URLs du Jour

2021-07-07

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] A belated post. Sorry. Yesterday was crazy.

  • NEA Delenda Est. We've heard folks claim that Critical Race Theory is just an obscure academic niche topic discussed in journal articles nobody reads. It's certainly not being taught!

    Robby Soave is one of many paying attention to confounding evidence. Is Critical Race Theory Taught in K-12 Schools? The NEA Says Yes, and That It Should Be..

    The public debate over critical race theory (CRT) is in large part a semantics argument, with the anti-CRT faction attempting to include "all of the various cultural insanities" people hear about in the media under the banner of CRT while the other side protests that it's technically a much more limited concept confined to elite education. Progressives are essentially correct that the definition of CRT is being tortured to match conservative grievances, but conservatives are justified in feeling aggrieved by some of these things, and thus the argument is quite tedious.

    That said, the National Education Association (NEA) appears to have accepted the conservative framing of CRT: namely, that it's not merely confined to academia but is in fact also being taught in K-12 schools. And the NEA thinks this is a good thing that should be defended.

    At its yearly annual meeting, conducted virtually over the past few days, the NEA adopted New Business Item 39, which essentially calls for the organization to defend the teaching of critical race theory.*

    Note that the link in the above paragraph goes to an Internet Archive Wayback Machine page. The NEA apparently removed this page from its own website. Tsk. Hey, I'm sure they had a good reason for that.

    Anyway, there's a list of things the Item demands the NEA do. Here's the one I especially liked:

    B. Provide an already-created, in-depth, study that critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society, and that we oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.

    That's quite a list of things to "critique". Many of which my spell-checker fails to recognize.

    And capitalism is in their list of hatreds. Geez.


  • Speaking of Cisheteropatriarchy… I missed this excellent summary from Greg Lukianoff and co-authors at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE): 13 important points in the campus & K-12 ‘critical race theory’ debate. As expected, Greg is skeptical of legislative efforts "contrary to a free speech culture". And note there are thirteen points, and they're all important, and I'm not going to list them all here, so RTWT. Let's skip down to the conclusion: "Sometimes the principled thing will make nobody happy."

    Being part of this debate has been, well, tedious. It puts on full display the worst of the culture wars. For saying that bills with teaching bans are unconstitutional as applied to higher education, I’ve faced numerous pile-ons, including one fellow claiming that I clearly didn’t learn any of the lessons of Communism — quite an allegation if you know anything about my family history (from serfs to kulaks to refugees to Americans).

    And on the other side, many media outlets and Twitter pundits have covered this as if this is just some kind of hoax or phobia coming out of nowhere that is intended to ban talking about slavery. In fact, I think the popular view in the media is that these laws are a response to no problem at all. Accordingly, I’ve had numerous people come to me animatedly asking or demanding that we blast these “unconstitutional” laws as applied to K-12, when they’re often not actually unconstitutional and often don’t say what their opponents think they do.

    The reality is, as usual, complicated. Proponents of these bills need to realize that they can’t legislate these ideas out of existence, and that the more egregious bills are not only unconstitutional and thus totally futile, but throw fuel on an already raging culture war fire. Opponents of these bills need to read the bills and be honest about what’s actually in them and recognize that their opponents are motivated by something other than a desire to hide the true history of slavery. It is my hope that, wherever you lie on this issue, this article has given you a greater understanding of the opposing side. And if not, you’re welcome to join those yelling at me across both sides of the aisle!

    Probably my most radical view is that compulsory schooling laws should be repealed. Lukianoff's article (confirmation bias alert) reminds me how good an idea that is.


  • Is This Irony? I Can Never Tell. Jazz Shaw notes a truly Zucked-up policy: Facebook blocks hashtag #revolution on day celebrating American Revolution.

    Can we all agree that at this point, Facebook is just trolling everyone in an effort to own the cons? I mean, this couldn’t have been an accident or some malfunction of their algorithms and filters. Somebody at Facebook must have made the decision to set up a filter looking for the hashtag “revolution” because they’re worried that the Proud Boys are about to cross the Potomac or something. I’m not sure when that went into effect, but it became glaringly obvious on the 4th of July, just as the country was celebrating our declaration of being an independent nation and the American revolution. (Better luck next time, Brits.)

    This is why I use Facebook solely to complain about people not picking up their dogs' droppings.


Last Modified 2021-07-08 10:05 AM EST