaddled away from them backwards. Or — poor older son — that they had to argue for hours to get the “honors cords” for their graduation gowns. Or that their departmental honors and second degree wouldn’t be called out at graduation (while the “honors” of the tiny, bespectacled guys and chicks graduating from studies were.” Or that, when found in an area of school/college reserved for serious pursuits, they were questions and in one case told that “you jocks don’t know this.”
What have they done? They’ve mitigated by dressing in slightly old fashioned ways, wearing their hair short, and talking with old-fashioned courtesy.
White privilege? Well, hell no. “Insider privilege.” And you can fake it.
Source: R-E-S-P-E- C-T
ANN ALTHOUSE RESPONDS TO CHARLES BLOW:
If “most people” lack “any real concept of what critical race theory is,” then why don’t Democrats and others communicate the information? Instead, as Blow describes in his column, Republicans use the term to generate anxiety about what those terrible left-wingers want to do to us.
I challenge proponents of Critical Race Theory to speak to ordinary people in terms they can understand and explain the theory, why it’s a theory, and what is meant by “critical.” Don’t just tell us conclusions and demand that we accept them and don’t just introduce another confusing term. That is, don’t just say that there is “systemic racism.” Explain the theory and what is critical about the theory.
Why can’t that be done clearly and straightforwardly? People are right to feel anxious and suspicious about something so big and powerful that can’t be talked about. To say “In fact, I don’t even believe that most people have any real concept of what critical race theory is” is to blame the people for failing to understand what isn’t being discussed clearly. That’s perverse and elitist.
Well, most “woke” stuff is perverse and elitist. And Critical Race Theory can’t be discussed clearly and straightforwardly because if it were, the vast majority of people would reject it. Hence the smoke and mirrors and charges of bigotry aimed at critics in place of reasoned argument.
Related, the Critical Race Theory Motte and Bailey:
“If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention” the bumper stickers on a thousand SUVs in the upscale bedroom communities of dysfunctional cities read. “Deutschland Erwache,” the National Socialists used to shout in the streets of Munich. Woke compresses it all to one word.
Wokeness means believing that politics is all there is to life. And nothing is whiter than that.
What’s whiteness? As the Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture’s chart of “white culture” put it, whiteness covers everything from a serious work ethic to self-reliance, rational thinking, delayed gratification, achieving goals, being on time, and, finally, “competition”.
Get rid of academic standards, intellectual seriousness, punish success, and the mediocre woke white elites who first created quota systems a century ago have much more of a shot at the top.
The inherent assumption of class warfare was that the proles were too backward to be a competitive threat. The racist assumption behind critical race theory is that black people can’t compete. If the wokes thought otherwise, they would be denouncing black people as racist the way that Asian-Americans and Jews are repeatedly accused of racism and privilege.
Being accused of group privilege isn’t an insult: it’s a backhanded compliment. Wokes pander to those groups they think of as inferior and attack those groups they see as competition.
Source: The Whiteness of Woke