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California slides deeper into the cultural abyss with new ethnic studies curriculum

The California Department of Education is soliciting public comment on its Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, a “legislatively mandated guide” for educators created by a cadre of “teachers, academics and bureaucrats.”

Anyone familiar with college “studies,” especially anything with “ethnic” in it, is going to get, as The Wall Street Journal’s Williamson Evers says, “faddish social-science lingo […] that may make sense to radical university professors and activists” (and regular College Fix readers), but few others.

Indeed, take the language in the model’s Introduction and Overview. Imagine a parent reading the following and frantically Googling to try to figure out what the hell is going on:

As early as the 1970s, some California public high schools began offering Ethnic Studies, positing that courses in the field would provide an opportunity to engage the hxrstory, cultures, contributions, perspectives, and experiences of groups that have been overlooked, hxrstorically marginalized, and often subjected to invisibility within mainstream courses.

“Hey honey, check out this official Department of Education document! It constantly misspells ‘history'”! Except that the misspelling is entirely purposeful: “History,” you see, has “his” in it which is (gasp!) gender-exclusive.

However, if a reader doesn’t give up before finishing the first paragraph, he (or “hxr”?) will see a note that the document’s glossary provides an edu-jargon decoding mechanism. According to the glossary, hxrstory “is used to describe history written from a more gender inclusive perspective. The ‘x’ is used to disrupt the often rigid gender binarist approach to telling history.” The term is pronounced the same as “herstory,” which is “history written from a feminist or women’s perspective” and “is used to disrupt the often androcentric nature of history.”

If that doesn’t help, maybe this will:

Ethnic Studies provides all students regardless of race with crucial interpersonal communication, cultural competency, and equity driven skills that are integral to civic engagement and collegiality, especially in a society that is rapidly diversifying. Critical solidarities are imperative for Ethnic Studies, it is out of these solidarities that the field emerged with the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), and with these solidarities that Ethnic Studies is growing nationally today.

The glossary defines “solidarity” as “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.” But … if these solidarities are an imperative, what happens to individual thinking and diversity of thought?

The guide’s Sample Course Models are a collection of progressive activists’ wet dreams regarding oppression and colonialism. The “Potential Significant Figures to Cover” in the African-American section include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, while the Arab-American section mentions Linda Sansour, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. The lyrics of a rap tune titled “The Real Arab Money” include the lines “America bustin’ nuts on Saudi Riyals,” “I got the nerve to burn bridges like Halliburton/John McCain with Sarah Palin probably flirtin’,” and “‘Arab money’ came from British colonialism.”

Even the section on Asians and Asian-Americans, the most successful demographic in the US, is chock full of “feel sorry for me” -isms.

One part of the SCM (in the Native American section) seems way out of place because it actually provides some ideological balance. The excerpt from A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror is a glowing tribute to the United States, flaws and all, and blasts left-wing academics for their perpetual focus on the negative: “it is not surprising, then, that so many left-wing historians miss the boat (and miss it, and miss it, and miss it to the point where they need a ferry schedule).”

Despite the far-left nature of the new curriculum, at least it doesn’t flat out make up stuff in an effort to uplift students as Oregon’s Portland Baseline Essays did in the late 1980s. Based on “Afrocentrism,” these essays consider Egypt a purely black nation, and in an “openly disdainful” display their authors “attempt major revisions of ancient Egyptian history.” For example, they claim Egypt is responsible for the birth Western civilization, and the science essays note that the Egyptians dabbled with concepts such as “antennae and electricity” and were “famous as masters of psi, precognition, psychokinesis, [and] remote viewing.”

MORE: Profs slam ‘ethnic studies’ report: ‘Not a serious study’

MORE: Student op-ed: Don’t let ethnic studies classes get too diverse!

IMAGE: Letstute / YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.