Politics & Policy

Another Kind of Resistance — from Parents

(Photo: Pongmoji/Dreamstime)
In the Chicago suburbs, parents fight back against radical propaganda in the guise of instruction.

There is no way to prove this, but see if you agree with me: The average American parent would be glad to see his public high school celebrate Martin Luther King Day with tributes to the Civil Rights Movement, lectures on the history of slavery and Jim Crow, and discussions of the challenges faced by blacks and other minorities in America today. Actually, it’s not really a guess, because curricula like that are found throughout the nation.

The program that is being imposed on Winnetka, Ill., by contrast, is hard-left indoctrination that could have come straight from the pages of Howard Zinn. In 2016 it was held on MLK Day itself, but this year’s Seminar Day on race, “Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights,” is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28.

The all-school program will feature a full day of lectures and seminars, and as the title betrays, the slant is built in. As one of the parents who have protested the content noted, civil rights are for everyone, aren’t they? There are no “racial” rights. That was Martin Luther King’s point, or one of them.

New Trier has scheduled two keynote speakers and dozens of seminars for the 4,000 students to choose among. One or two are unobjectionable, like “Black Gospel Music: Make a Joyful Noise!” or “Rap with a Social Conscience” (though much would depend upon which rap was discussed). But the rest of the offerings are thoroughly turgid agitprop. Students can attend a session titled “Seeing the Unseen: The Bias All Around You,” or learn to “recognize our own implicit biases.” They can attend seminars about “cultural appropriation,” “trans people of color navigating the U.S.,” “race, class, and police interactions,” “systemic racism in housing,” “myths” about affirmative action in college admissions, and “21st century voter suppression.”

High-school students usually range in age from 14 to 18, so you might imagine that some care would be taken to avoid speakers whose social media are rife with profanity, racial epithets, and sexual content. No. Political radicalism means all is permitted. John the Author, one of the invited speakers, raps about “Blackenomics,” which includes the following lyrics:

I don’t wanna be king, but I’m the only one ready for it now, Cause all these other niggas selling out, Individualism is all these motherf***ers yelling about

Divide and conquer, white supremacy the silent monster

One might have hoped, in a program dedicated to civil rights and mutual understanding, that the guests themselves might steer clear of racism and anti-Semitism. Kevin Coval’s poem “Occupation,” says this about Israel: “Fascist ones believe in one monotheism, a walled prison, Israelis sleep through the night.” Monica Trinidad will conduct a talk on “We Charge Genocide: An Emergence of a Continued Movement.” Her Twitter feed encourages people to boycott an Israeli dance troupe (“Don’t dance with apartheid!”) with a link to the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) hashtag. She tweeted a picture of mounted police officers with the comment “Get them animals off those horses.”

So, one might suppose that New Trier parents would be enraged. Yet the pushback has been about as polite, substantive, and reasonable as you could possibly wish (especially in our bitter era). On their website, parentsofnewtrier.org, they suggest adding other speakers to achieve — wait for it — intellectual diversity. They note that, in contrast to what the seminars hammer home, people of the same race do not necessarily think alike. Among the speakers the parents group recommends: Shelby Steele, Jason Riley, John McWhorter, and Star Parker.

The parental pushback has been about as polite, substantive, and reasonable as you could possibly wish (especially in our bitter era).

Rather than marinate in doctrinaire leftism heavily inflected with a Black Lives Matter sensibility, the parents object, why not have students volunteer for the day (Chicago is 16 miles south)? The website offers other volunteering suggestions: “Good News Partners (Rogers Park), Connections for the Homeless (Evanston), Pastor Corey Brooks from New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn and ‘ProjectHood.org.’”

Despite multiple requests, school officials have refused every appeal from dismayed parents. No to additional speakers. No to adding another seminar at a later date for different viewpoints. No to requiring that parents sign off on their children’s seminar-panel choices. No to postponing the program until parental input could be considered.

New Trier has very few black students, but the father of one wrote this: “This group [the small group of faculty and students who developed the program] does NOT represent the best of black Americans and does not advocate anything that has a track record of making black lives better.”

These “check your privilege” brainwashing sessions have become commonplace at colleges. Parents don’t seem to know or care enough to protest. The New Trier parents group is a sign that resistance to deadening propaganda is alive and well — and polite.

— Mona Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Copyright © 2017 Creators.com

Most Popular

White House

The Trivialization of Impeachment

We have a serious governance problem. Our system is based on separation of powers, because liberty depends on preventing any component of the state from accumulating too much authority -- that’s how tyrants are born. For the system to work, the components have to be able to check each other: The federal and ... Read More
Elections

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
U.S.

‘Texodus’ Bodes Badly for Republicans

‘I am a classically trained engineer," says Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the regression of our politics from the ... Read More