A country rife with racism and discrimination?

I came upon this site via a Twitter link today, but I’m really not sure if it is serious, or just some sort of very bad joke. Teaching For Change is apparently an organization that, in their own words, seeks to to transform America into a more “equitable, multicultural society” by implementing “social justice” education in K-12 schools.

Now I always have a problem with the term social justice, if only because I just don’t understand who the final arbiters are or what constitutes justice. But as I read I was stunned by this assertion:

Proceeding from the premise that the United States is a country rife with racism and discrimination against nonwhite minorities, this Initiative “embrace[s] an anti-racism/anti-oppression approach” that promotes “curricul[a], environments, programs, policies and standards that are equitable, culturally-responsive and linguistically consistent with the diverse communities served by our profession.” [emphasis added]

Having lived and worked in the United States I know it isn’t perfect, but I doubt that it would help to start from that premise. But that wasn’t nearly as troubling as this:

TFC also co-sponsors the Zinn Education Project, which incorporates into classroom curricula the writings of the late historian Howard Zinn—especially his best-selling book A People’s History of the United States. This Marxist tract describes America as a predatory and repressive capitalist state that serves only the interests of wealthy white men who exploit workers, American Indians, slaves, women, blacks, and populists. [emphasis added]

Again, this is a bit incendiary, and not entirely true. The last time I looked the President of the United States, the most powerful person in the free world wasn’t a wealthy white man, but was indeed a black man.

It seems to me that teaching children that wealthy, white men are inherently bad regardless of how they earned their money, while everyone else is inherently good teaches something other than justice, social or otherwise. The idea of pitting different types of people against each other, or arbitrarily assigning sweeping generalized values of good and evil to entire classes or people, and teaching children to do so from an early age, serves no one.

Perhaps if we just get back to teaching our kids to read, write, and to think critically for themselves, they can make their own value judgements, rather than regurgitate the values or those who have gotten us to the point we’re at now.

Our only possible chance for the future may lie in kids who can think for themselves. Let’s leave them with a fighting chance.

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