CRT: Critical Race Theory as Bogeyman

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Speaking of Nazis

    Flashback, 2021 (#10↑ above):

    In June, the Williamson County chapter of the national group Moms for Liberty, a group advocating for "parental rights," wrote to Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn objecting to a lesson about Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to desegregate an elementary school in Louisiana, which they said made white students in the class feel uncomfortable.
     
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  3. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Not altogether sure where I'm going with this, but I was thinking about Clarence Thomas's bizarre brand of Constitutional originalism (not that the other forms are any less bizarre) while reading Bells's remark that Florida has "literally outlawed critical thinking", and then you had posted this:

    (Emphasis mine.)

    So I imagined this scenario in which Florida teachers assign their students to read Rudyard Kipling's "White Man's Burden". And then... they don't discuss it, as they are (hypothetically in this instance--I think?) legally prohibited from doing such. More commonly, misunderstandings arise when someone is joking but everyone takes them seriously; but it's always more fascinating--and usually unsettling--when someone is being serious but everyone thinks they're joking. I gotta wonder how, barring any context whatsoever, kids would be apt to interpret Kipling's poem?

    Americans have always had this weird aversion to their own history, and a special distaste for modes of thinking informed by Europeans--deferring difference (meaning) is somehow even more loathesome than Marxism. But kids are naturally inquisitive creatures, or so I've been told, and when something seems downright nonsensical--or pitifully incomplete--they're gonna have questions, aren't they? So how's that supposed to work if their teachers can't discuss certain things?

    James is partly right in that one can't "literally" criminalize critical thinking (presently, at least), but banning books and prohibiting teachers from discussing the systemic or structural nature of various -isms comes pretty damn close.


    Edit: Then there's that whole "teaching CRT" thing. No one (in K-12) is teaching CRT; rather, their teaching is informed by CRT. Do these people even know the difference? I mean, they're the ones who repeatedly write shit like "Marshall law", so I suspect not.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Update to #118 above↑

    in re status/1684580272388575236

    So, that went well; the tweet↱ containing the indignant lie—

    —has been deleted. Apparently, Ms. Stuckey figured out that Horowitz was accurate.

    Flip-side: Stuckey is sticking with the bit about the Japanese and Jews benefiting from internment.
     
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  7. Bells Staff Member

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    It's not just Americans. Australia is also going through a horrific period at the moment, due to an upcoming referendum that would recognise Australia's First Nations Peoples in the Constitution and allow them to have an advisory body to the Federal Parliament. And we are seeing some old guard conservatives coming out with how Australia's First Nations Peoples have benefited from colonisation, etc. And truth be told, kids at school are not taught much about what happened in the immediate aftermath of colonisation in Australia. It isn't until they reach university and if they select subjects that teach about Australia's First Nations Peoples that their beliefs and ideas of what happened historically is actually challenged and they are encouraged to delve deeper into Australian history. It's quite an eye-opening experience for them.

    Yes and no. They can criminalise teaching critical thinking on particular subjects and they have. Banning books and denying teachers the right to teach or encourage critical thinking that may challenge the status quo or to analyse structural and systemic inequalities, particularly on the basis of race or gender, is a criminalisation of critical thinking. If we consider decolonisation projects, it is about accepting history and accepting the wrongs committed and the systemic and structural inequalities that occurred because of racism and how these inequalities continue to affect certain groups in society. Banning it is essentially an attempt to prevent 'white guilt'. Critical race theory is not about laying blame or making any group feel guilty. It is simply challenging the prevailing systems to understand why some groups are more disadvantaged over others by looking at it through a critical lens and a historical one. So the panic CRT causes is interesting from a sociological point of view, but it is also damaging.

    CRT has now become the catch-all for any subject that makes conservatives uncomfortable. Their defence is to attempt to paint the horrors of the past in a positive light. 'Sure, our ancestors did this to black people, but it wasn't all bad, so don't feel bad about it, because some of them were able to learn valuable skills out of it'... This is essentially how it's coming across. Historians and anthropologists in the future will have much to write about this period.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It would be fun to have CNN post a story about how America benefited from 9/11 (and that there were Christians involved in pulling it off anyway) and see what happened next.
     
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  9. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    And even then, only if one's university or major has the most basic of humanities requirements. With most people these days majoring in so-called "practical" shit, that's no guarantee. As a kid, I was exposed to more comprehensive history largely by virtue of having taste in music. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but school would seem to be the more obvious place for acquiring such information. As I recall, even AP courses were rather inadequate.

    I hadn't anticipated this CRT panic specifically, but I did wonder several years back, when a number of these sorts were going on about "cultural Marxism", where they were headed with this. As far as I could tell, they were railing against Frankfurt School theorists. I seriously doubt they were actually reading any, but they certainly seemed to be referencing such. However obliquely. And they were constantly going on and on about how universities were overrun with Marxists. Well, duh. Marx endures for the same reason Darwin does: unavoidable truths and inescapable conclusions tend to prevail when people are tasked with actually thinking. Regardless, that didn't seem to catch on in the way that their CRT beef has.

    What really struck me about this slavery as some sort of apprenticeship thing is that it goes so far beyond simply not "teaching CRT". It's not your typical garden variety stupid which usually stems from lazy thinking. Rather, it requires seriously jumping through some flaming hoops. No one encounters these words--

    You're lucky I didn't knock your teeth out.

    --and thinks, "oh, that person is very fortunate to have been spared their teeth". I'm fairly confident that any person who is conscious would take those words for the veiled threat which they are.

    It's that extraordinary leap from "it wasn't so bad" to "it actually had some benefits" that really scares the crap out of me. Just trying to imagine the brainstorming session during which someone came up with these supposed "benefits" of slavery. And no one was like, "Are you fucking kidding me?" Seriously?
     
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  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    I think back, over a decade, to when one of our neighbors, here, did the bit about the Mexican invading army. It was offensive, grotesque, and all that, but had I said, in 2010, or whenever, what it would come to when his fellow conservatives finally took that idea to the White House, that someone would say the same thing to justify murdering twenty-three people, how do we think that would have gone over? And in the context that such dangerous stupidity just didn't stand out that way, were administrators trying to stir up a massacre; no, that would be a circumstantially absurd suggestion.

    "Cultural marxism" has been a rightist trope seeking to tie liberal societal enlightenment to Jews; it's an anti-semitic trope popular among American conservatives. At what point were we, as a society, supposed to accept the rhetoric really was a political principle that Jews should be thankful for the Holocaust?

    There is a lot about how awful American conservatives are that, frankly, nobody anticipated, and in large part because we weren't supposed to. So much of our society has depended on certain people not going there, as such, and we would appear to have exceeded that boundary. And nothing about that transgression looks, at this point, like an accident. How long they've actually been at this is a question for historians to figure, but think back, what you've seen and heard, and the people you've known and encountered over the period. Think of the people you've seen and known, here. And not just the ones who were so blatant, but also those who wanted to be seen as something else while doing their part. And the answer to the notas is, yes, this is what conservatives are and were doing the whole time, and why nota disclaimers are so hard to believe.

    That's the thing, isn't it: We're supposed to think so. At the same time, well, once upon a time in a dispute, I had to ask what the other side thought was going on, and when told, I found myself reminding that nobody on the one side had said that, and they were actually responding to their own straw man. As a practical consideration, it's an important episode for me to remember: I actually had to explain to them that the person they were mad at never said that, nor the person defending him, and that the only people who said that were the ones complaining about it. It's, like, two years later, and they still haven't figured it out.

    The lesson for our moment is that you might be overstating your confidence in other people; as you are aware, it's all in the politics of the beholder.

    And in the moment, part of the challenge is to take these thousand points of darkness and show there is a shadow over our society, especially when so much of the counterargument relies on pretenses of righteous ignorance.

    It's why I wonder↑ if anyone is ashamed, and perhaps you can appreciate the irony of the question so offending someone that they triple down.

    Because it's also hard to extrapolate, for instance, from an idea on record in this thread, a notion of interpersonal dispute, i.e., being "at war"↑ with someone else as the signpost where someone followed a rightist fork in the road. And even in our rarefied context at Sciforums, it's hard to know quite what to do with such examples, but if all the "not a racist" and "not a supremacist" voices in the discourse really aren't, then how did it all get to this point? Not everyone fell down a rabbit hole arguing with their neighbor.

    †​

    Still, here's one, and we only need to reach back two years. Okay, almost two and a half. To start. But, still. The story so far is that over a dozen House Republicans filed false statements with the clerk in order to attend CPAC↗. And then it emerged that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ04) spoke at a white supremacist rally coinciding with all that. Along the way, we're also going to have a moment↗ with the idea that actually seeing the CPAC stage is its own moment in wondering what the hell is wrong with American conservatives, and remember, we're supposed to believe it was a complete accident that no veteran conservative hand could recognize and forestall. The white supremacist organizer celebrated Rep. Gosar's participation by announcing↗, "America is truly uncancelled."

    And if someone else chose to defend Gosar, that defense is whatever it is↗, but it also becomes relevant, as such, to consider the function, politics, and the low conservative ethic that would justify such behavior.

    Anyway, that was a couple years ago. More recently, it's been about two weeks since Fuentes called for the destruction of the Jews, declaring↱, "We’re in a holy war … we will make them die in the holy war." And it's been a little over a week since Rep. Gosar pitched Holocaust denial↱ in a House newsletter, skipping an article's conservative source in order to link readers to a repost at a "Tea Party" website that believes the revolt against the government is afoot, promotes Holocaust denial and Great Replacement, and adores Adolf Hitler.

    If I'm not surprised that it was Vociferous, back then, defending Gosar, sure, there can still remain a question of what he thought he was doing. Did he fall down a hole trying to stay competitive within his own political framework? For instance, if he has other intersections with supremacism, is it about liberal and conservative, for instance, or legitimizing American Nazis? In order to ward off the prospect of his intention to legitimize American Nazis, we must accept that he was willing to take it that far in order to stick it to Democrats.

    Or our neighbor, over a decade ago. I've never questioned that he was who he said he was, an Hispanic conservative from the midwest, in part because his pitch is not uncommon. Even Trump had Hispanic supporters who thought he was the best thing ever for Hispanics. And if our neighbor fulfills the role of the Hispanic conservative who will tell you the problem with bigotry against Hispanics is Hispanics, kind of like a Cosby pull-up-your-pants speech, it's not unbelievable. Did he just fall down a hole, trying to stick it to Democrats? What the hell happened?

    And that's the thing, Casarez was outed as a Nazi; Fuentes is a Nazi revivalist. It happens. It's not impossible; Hispanics and white supremacism are not absolutely incompatible.

    Was our neighbor trying to foment a mass shooting? I sincerely doubt it. Did Vociferous throw down so hard for American Nazis and white supremacism? Well, I would like to hope not.

    Did someone in this thread just take it how far in order to stick it to someone else in this thread? Even if it's just that kind of gaffe, well, sure, I suppose there is some deeper question about why people dig, fall down, or leap into this or that particular hole; however, as an affecting societal phenomenon, no, not everyone fell down a rabbit hole arguing with their neighbor.

    †​

    Here's a short form: So, there was this thing, and then, like, there wasn't, and then it came back again.

    I've been thinking about a particular story from history; it runs back to 1994, but we have a 2007 waypoint, here, and the whole thing is shot through with irony. For instance, imagine that you're someone else, who wrote a particular book. And when it comes time for the next printing of the bestseller, the first line of the new epilogue reflects that it all fell apart so fast.

    What does that mean? Well, there was this thing, and, y'know, then there wasn't. An affecting phenomenon seemed to collapse into remission; it all fell apart so fast. But now it's back, with Congressional Republicans openly advocating Christian nationalism.

    The thing is, it never really went away. It survived because enough people were okay with it. That is, they're not a supremacist, and they don't support that stuff, but ... and the catch is, recursively, the catch. Let's see, here, they're not that and don't support it, but you're going too fast, or being too aggressive, and the bottom line is that inequality must remain in effect or else you're not being fair.

    Remember, they're "not a" something, but it's not always an accident. Where were they headed? Did they even know? And what would it mean if they didn't? The inbetweeners who would pretend to be wise, the notas who would pretend to be righteous; this dangerous mess doesn't happen without them.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Hananoki, Eric. "Rep. Paul Gosar promotes another antisemitic site that praises Hitler and denies the Holocaust". Media Matters for America. 24 July 2023. MediaMatters.org. 31 July 2023. https://bit.ly/3OCm2bE

    Thakker, Prem. "White Supremacist Nick Fuentes Calls for “Holy War” Against Jews". The New Republic. 17 July 2023. NewRepublic.com. 31 July 2023. https://bit.ly/3rTvjmU

    See Also:

    Walker, Hunter. "EXCLUSIVE: Capitol Hill Staffer Is A Prominent Follower Of Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes". Talking Poinst Memo. 14 May 2023. TalkingPointsMemo.com. 31 July 2023. https://bit.ly/44O4dvY
     
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    #Because | #OfCourse

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    Busters: Click because maybe kids don't need the masters.

    Per Tampa Bay Times:

    Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly says he opposes indoctrination in schools. Yet his administration in early July approved materials from a conservative group that says it's all about indoctrination and "changing minds."

    The Florida Department of Education determined that educational materials geared toward young children and high school students created by PragerU, a nonprofit co-founded by conservative radio host Dennis Prager, was in alignment with the state's standards on how to teach civics and government to K-12 students ....

    .... "We are in the mind-changing business and few groups can say that," Prager says in a promotional video for PragerU as a whole. He reiterated that sentiment this summer at a conference for the conservative group Moms for Liberty in Philadelphia, saying it is "fair" to say PragerU indoctrinates children.

    "It's true we bring doctrines to children," Prager told the group. "But what is the bad of our indoctrination?"

    The governor's office and the Florida Department of Education declined to say how PragerU's mission and statements align with state law and DeSantis' vow to ensure Florida classroom instruction does not indoctrinate or persuade students to accept a specific viewpoint.

    PragerU is not an accredited university, and it publicly says the group is a "force of good" against the left. It's a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that produces videos that touch on a range of themes, including climate policies (specifically how "energy poverty, not climate change" is the real crisis), the flaws of Canada's government-run health care system (and how the American privatized system is better), and broad support for law enforcement (and rejection of Black Lives Matter). In some cases, the videos tell kids that their teachers are "misinformed" or "lying."

    (sigh)

    What? What can I possibly say?

    Who expected anything else?

    Okay, that's not fair, even I didn't really think Florida would be so blatant as to go with PragerU↗, in the first place, but who, really, expected them to up and say, "what is the bad of our indoctrination", even if we kind of already knew.

    Nonetheless, who wants to parse the inbetweening or bothsidesing for the sake of fairness toward what one is nota?
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Ceballos, Ana. "Florida's conservative PragerU teaching texts labeled 'indoctrination'". Tampa Bay Times. 31 July 2023. TampaBay.com. 31 July 2023. https://bit.ly/43X42NO
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    billvon:
    You're talking about a club run by kids?
    I'm hearing that the laws are de facto racist because they produce unequal outcomes, dependent on the race of the person they are applied to, rather than being framed in an overtly racist manner. And sometimes those unequal outcomes were intended by the people who enacted the laws. Is that a correct summary of why the laws are described as "racist laws"?
    Agreed. I'm across that.
    Who enforces these laws? Who would be doing the prosecuting for their breach? You suggest that enforcement would be selective, which points to a deep structural problem in whichever body is enforcing the laws, quite apart from the question of whether the laws are appropriate in the first place.

    Can the American people no longer trust law enforcement agencies to apply laws without introducing their own personal biases?
    I find it very difficult to square this with the First Amendment.

    Can the American people no longer trust its Supreme Court to uphold the constitutional right to freedom of speech?
    I already commented on this in post #110. I'm not sure if this is especially "emphasised" in the curriculum. It is, after all, one paragraph in hundreds. Also, the word "often" is your own insertion; the actual wording says "in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit".

    I completely understand why some people want to pick on this particular item in the curriculum. However, as I said, it could just possibly be that the degree of hysteria I'm hearing about this is a bit of an overreaction.
     
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I'm inclined to agree with you that this particular "elaboration" seems to be unnecessary, and that its inclusion could be poorly motivated. Nevertheless, there is a context here; this is one item out of hundreds in the curriculum, and yet a lot of the outraged political focus seems to be on just this one thing.

    It's not like there's a law that says the only thing to be taught about the African-American experience of slavery is that they sometimes learned skills that were useful in later life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Bells:
    No, I don't think you should be telling me what I can and can't comment on. It is perfectly permissible for me to comment on something that is unimportant, if I wish to do so, even if you would prefer that I did not.

    But let's keep in mind what you're complaining about here, lest one of us blows this out of proportion. I wrote:

    I assume that Tiassa did not mean to imply that slavery is always racist. Certainly the American experience of slavery was racist, but historically there are plenty of examples of slavery in which race was neither a motivator nor was it advanced as a justification.
    I noticed that it was possible to interpret Tiassa's words as trying to imply that slavery is always racist, so I commented. Note that I explicitly said that I assumed this was not what Tiassa meant to imply.

    You jumped on me because you made a whole bunch of incorrect assumptions about this. When you asked me whether I wanted to "die on the hill" of assuming something about Tiassa, I said it wasn't very important. I was trying to imply that there was no need for you to make a big issue out of it. But you weren't willing to let it go. And now you're suggesting I shouldn't comment on certain topics. You haven't even said why you'd prefer if I didn't comment. That's bad form, Bells.
    At no time did I "feign ignorance". Nor did you ask the question. You just assumed.

    Again, let's look at what I actually asked. I had two questions (post #97). I wrote:

    I would be interested to see some details about this. Are there certain prescribed texts or curricula that will mandate this teaching?
    ....
    None of these ["wannabe inbetweeners" or "sniveling notas"] are named in Tiassa's post, although they "stand out" somehow. Who are they?
    I expressed ignorance about two things: (1) the details of the Florida middle-school curriculum, and (2) who, exactly, Tiassa might be name-calling and making insinuations about in his post?

    These matters of ignorance were not feigned. This is how asking questions works, Bells. The person asking the question desires information that he or she does not currently possess (he or she is "ignorant" about the particular answers, if you insist). Then, the way a polite conversation goes is that somebody responds and says something like "Thanks for your question. Here's some information about the Florida curriculum...." or "Thanks for asking. The sniveling notas I was attempting to insult in my post are X, Y and Z."

    What usually doesn't happen is for an explosive response along the lines of "how dare you post that! You should stay away from this topic and never post about it again!"
    People get defensive when you attack them, Bells. It's not that mysterious.

    It's particularly baffling when you are attacked by somebody who you would assume would be willing to take your good faith as a given in a discussion.
    Which comments did I make that were "overly spurious"? What raised your eyebrows? My observation that Tiassa's words could possibly be read in two ways seems to bother you immensely. Why?
    I'm not convinced the laws are well reported on, in general. There are a lot of people with various political agendas loudly clamoring for media attention who seem to be selectively talking about the laws. There is a lot of meta-commentary on the laws. But very few, if any, deep-dives into what the laws actually say, what they would prohibit or mandate in practice etc.

    Now I could be wrong about this. Maybe there are some highly articulate and well-informed analyses, of which I am currently ignorant. (This would not be "feigned ignorance", note.) Hence, I had the temerity to ask the question and to suggest that, you know, maybe it would be nice to delve into some actual details a bit. But apparently, I'm not supposed to ask those sorts of questions, or I'll be acccused of feigning ignorance or of wanting to die on a hill for my supposed radical opinions (which are, in fact, nowhere in evidence).
    Taking your points in order:
    • At no time did I "complain" about somebody describing slavery in the US as being racist. On the contrary, I described it that way myself, explicitly.
    • I have no idea what that "what-about-ism" might be, or why it's a problem for you.
    • I have nowhere feigned ignorance.
    • There is nothing wrong with my asking Tiassa a question as to relevance. You may, from time to time, have noticed that his posts tend to be discursive, to say the least.
    "Anti-woke" is a buzzword, as is the "Stop Woke Act". A lot of people speak as if this Act has banned the teaching and discussion of racism, gender and more in schools. You speak of it that way. However, so far I'm not convinced that's what it does. I would like to know more about what the law actually says, like I said.

    I very much doubt that the term "woke" appears anywhere in the legislation. It seems like it is a sort of banner for a certain political position to rally behind. (Actually, I think that, these days, the original meaning of the term itself has been largely subverted by the hard Right.)

    Also, I would be interested to know what motivated this particular Act. What perceived harms are the Florida legislature trying to address with this law? What are the advertised benefits of the Act?
    The curriculum includes a lot of teaching about slavery, as far as I can see. It seems to cover the history of slavery, the experiences of slaves, particulars about how the "system" of slavery was administered, how and why slavery was abolished in the United States, etc.

    Is there nothing in the Florida curriculum about the social impacts of slavery, or the long-term disadvantages to African Americans that sprang out of it? Is the teaching of these things actually banned explicitly?
    It would seem to me to be impossible to study racism in America without considering the systems that enabled it and administered it.

    In social studies, are schools prevented from teaching about inequalities between white people and people of colour in the 20th century and beyond (including the present)?
    ---

    To be clear: if all these teachings are, in fact, banned by the Florida law, I personally think that is a very bad thing. I have no sympathy at all for the censorship of historical or present facts.

    The United States is on the verge of becoming a country where "white" people are the minority. So, barring viscious oppression, it seems to me that laws to suppress the discussion of facts about racism cannot hope to stand for very much longer.

    Lots of Floridians must have voted for DeSantis as governor. More than half of those who voted. The people of Florida also elect their legislators. The solution to bad laws enacted by people with an agenda seems like an obvious one.
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Bells:

    Thank you for posting the summary of the bill (which I assume is now a law that has been in force since 2022?).
    Here's the summary:
    Which parts of this are particularly problematic, in your view?
     
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  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Bells:
    I can't see any call for mentioning "critical race theory" in a school textbook about mathematics, can you? How could it possibly be relevant to the study of maths?

    And "Social Emotional Learning"? That's also in maths textbooks that are prescribed for the use of school children? Really? Why?

    As to the "problematical elements", I can see their point. It seems to me that if you're trying to teach mathematics using graphs, or something like that, introducing politically controversial data such as graphs of "racial prejudice by political leaning" seems like a distraction, at best, and at worst an attempt to sneak political messaging into a maths class. Do you think this sort of thing is appropriate for a school maths textbook?
    You haven't been paying attention. I have no "zeal" to war with Tiassa. I am mostly treating him as if he doesn't exist, these days. He is a hate-filled little man who is an unrepentent serial liar. I want nothing to do with him.

    Nevertheless, he seems to want to call me out by name in virtually every post he makes, usually to tell more lies and to attempt to re-write history to suit himself.

    If he had an ounce of decency, he would retract his many lies and apologise publically and promise to try to be a better man in future. That would require some sense of shame, a conscience and contrition. But he doesn't have any of those things, apparently.

    If you're going to complain about zeal and belligerence, take it up with Tiassa first.
    I'm not yet convinced that this is a push to deny that racism exists. I'm certainly willing to be convinced about that.
    I don't see how it would be possible to discuss such laws without mentioning that. But does the legislation actually prohibit such discussions?
    I am aware that the Supreme Court now has a "conservative" majority. (They are by no description actually "conservative". On the contrary, the Court seems to be pursuing a radical agenda.) You might also recall that, at the time of the appointments of Justices Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett, I was vocally against their appointments, on this forum.

    The US Supreme Court cannot prevent states from passing laws. They can nullify laws if they are unconstitutional, or if they conflict with Federal laws.

    I agree that certain voter suppression laws are racially motivated in practice. It's hard to sort out what the primary motivator is: political or racist. Either way, one thing is correlated with the other. The proportions of white Americans and people of colour who vote for the two political parties are not equally distributed. Therefore, suppressing the Democratic vote amounts, in many instances, to suppressing the black vote etc. Gerrymandering in the United States is out of control. Whoever thought that giving the party in power the power to set electoral district boundaries was a good idea? There's a simple solution that Australia has had in place for years: an independent electoral commission sets the boundaries.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Here's what two members of the working group who developed the Florida curriculum had to say about the controversy over some slaves learning valuable skills:

    "The intent of this particular benchmark clarification is to show that some slaves developed highly specialized trades from which they benefitted. This is factual and well documented," said Dr. William Allen and Dr. Frances Presley Rice, members of the group, before listing examples like Crispus Attucks and Booker T. Washington. "Any attempt to reduce slaves to just victims of oppression fails to recognize their strength, courage and resiliency during a difficult time in American history. Florida students deserve to learn how slaves took advantage of whatever circumstances they were in to benefit themselves and the community of African descendants."

    Allen and Rice said that the curriculum provides "comprehensive and rigorous instruction on African American History."
    In answering some questions on this (sorry, I don't have links), Allen said that the point of the curriculum item was not that slaves learned skills because of the slavery, but in spite of it.

    Moreover, to put this into further perspective, it is worth looking at what was in the Florida curriculum about this before the so-called "Stop WOKE Act". It turns out that, in the previous curriculum, there was a very similar line about teaching how some slaves developed useful skills while they were slaves. The wording was a little different, but not sufficiently different that the criticisms being made about the new curriculum could not have been made about the old one.

    It seems plausible to me that the group that developed the new curriculum referred to the existing one during their working process and essentially just copied the existing item into the new curriculum, with slightly different wording.

    It might be worth considering why all the people who are now loudly complaining about this line item in the new curriculum were not up in arms about the previous curriculum. Maybe they hadn't read the old one? (Maybe they haven't read the new one, either.) Maybe they didn't have a bunch of people trying to ignite a political firestorm on a relatively slim pretext?

    And now the obligatory disclaimers, because I'm sure some people will want to go out of their way to ascribe opinions to me that are not mine:
    • My personal view is that this particular line item in the curriculum is an unnecessary distraction from the meat and potatoes matters of teaching about the history of slavery in America.
    • On the broader issue of the appropriateness of this curriculum as a whole, I currently take no position. I have not gone over the entire thing with a fine tooth comb. I am not an American or a Florida resident or a parent of a child who attends school in Florida. From what I have read, it seems like there might well be some omissions of material from the curriculum that I would regard as potentially important inclusions. However, I am not aware of whether those matters are covered at other levels or in other contexts in Florida schools.
    • On the even broader matter of DeSantis's "Stop WOKE" Act, I am similarly agnostic, at present. I just don't know enough about its actual content to be able to judge whether it is bad legislation, at present.
    • On the even broader matter of systemic racism in the United States, my current opinion is that such racism does exist in practice and perhaps, in some cases, explicitly in some laws. However, I do not have a set of US legislation handy and, even if I did, I would not be reading though all of it.
    • I do not consider myself an expert on any of this. I am very willing - indeed interested - to learn more about these matters. I am, however, more interested in learning facts than opinions, especially because lots of people on both sides of the fence hold strong emotional opinions that I find are often not well informed by fact.
    • As I said, I am not an American. These laws don't affect me or my family. I am, however, interested in matters such as fairness, truth and harmony. The United States is currently going through turbulent social and political times. I would like see Americans spend a little less time gazing inwards and a little more time gazing outwards, but there are problems to be solved before that can happen.
    • The United States is a large nation with a diverse and multicultural population. I am acutely aware that there is a very wide range of opinions among Americans about many things, not the least being political issues. I do not presume that all resident of Florida think alike, let alone that all Americans think alike.
    • I do not believe that all opinions are equally valid or worthy.
    • I do not believe that one's race is at all relevant to assessing the strength or validity of one's arguments.
     
    LaurieAG likes this.
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
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    Clearly:

     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,646
    Doesn't matter. The law applies to speech within schools. So if they use school facilities, it's banned.
    Not quite.

    Almost all laws have unequal outcomes. Most laws against violent crime, for example, results in more arrests of men than women. So they have a sexist effect - but are not sexist laws.

    In terms of racist laws there's a continuum. It generally goes like this.

    "Blacks cannot live here." Clearly racist. The law is nullified by a court on that basis.

    "OK we won't say blacks. People with an income of under X and with Y education cannot live here. See? We didn't say the word 'black' so it's not racist." Still racist. They are attempting the same outcome with different language to "sneak by" courts.

    Then a new government comes in.

    "Well, that law doesn't sound racist to me so we will renew it." Is that racist? Since it's the promulgation of a law specifically targeting blacks, yes. Even if the people who renew it are not targeting blacks explicitly.

    "We have to pass this other law to support that non-racist law we just renewed." Is that racist? It's BASED on a law rooted in racism, so it may well be.

    Again, this is, in a nutshell, what CRT studies. And it's not always clear.

    That is exactly correct.
    They never have. The best we can do is to put mechanisms in place to prevent that as much as possible. But you can't get away from human biases.

    If it had not been paired with the " . . . and some of the people who were part of this KKK massacre of black people were black themselves . . . ." addition perhaps you could call it an oversight or not part of a coordinated effort.
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    37,893
    Two Important Pieces of the Puzzle

    Here are two components we need to be familiar with:

    • Florida Administrative Code (FAC) Rule 6A-10.081, "Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida"

    • Florida Statutes, Section 1000.05(4)(a)

    These are key to enforcing the controversial Florida curriculum standards. And if I said, before↑, that Florida has become about as subtle as a Sciforums thread, consider the rightist organization¹ in Tennessee↑, who suggested the story of Ruby Bridges might make white students uncomfortable; that is, in the state where a school district faces a five million dollar fine for making white students uncomfortable.

    And so it happens that, in a related issue, Judd Legum↱ observes a point about Rule 6A-10.081, that the rule has not been altered.² And that is an important clue; 6A-10.081(2)(a)8 invokes Section 1000.05(4)(a) of the Florida statutes:

    It shall constitute discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex under this section to subject any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the following concepts:

    And there it is:

    7. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.

    These sorts of laws never gave a damn about how nonwhites felt, or else they wouldn't be necessary. This is not a new point around here³, and persists at large. There was a time, thirty years ago, for instance, when Americans heard about a European controversy involving historical revisionism and Holocaust denial. Our similar lamentation against revisionism worked a little differently, that including the actual historical record in our telling of American history might make white people feel badly. And the Columbus Day brouhaha persists, all this time later.

    Moreover, consider the next point in the law:

    8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, national origin, or sex to oppress members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.

    And if the question arose↑ what the curriculum has to do with CRT, (4)(a)7-8 provide as clear an answer as any might. It is impossible to separate ¶7 ("guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress") from the history of teaching history; as I said two years ago:

    In 1995, James Loewen published, Lies My Teacher Told Me. If we count back the twenty-six years to publication, and consider that he was looking at textbooks already in circulation, well, we're looking at least at thirty to forty years. Moreover, also on record … is a 2006 interview in which Loewen discussed his time teaching at Tougaloo College; checking that credential, we find he was at the school from 1968-75, and if we tack on at least four years for his students' time in high school, were looking at about 1964, some fifty-seven years ago. We can reach into the fifties, because it really does seem that as schools were educating the future Tougaloo students wrongly, nobody around them seemed to know, either, which suggests they were not the first class to suffer such misinformation, so we can reach back a little farther, at least.

    (4)(a)7 is an iteration of a persistent sentimentality, or, less neutrally, supremacism. Once upon a time↗ I juxtaposed Loewen, 1995, with Aldous Huxley ca. 1925, on how societal empowerment is often unaware of its history. And ¶8 constrains teachers from clarifying inaccuracies in the curriculum narrative, empowering white supremacist justification denigrating nonwhites, which, again, would appear to precede my lifetime.

    These laws and curricula are the white supremacist version of "Intelligent Design" insofar as they are calculated to shepherd particular, otherwise unacceptable, results; they are the latest generation of the White Man's Burden. To presume an effective neutrality, either technical or vernacular, is to ignore or refuse history.

    Or, perhaps, we might consider a question↑ of systemic racism in the United States; the Florida legislation and curriculum are among the baldest iterations we might find, an apparent objection on behalf of systemic racism.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ Moms for Liberty recently returned to the headlines when a different chapter quoted Adolf Hitler on the front page of its newsletter. That the right wing is now parsing how to most appropriately utilize Hitler ought to make some sort of point.

    ² Of note: While the rule was amended in April, 2023, the amended language is not evident at the Florida Department of Education web page for the Principles; that page was last amended in November, 2022 (11-22-22). See 6A-10.081(2)(a)6, "kindergarten through grade 3"; the amended rule now includes grades 4-12.

    ³ ca., 2009↗; it has even come up in this thread, see #1↑, 26↑.​

    @JuddLegum. "6. Further Diaz did not alter Rule 6A-10.081 of the Principles of Professional Conduct for Florida teachers, which was amended in April to prohibit 'classroom instruction to students in grades 4 through 12 on sexual orientation or gender identity' except in sex ed classes". Twitter. 8 August 2023. Twitter.com. 8 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3Ywmyet

    Florida Department of Education. "Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida". 2022. FLDoE.org. 10 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3Yyzv7F

    Florida Legislature. "The 2022 Florida Statutes (including 2022 Special Session A and 2023 Special Session B)". Florida Statutes. 2023. Leg.State.FL.us. 10 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3DS4eTM
     
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    37,893
    What It's For

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    Detail of "Not OKKK", by Mr. Fish, 2014

    The word out of Conroe, Texas, pop. 103,000:

    Some Conroe ISD trustees want to crack down on displays of racial inclusivity and pride, saying they represent, "symbols of personal ideologies."

    One trustee says a child was traumatized by a poster showing different colored children holding hands and had to switch classrooms.

    School officials against this say a policy prohibiting political displays, not related to curriculum, already exists. The trustee who brought this forward didn't realize that.

    When it was brought to her attention, the trustee said she wants that policy to go further. Citing "a number of parents reaching out to her about supposed displays of personal ideologies in classrooms," Melissa Dungan asked her fellow board members to crackdown on them.

    "I wish I was shocked by each of the examples that were shared with me, however, I am aware these trends have been happening for many years," Dungan said.

    When pressed to share one of those examples, Dungan referred to a first grade student whose parent claimed they were so upset by a poster showing hands of people of different races, that they transferred classrooms.

    "Just so I understand, you are seriously suggesting that you find objectionable, a poster indicating that all are included," Stacey Chase, another trustee, said.

    Dungan wouldn't say whether she found that poster objectionable, just that she wants to avoid "situations like that" by having the board adopt stricter standards and adhere to state policies already in place, prohibiting teachers from displaying political items not relevant to curriculum.


    (Ryan↱)

    Y'know, just in case anyone remains unclear about what these conservative educational curricula and laws are about. The prospect that socialization between different colors might truamatize a child, or desegregation chase a child out of a classroom, ought to make a point about the values at stake.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Ryan, Shannon. "Conroe ISD trustee argues displays of racial inclusivity and pride in classrooms should be removed". KTRK. 10 August 2023. ABC13.com. 11 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3QGzkWd
     
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    37,893
    Detail and History

    Joyce Carol Oates relates↱ the tale↱:

    (another near-forgotten incident, preserved in letters: in Oct. 1995 I was a guest at a luncheon hosted by Tina Brown at the New Yorker offices at the very time the O.J. Simpson verdict was announced...quite stunning the [all-white] gathering. on the spot canny Tina Brown called her friend Skip Gates [Henry Louis Gates, Jr.] to ask him to explain this [to many, utterly baffling] verdict which presumably he did.

    It's an episode that describes a context about the recording and telling of history. Even the messed-up parody of liberalism almost superstitously assigned the New Yorker isn't really so far off from a roomful of white liberals needing their black friend to explain it to them. Or, as such, this is almost an exemplary answer to the old question about why there isn't a "White History Month".

    Vis à vis critical race theory, the tale its own manner of example. The letters are apparently being sorted for a book, so we might actually get a chance to read the primary account.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @JoyceCarolOates. "(another near-forgotten incident, preserved in letters …". (thread) Twitter. 11 August 2023. Twitter.com. 12 August 2023. https://bit.ly/45qEWrG
     
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    37,893
    Both Sides of a Truth

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    Will Stancil↱ considers the Arkansas cancellation of AP African American Studies:

    The moderate liberals who continually talked about the supposed problems with CRT/DEI were told again and again that they were not so much critiquing obscure academic frameworks as they were normalizing anti-black racism. But, of course, they knew better than us and kept going

    Or, more directly↱:

    I dunno guys, the code wasn't that hard to crack.

    (boldface accent added)

    And it's funny because it's true. Oh, wait, it's not funny.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @whstancil. "The moderate liberals who continually talked about the supposed problems with CRT/DEI were told again and again that they were not so much critiquing obscure academic frameworks as they were normalizing anti-black racism. But, of course, they knew better than us and kept going". (thread) Twitter. 20 August 2023. Twitter.com. 20 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3qJqAnl


     

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