The fall semester has just begun in California. It’s pretty much all online, distance learning. This has been enormously helpful – in an awakening kind of way – for parents, also still stuck at home, to observe the increasingly anti-American, antisemitic, and frankly Marxist curricula being force-fed to their children. The flagship courses for that indoctrination go under the label of “ethnic studies”. Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a bill into law on 17 August 2020 that makes an ethnic studies course a requirement for graduation from any California State University, beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year. Lest anyone think that ethnic studies in California will be just a broad-based neutral overview of American diversity (the E Pluribus Unum kind), a look at what is actually contained in such curricula already this year will be instructive.
Let us begin by recalling what former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen told us about Communist Goals for America back in 1958, the year he published “The Naked Communist”. The content of that book, and especially those 45 Goals found in Chapter 13, were compiled from testimony by former Communists before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Subcommittee and the counterpart House on Unamerican Activities Committee in the 1950s. Number 17 of that list of Communist Goals for America stated: “Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.”
Now, fast forward to the English 9 Ethnic Studies curriculum for the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) at the high school level. The colorful syllabus for the course was sent to students as a Power Point in mid-August 2020. In the first slide, an image of a cheerful “Ms. Powers,” who wears sneakers and a T-shirt with the black power-communist fist salute, waves to the students in front of a backdrop that features the Black Lives Matter logo and a rainbow flag. In the next slide, she tells the students a bit about herself: “My name is Nicole Powers. I am a bi-racial, Asian-American cisgender female who uses she/her/ella pronouns.”
Below the introductory slide are listed the “Units of Study” for the August-December 2020 semester. Week One is devoted to “Community Building”. Weeks 2-5 are about “My Place in the Community.” Weeks 6-9 are dedicated to “Protest.” (The syllabus doesn’t specify if that will include extracurricular activities on-site in Chicago, Portland, or other field trip location.) Weeks 10-12 are for “Intersectionality,” and Weeks 13-15 are about “Stereotypes and Internalized Racism.” Yes, this is an English class. But don’t be too sure about any actual “English language” content.
The Conference on College Composition and Communication, which is part of the National Council of Teachers of English, released a document in July 2020 that demands something called “Black Linguistic Justice.” Its rallying cry, apparently in its preferred style of “English” states: “This Ain’t Another Statement! This is a DEMAND for Black Linguistic Justice! PeriodT!” [sic]. Among its demands are that “teachers stop using academic language and standard English as the accepted communicative norm, which reflects White Mainstream English!” and “…teach Black students about anti-Black linguistic racism and white linguistic supremacy instead!”.
Back in Santa Barbara, it seems they have taken that cri de coeur to heart (as it were) with images of several books the English 9 Ethnic Studies class will be reading. One of them is entitled “If I Was [sic] Your Girl”, by Meredith Russo. It’s about a “girl” who used to be a boy at her old school. “Moby Dick,” “The Deerslayer”, and “Wuthering Heights” are not to be seen. But “A Young People’s History of the United States,” by the communist Howard Zinn is there. So is “A Queer History of the United States for Young People” by Michael Bronski. The Fall 2020 Semester Course Outline delves into topics like “beneficiaries of privilege” in society, the “role of protest in society,” “Intersectionality”, “Stereotypes,” and “Social Justice.” A student writing guide instructs them to describe ways they are privileged or oppressed; concepts of race, and cultural and social identity; and, what it means to be an American and whether there is an American culture.
So, where did all this come from?
A good place to look is the online Black Lives Matter Resource Guide as published at the website of a group called “The Peahce Project.” (No, that’s not a typo.) Its list of resource categories includes: “White Privilege,” “Police Brutality,” “Intersectionality,” “Feminism,” “LGBTQ+,” “History of Slavery/Racism,” “Asian Allyship,” “Anti-Racism,” “How Media Affects Our Perspective,” and “White Privilege.” If it sounds familiar, it should. There are articles, books, and videos listed for each category.
And just to be sure that everyone understands under whose domination our schools now operate, there’s this. The Vermont Essex Westford School District Board voted unanimously in early August 2020 that all of its schools will fly a Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag throughout the 2020-2021 school year. The BLM flag will fly alongside LGBTQ flags. No mention of whether an American flag or Vermont State flag will also be flown.
Parents and other community members in Vermont as well as the Santa Barbara Unified School District are none too pleased. A group called “Fair Education Santa Barbara” that was formed in 2019 to counter this sort of Critical Race Theory, divisive identity politics, and implicit-bias training has argued in a series of court declarations that such training is not only divisive, but “discriminatory toward white people, men and Christians.” The group, with growing support from Santa Barbara families, argues that this curriculum has been promoted under contract with the SBUSD by an organization called Just Communities. Unfortunately, an Ethnic Studies Community Forum that was planned for 4 August 2020, and would have given a platform for families’ concerns to be heard, was postponed indefinitely.
One set of parents summed up their dismay this way: “We were horrified to see a dangerously deceptive, radical political agenda disguised as an English + Ethnic Studies class. The SBUSD is deceitfully and purposefully recruiting our children behind our backs with symbols of communist hate. We are in disbelief that four weeks of this class focuses on “Protest” followed by three weeks of “Intersectionality.” Clearly, they are recruiting our sweet, innocent children for radical rioting like we see it Seattle and Portland and grooming them for lawlessness behind portals made accessible only to the students.”
Now, multiply that many times over for those parents who are likewise concerned but do not (yet) speak out. Until then, others must be their voices.
Clare M. Lopez is the Founder/President of Lopez Liberty LLC