Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Progressive Condemnation of the Sin of “Racism” in Public Education

Sunday, June 1, 2014, 14:44
This news item was posted in Education category.
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The great “sin” projected by the Progressive thinking of our day in American public education is what they call “racism”.  But what is racism?  Racism is a bad thing and should be rejected.  But it has become a straw man set up to excuse the failures in contemporary public education. This relates all the way from early learning to and through college—the head start shortcomings to the lowering of standards to accommodate college athletes.  And it can be argued that it has been set up in ways that are harmful to all races and people in the long run.  It can as well be argued that the Progressive constant condemnation of “racism” has become an excuse for promoting mediocrity in our public schools, just as the practice of reverse discrimination in college admission standards has lowered academic achievement.

The word “racism” is a noun that is defined as, “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”  It is evidenced in prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

There are general differences in academic achievement between all races, but this is not necessarily at all to blame it when it is low on prejudice or racism and neither when high credited in respect to certain genetic backgrounds.  There are innumerable factors that can effect failures in learning with much of it now relating to the general intellectual indolence of American populace, increasingly spreading among all races.  There are high achievers in every race, as well as low, but suffering from “racism” in contemporary schooling is not a primary reason for low achievement in present day American education!

Wikipedia elaborates on the term in a much more extensive way than just the simple dictionary definition by saying that:  “Racism is actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently. While most conceptualizations of racism include the notion of ‘race based discrimination’, the exact definition is controversial both because there is little scholarly agreement about the meaning of the concept ‘race’, and because there is also little agreement about what does and does not constitute discrimination.”

Some definitions of racism consider that any assumption that a person’s behavior would be influenced by their racial categorization is inherently racist, however, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful or derogatory, because stereotyping necessarily subordinates individual identity to group identity.  Furthermore, being biased toward a race is the other side of racism, and it is just as negative.

May 17, 2014, was the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that ended legalized racial segregation in United States public schools. Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas) overturned an 1896 case known as Plessy v. Ferguson, which ratified the “separate but equal” doctrine that allowed that, as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But the Warren court changed that, and schools were integrated.  Chief Justice Earl Warren made the statement:  “In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunities of an education.  Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available on equal terms.”

However, Warren was but repeating a standard set about two millennia ago, when the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 that,  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Up in verse twenty-five, three verses before, it says:  “But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”, which can support applying the Galatians 3:28 to an educational context, not to say it does not apply to many other innumerable contexts. Galatians 3:28 obliterates “racism” in the body of Christ, the Church, and it sets a pattern for all, as the Christian foundation of our society was the groundwork for the affirmation of “equality” for all,  equal rights “endowed by their Creator”, as the Declaration of Independence states.

It can be argued that the straw man, “Racism”, a term which is often used in confusing ways, has been set up in ways that are harmful to all races and people in the long run.  Integration of the public schools was a most positive step, not only in offering equal education to all, but also in promoting cross cultural understanding.  However, in this process we see the Progressive mentality has shifted the focus to stressing “rights” that promote often irresponsibility over “righteousness” which promotes responsibility, so much so that many have described public schools as the “blackboard jungle.”

Chelsea Schilling wrote an article, “Claim: Christians sin by putting kids in public school” (WND, May 18, 2014) where she says that we are feeding the monster for keeping our children there. The public school system has become the domain of the Democratic left (supported by the Progressive ideologies), and it has fundamentally changed American culture because it has successfully indoctrinated five or six generations of U.S. children into their world view (a world view much in conflict with the world view of Christianity).  The Bible speaks well to this saying that “In the last days men shall be ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).

The Progressives, although many would deny it, tend to look to Marxism as the true philosophy of man and his history.   To them the triumph of the proletariat, the working class, will bring with it the triumph of man in general. “Racism” has been a tool from their perspective that has and is being used in this class struggle, and the goal is to eliminate capitalism, which has created it, so that we all may share equally in all things.  Blacks and Hispanics are generally more so in lower in socio-economic status including academic achievement, and to correct this the Progressives attack the straw man “Racism” as a means to this goal.

The salvation of man for the Progressives is to be achieved by a type of proletarian revolution.  One of the villains to conquer is that of “racism”, which they say has been promoted by the bourgeoisie or controlling class and part of this understanding relates to education in the Public schools.

Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, in a speech following the March 2013 March on Washington commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Right Movement stressed that minorities should not place “undue emphasis” on their heritage, and urged all Americans to resist “the politically correct” trend of changing the melting pot into a salad bowl” comprised of proudly ethnic identities.   Dr. Ben Carson, a leading black physician who many are seeking to be a Presidential candidate spoke of political correctness”, as “being dangerous and as being a hindrance to progress, as it divides our nation. It keeps us from solving problems and healing America.” (Ben Carson, “A Trustworthy Conservative”).

Jindal insisted that, “while racism still rears its ugly head from time to time” since Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream” speech, the major race problem facing modern America is that minorities are too focused on their “separateness”.  Jindal, of Asian/Indian descent, felt that westill place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc. He said, “We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few.  Here’s an idea: How about just ‘Americans’?”

He said, “There is nothing wrong with people being proud of their different heritages. We have a long tradition of folks from all different backgrounds incorporating their traditions into the American experience, but we must resist the politically correct trend of changing the melting pot into a salad bowl. E pluribus Unum.”  (“Bobby Jindal Blames Racial Inequality On Minorities Being Too Proud of Their Heritages” by Aviva Shen, August 25, 21013).

The “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. to the NAACP to which Jindal referred was given on August 28, 1963.  At the core of Dr. King’s speech was his dream of a world in which people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by “the content of their character.” Judging individuals by their individual character is at the opposite pole from judging how groups are statistically represented among employees, college students, or political figures. Yet many — if not most — of those who celebrate the “I have a dream” speech today promote the directly opposite approach of group preferences, especially those based on skin color.

King’s dream seems to have been to judge people as individuals, not as categories, which is very much the opposite of the Progressive approach of our time.  Many of them— if not most — of those who celebrate the “I have a dream” speech today promote the directly opposite approach by stressing group preferences, especially those based on skin color rallying against what they call “Racism”.   Furthermore, does it register for them that a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted in Congress for both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965?  But the Progressives in education still sound that call of “Racism” and fail to cultivate the establishment of individual character as a primary part of education. If the focus was on building character rather than the constant accusations about “racism”, the educational environment would greatly improve!

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by Joe Renfro, Ed.D., Educational Columnist, Radio Evangelist, Retired Teacher and Pastor, 5931 West Avenue, Lavonia, Georgia 30553,  706-356-4173, joerenfro@windstream.net

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