The multi-culti, anti-whitie, anti-Christ-ie classroom

Multiculturalism is one of those concepts that’s supposed to give all of us a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. We’re all equal, we’re all wonderful. We’re no longer that icky old melting pot that forced minorities with exciting, dynamic cultures to subordinate themselves to a generic white America and become bland and meaningless. Instead, we’re an exciting salad bowl, with each disparate element lending color and punch to a healthy whole. It really does make for a wonderful vision, doesn’t it?

But what turns out to happen when you don’t encourage a dominate culture is that the separate ingredients in the salad bowl get testy and restive. The tomatoes start to disparage the lettuce, and no one will associate with the onions. Because they’re not forced to blend together, each thinks he or she is better than the others. The one thing those ingredients know for a certainty, though, because they’re taught so at our taxpayer funded schools, is that America is a bad place, and that traditional Americans — read: White Christians — are the problem.

The above is not just clever (I hope), opinionated writing. It is, in part, an amalgam of information I’ve been picking up over the years. It’s also a reflection of the type of workshops being taught this week at the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) convention in Baltimore:

School board members ought to be particularly interested, because they approve the doling out of taxpayers’ money for K-12 teachers from every state to attend the NAME convention.

They ought to be welcome to sit in on any of the workshops and determine what multicultural messages their teachers are absorbing for use in the classroom.

The co-sponsors of multiculturalism’s biggest gathering include several beneficiaries of tax money, including the Maryland affiliate of the National Education Association (a longtime NAME ally), George Mason University and even the Maryland State Department of Education.

School board members could start by attending one of the half- or full-day workshops on Halloween. Here are some of the choices from the NAME program:

• “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Dismantling White Privilege and Supporting Anti-Racist Education in Our Classrooms and Schools.” Taught by a professor from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, this session “is designed to help educators identify and deconstruct their own white privilege and in so doing more deeply commit themselves to anti-racist teaching and critical multicultural teaching.”

• “Talking About Religious Oppression and Unpacking Christian Privilege.” This session, taught by a team of professors, “will examine the dynamics of Christian privilege and oppression of minority religious groups and nonbelievers as constructed and maintained on three distinct levels: individual, institutional and societal. A historical and legal lecturette will be presented and participants will engage in interactive learning modules.”

• “Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Teaching Teachers How to be Critical Multicultural Educators.” Taught by NAME regional director Paul Gorski, founder of the activist group EdChange, this session will start from the premise that multiculturalism’s greatest danger “comes from educators who ostensibly support its goals, but whose work – cultural plunges, food fairs, etc. – reflects a compassionate conservative consciousness rather than social justice. This session focuses on preparing teachers, not for celebrating diversity, but for achieving justice in schools and society.”

Workshops at NAME annual conventions (six of which I have attended since 1993) repeatedly advocate the teaching of “social justice.” That term never seems to be defined, but its users simplify all American life as a saga of the oppressed vs. the oppressors. Skin color, national origin, gender, religion and sexual preference are among the qualities that put all individuals into one category or the other.

You can be assured that these ugly concepts don’t stay confined to weekend boondoggles in Baltimore.  My daughter came home from school the other day and gave me a cheerful lecture about what wonderful environmentalists the Indians were, unlike the Americans, who trashed the environment.  I, in turn, felt obliged to give her a little talk about the fact that the Indians were not an industrial people, which accounted for their low level footprint.  We also talked about numbers of Indians versus space and resources.

More than that, I reminded her that Native Americans were and are people like any other people:  some good, some bad, some strong, some weak, some thoughtful, some thoughtless, etc.  I urged her to remember that, when the Native Americans are presented as nothing but good, that this is just how the schools like to teach things, and that an intelligent student remembers that the true picture is always richer and much more rounded — and, frankly, more interesting.  The fact that saints can be boring explains why so many stories, from earliest history to the present, like to start out with the saint as a sinner who finds redemption.

Hat tip: Mike Devx

The front we don’t hear about

The front we don’t hear about, of course, is Afghanistan.  Because it was for an acceptable cause and went well, the media has pretty much abandoned it.  It’s not bleeding enough to lead, and it does not fit in with the anti-Bush agenda.  I was curious about what it’s like to serve on a front that’s become a backwater, at least as far as the media is concerned, so a friend of mine who works with troops serving in Afghanistan asked them that question.  My friend came back with the following information:

One of the things that’s good about the lack of coverage is that the military is not subject to the erroneous or distorted reporting that trickles out of Iraq on a regular basis.  Of course, useful, true information also isn’t getting out, which leaves the public, not only untainted by falsehoods, but also unaware of important truths.  Overall, though, those to whom my friend spoke find it something of a relief not to have the press’s hostile eye focused on them relentlessly.  Apparently one enemy, in the battlefield, is more than enough.

Despite the media’s lack of interest in Iraq, my friend’s sources do not think there is much chance that the military, feeling itself unconstrained by the Fourth Estate, will go hog wild and recreate Abu Ghraib.  While there will always be bad people in an organization, and they will do bad things, the organization itself is pretty solid.  The military also has oversight procedures to prevent as much wartime misconduct as possible.

Lack of public interest carries with it the risk that it will be followed by a reduction in funds.  The military guys and gals, however, are not too worried about this.  Indeed, they appear to feel that funding right now is adequate, which my friend says (rightly) is probably a first in government operations.

As far as the troops go, they’re not feeling neglected.  On the one hand, they’re protected from Code Pink-esque anti-War hostility and, on they other hand, they’re still getting the love from those who matter, thanks to the internet and a very large family based support roup.  Morale seems high, with the external threats viewed as relatively low.

Relationships with the locals are also fairly stable.  Headquarters has a special group that connects senior Army leaders with local leaders, so as to keep relationships as smooth as possible.  Indeed, the military takes this responsibility as seriously in Afghanistan as it does in Iraq.

That sounds like a pretty good report from an important front in the War against Islamist hostilities against the West.

Wow! But I wonder about its truth….

If rumor is right, this is the scandal to end all scandals. But if I were a betting woman, I’d bet against this. Hillary is the most calculating person in the world, and I do not believe that she would jeopardize her life long dream of ultimate power by getting involved in a sordid scandal. If the Clinton involved were Bill, I would believe it, but I cannot accept the idea that Hillary is incapable of subordinating her libido to her desire for for the White House.

Hat tip: LGF

UPDATE:  I thought it wasn’t true and — it’s probably not true.  Too out of character.

Those darn UNICEF boxes

Well, Halloween is almost over. The kids, over-stimulated and over-sugared, are having a last snack and then they’re going to bed — no doubt over their vociferous protests.

As is always the case in our neighborhood, it was a very nice Halloween. I know most of the kids who come by to trick or treat, and we always have a block party beforehand, so I can say hi to my friends.

What I noticed this year, though, was how much more ubiquitous those darn UNICEF boxes were. At least half the children held them out to me. I confined myself to a terse, “No, I don’t do UNICEF, but have some candy,” which more than satisfied the children. However, others in the neighborhood were stuffing those boxes, and one boy proudly showed me a completely full box, including a five dollar bill that someone generously handed them.

Do you think that all the people contributing to UNICEF would still give the money if they knew how that money was being spent? Here’s how much of that UNICEF money is distributed:

UNICEF has been a major financier of Palestinian “summer camps” which encourage children to become suicide bombers. One such camp is named for Wafa Idris, a female suicide bomber.

During the late 1990s, UNICEF served as a propaganda organ of the Saddam Hussein regime. Relying solely on Iraqi government statistics, UNICEF and the Saddam government co-authored a report asserting that over a million children in Iraq died because of U.N. sanctions. A map on the first page of the report depicted Kuwait as a province of Iraq.

UNICEF is the primary funder for the “Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation” (PYALARA), which UNICEF calls “a major strategic partner in Palestine.” Materials produced by the group are frequently used in schools operated by UNICEF.

PYALARA publishes a 16-page newspaper for young people, The Youth Times (TYT). It is distributed at Palestinian universities, colleges, community centers, and in the many U.N.-operated schools in Palestinian areas.

The organization claims that its mission is “expanding awareness of one’s roots and identity, environment and culture, as well as of other countries and the world at large.” Yet PYALARA’s products follow the typical line of terrorist propaganda, in which nothing is the fault of the Palestinians, everything is the fault of the Jews, and there is never any effort to consider the merits of Israel’s position on anything.  (Hyperlinks omitted.)

Now, some might say these things are this is a small price to pay considering all the good UNICEF does, but it’s questionable whether UNICEF does much good at all:

As for the actual needs of children, UNICEF is sometimes an obstacle to progress. For example, UNICEF has been pressuring Guatemala to stop allowing inter-country adoptions. That is, UNICEF would prefer a child to languish in a Guatemalan orphanage rather than be adopted by a loving family in the United States.

UNICEF’s focus on politics and political correctness has come at the expense of saving the lives of the approximately ten million children under the age of five who die each year from preventable causes.

According to UNICEF, the major cause of child poverty in the world is the free market—even though countries with free markets have vastly lower levels of child poverty than do the kleptocratic, statist economies extolled by UNICEF.

A 2003 report praised the North Korean dictatorship:

the particular strength of the DPRK’s policy framework lies in its comprehensiveness, integration and consistency in addressing the interests of children and women. It has been aligned with the collective production system. The Government has proactively broadened and updated its laws and policies on an ongoing basis, also making an effort to harmonize with international innovations and standards.

Given UNICEF’s affinity for the extreme left, it should be no surprise that UNICEF helps fund the gun- prohibition lobby in Brazil.  (Hyperlinks omitted.)

UNICEF’s role as enemy of the children is, of course, augmented by the role its “peace keepers” play as enemies of the  most helpless children.

The UN is, to my mind, one of the most truly corrupt organizations in the world, one that America funds heavily, but that is nevertheless devoted to anti-Americanism.  (And don’t even get me started on its systemic and violent antisemitism.)  But don’t take my word for it:  check out Eye on the UN, which carefully tracks the UN’s myriad failings and corruption at every level of operation.  And next year, when those sweet kids come by with their little UNICEF boxes, politely say “no” and pass them the candy.  You and they will both be happier.

Islam and women

I’ve posted repeatedly about the fact that one of the main things Islamists fear about the West is the fact that the West has decided not to subjugate its women.  So much of Islamic energy is spent on women’s issues — only not in the way NOW defines them.

To NOW, women’s issues, at the extreme end, are comparable pay, unlimited abortions on demand, and GLBT rights.  At the less extreme end, NOW’s acolytes focus on reasonable things such as equal pay for equal work, equal access to education and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination.

To Islamists, women’s issues include keeping women from driving, preventing them from being educated, confining them to the house, wrapping them in tents when they leave the house, executing them if they are raped, beating them for any infractions, allowing them to die rather than flee burning building inadequately clothed, etc.  (I’m lazy this morning, but you can readily find links for every one of the assertions I just made.)

As part of this wonderful world of viewing women as chattel who must constantly be demeaned and disciplined lest they make their manifestly inadequate men face their own inadequacy, the Islamists have come up with a new and exciting idea:  The woman free wedding.  Yay!

To heck with multiculturalism:  the Islamists — by which I mean, not Muslims generally, but only those who choose to practice the religion in its most extreme, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-Western form — are bad news, and they practice a debased form of religion.  To my mind, religion should bring out the best in people.  Islamists use their religion to justify the worst.

The earthquake

Last night, my husband was conducting a rather wild bedtime for the kids, while I was working on a project.  I suddenly felt this weird thudding under foot and hollered out “Was that an earthquake?”  “No,” he said.  “It’s just the kids running around.”  Some kids.  Some running!

Happy Halloween!

Today is going to be a slightly fragmented day, since it’s Halloween. I know I’ll get some blogging done — I just don’t know when.

Until then, my best wishes for you and your kids to enjoy a Happy Halloween!

Marine fans — the few, the proud, the cheap!?

Okay, it’s time to get serious here.  I just went over to the pledge and information page for the Project Valour — IT fund raiser and discovered to my immense chagrin that the Marines are trailing the Army.  At this moment, all I can do is quote Claude Raines:  “I’m shocked!  Shocked!”

If you’ve been thinking about donating to this wonderful cause, now is the time.  We Marine supporters cannot let it be said that the Army supporters bested us in fund raising, can we?  The optimal outcome, of course, would be for supporters in every branch to raise the desired amount ($60,000 per branch), but, to my mind, the really, really optimal outcome would be for the Marines to get there first!

American schools avoid responsibility at levels both large and small

Yesterday I wrote about an administrative meeting I attended at our local public school, relating how everyone assured me that the teachers understood a policy document that was to guide them. However, when I asked questions, it became apparent that the teachers, in fact, didn’t understand at least a few of the key concepts in the document.

What really troubled me was the document itself, one that various committees had written over the years. To my mind, it was incomprehensible. First off, every single sentence was passive voice. I don’t like passive voice. My blessedly good high school English teacher taught me that people use passive voice to avoid responsibility, and she was right. In this document, all sorts of things “will be done” for the benefit of the students, but it is never clear who will do them. The document cycled madly between apparently random passive voice references to the school, the teachers, and the administrations, with many sentences carefully avoiding assigning any responsibility at all.

Of course, even if one could determine who had responsibility, I doubt it would be easy for the person with responsibility to figure out what he or she is to do. The document was rich with buzzwords, jargon and meaningless (but very high sounding) phrases. Incidentally, I recognize jargon’s usefulness within an industry. It’s a shorthand. As a lawyer, I use it all the time. It would take me forever to explain to you, the non-lawyer reader, what a demurrer is, but a lawyer instantly understands its meaning and purpose. In this meeting, though, I discovered that none of the participants, teachers, parents or administrations, had any idea what some of the document’s terms meant. I’m sure that, had I done a quiz, at least someone in the room would have been able to answer questions about most of the high sounding words and phrases, but it was disturbing that, as to the three phrases I picked at random, no one could answer my questions.

In other words, the document boldly announced a vision for the school’s future, but did not give anyone clear responsibility for implementing that vision, nor did it use intelligible terms explaining what the responsibility party should actually do. Rather than advocating responsibility, the document represented the abandonment of responsibility.

(Let me add here that I’m really poking at the document, not the school itself. Although I had problems last year, this year my children have superior teachers, and are benefiting from everything good this solidly suburban school has to offer. In other words, despite the document’s muddle, the teachers we have this year are doing just fine — and so are my kids. The school is also well run, which means that the administrators are doing their thing too. But back to my points about responsibility…..)

As often happens when I make a diagnosis (to my own satisfaction) about a problem that’s been vexing me, I suddenly see manifestations of the same syndrome all over the place. This morning, I woke to a wonderful article at American Thinker entitled “I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies.” The author is Charles J. Sykes, one of my favorite writers, and someone to whom I give credit for laying the intellectual groundwork that led me to my current neocon world view. In it, Sykes takes issue with the zero tolerance policies that see small children kicked out of public schools for doodling pictures of weapons (or, in the case of the really young, for doodling pictures that a suspicious, one-track adult mind could interpret as weapons). After describing myriad examples of the ridiculous practical effect zero tolerance policies have, Sykes has this to say:

None of this, of course, is really about keeping children safe or even teaching them how to behave: it is about administrators protecting their backsides.

Instead of encouraging children to exercise sound judgment, “zero tolerance” shows adults at their most arbitrary and stupid, especially when it punishes students for doing the right thing.

This is ironic, since these are the folks who are supposed to teach our children “critical thinking skills.” (PS: I also drew pictures of dinosaurs eating people. Shudder.)

In other words, as with so many things that go on in schools today (such as writing unintelligible policy documents), zero tolerance represents the school’s complete unwillingness to think or take responsibility for things. A zero tolerance policy relieves each school teacher or administrator from thinking about the magnitude of the child’s “sin,” or even from thinking about the child at all. It is a way for the school and its employees to avoid responsibility entirely.

I hope the parental worms start turning soon, because we’re creating schools that have bright pictures on the wall, and computers in the classroom, but that are just as bad as, if not worse than, any juvenile hall, complete with lockstep mentality and “zero tolerance.”

UPDATEMichelle Malkin has more on what schools are doing in lieu of stepping up and taking responsibility.

Media people again fail to do their job

Would it surprise any of you to learn that the media’s coverage of the President horse race accords more coverage, and more favorable coverage, to the Democratic candidates? It didn’t surprise me, but it’s still useful to see it in black and white:

Campaign coverage of the 2008 presidential election has been both biased and shallow, according to a study released today by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

One party dominates, and there’s way too much partisan fluff.

Numbers reveal all: Democratic candidates were the subject of half of the 1,742 recent print, broadcast and online news stories analyzed in the research. Republicans garnered 31 percent.

“Overall, Democrats received more positive coverage than Republicans (35 percent of stories versus 26 percent), while Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35 percent versus 26 percent),” the study said.

Just as interesting is the fact that, while the public really, really wants to know about the candidates’ positions on the issues and their voting records during public office, that’s not what they’re getting:

The public pines for substance. A separate survey found that 77 percent of the respondents said they wanted more solid information on candidate policies and ideas. The press did not deliver.

Instead, almost two-thirds of the coverage focused on the “game” of the political horse race and candidate “performance.” Accounts of their marriages, health and religion followed in importance in 17 percent of the stories — with just 15 percent examining domestic and foreign policies. A mere 1 percent shed light on candidates’ public records.

“The press and the public are not on the same page when it comes to priorities in campaign coverage,” the study said. “This disparity indicates there is room for the press to calibrate its coverage differently to make it more useful and possibly more interesting to citizens.”

You can read (and weep over) the rest of the report here.

Hat tip: American Thinker

Should we be worried?

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — The Princess Bride

I attended a meeting at the school today for one of the management committees that sees parents and teachers working together to come up with specific details to implement long term strategic plans.  All of the long term goals and the details are memorialized in a document that was remarkable for its generous use of passive voice and all education jargon.  There is, of course, no reason why I should understand education jargon, because I’m not an educator.  Nevertheless, to the extent I was supposed to vote on the document, it seemed to me that I had an obligation to try to understand what it was talking about.

So, I zeroed in on one phrase and asked “What does this mean?”  There was a moment of complete silence.  Then, one of the teachers said, “I’ve always understood it to mean…” and embarked on a laborious explanation that didn’t mean anything.  Another teacher jumped to her aid with more words, less meaning.  I thanked them.

Another phrase, another question:  “What does this mean?”  More silence.  One of the teachers said, “Well, that’s something we learned when we got our degrees.”  Oh.  “Thank you,” I said, completely unelucidated.

Another phrase and, again, I sought a lay person’s definition.  “Oh, we understand that.”  “Good,” I thought, but I asked myself, “Do you really?”

I asked myself that last question again when everyone in the room assured me (no doubt to stop my questions) that, while parents and teachers collaborated on the plan, it’s purpose was to serve the teachers, and they, in fact, understood it just fine.  But as my questions revealed, the four teachers in the room did not understand at least three terms of art in the document.

The whole thing left me feeling that there is a lot of good will at these meetings, both on the part of educators and parents, but not very much clarity.  I’m with Dennis Prager, in that I prefer clarity to agreement — and I’ve often found that, when people achieve clarity, they do find that they agree, at least about some things.  To me, this meeting was rather pointless, because I didn’t understand what was going on, and I left wondering if anyone else in the room did either.