By Connie Pillsbury, Independent Opinion Columnist
“Danger Ahead” signs should have been posted at the March 23 Board meeting of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. The danger is the Board’s approval of a proposed Ethnic Studies elective for grades 9-12. The name ‘Multicultural America’ sounds innocent enough, but examining the course textbook, resource materials, and course overview reveals another story.
The course textbook is “A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America” by Ronald Takaki.” Who is Takaki? As the first professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley in 1971, he is credited as one of the originators of the revisionist history movement that is rewriting American history from the viewpoint of the various ethnic groups. Revisionist history focuses on “Identity, race, racism and other forms of oppression” in America past and present. His book presents history from the viewpoint of the ‘oppressed’ versus the ‘oppressor.’ It narrows all of history down to the prism of race.
And who is the ‘oppressor,’ according to Takaki? The oppressor is white people, and the oppressed are everyone else. Through many chapters and personal stories of victimhood of every race, the students are subtly introduced to the concept that America should be ashamed of its history, not proud of it. And, sorry, if you’re white, you should be ashamed of that, too.
Takaki’s ideas mesh with another radical new movement of the same era, the Critical Race Theory, or CRT.
This group of 23 legal scholars of color met in 1989 to explore “How a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color had been created and maintained in America” (Brown, Jackson, History of Critical Race Theory, 2013). The CRT originated out of the Critical Legal Studies conferences of the late 1970s, which was a group of white, neo-Marxist, new left, counter-culture intellectuals who believed that American law and legal institutions tend to serve and legitimize an oppressive social order (Brown and Jackson p. 13).
This Critical Race Theory, now proliferated through universities, government, and the corporate world redefines history similar to Marxism’s simplifying of history to a struggle between the “bourgeois” and the “proletariat.” It pushes for the destruction of institutions, the justice system, free-market economy, and orthodox religions. And anyone disagreeing with their philosophy is automatically labeled a racist or white supremacist. In the PRHS course outline, phrases are lifted directly from the CRT playbook, “Students will focus on how institutions, public education, legal systems, housing systems…have functioned over time to impacts groups’ oppression, identity, and resistance.” (Multicultural America Course Overview, March 26 Draft)
So, who wrote the Statewide Ethnic Studies model upon which this course is based? It was written by radical, left-leaning, young college professors who were educated under the influence of Takaki’s revisionist history and the CRT philosophies. These educators have succeeded in making ethnic studies courses a requirement to graduate from CSU. These are also the same educators who have organized a massive letter-writing campaign to all local School Boards to promote its use in high schools.
The PRJUSD Board stated at the March 23 meeting they were unable to read all of the many letters regarding the proposed new ethnic studies elective. Were these letters supporting this course from local parents? No, none were from parents. All were from state college PhDs’, the self-proclaimed ethnic study ‘experts.’
The rationale for this course based on the Statewide model is to “deepen students’ civic engagement by understanding how identity, race and racism and other forms of oppression have been and continue to be profoundly powerful social and cultural forces in American society.” In other words, America is and always has been a racist nation.
That rationale should scare any parent considering this course for their student. In fact, Paso parents should vigorously demand the Trustees reconsider this subversive course by writing the Board at email@example.com.
Several states have proposals to ban the teaching of this quasi-Marxist critical race theory, realizing it has ‘no place in our classrooms,’ and will coerce kids to hate their country and hate each other.
There’s just one word to describe this proposed elective: INDOCTRINATION.
Connie Pillsbury is an independent opinion columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.