Quite a few years ago, college officials figured out that they could get a head start on their project of making students “woke” if they used the summer reading assignment (the “beach book”) for that purpose. Out went anything classic or merely politically neutral in favor of current books designed to elicit leftist sympathies. (You’ll never find a book assignment that might cause the student to doubt that more government control is a good idea.)
In today’s Martin Center article, Chris West looks at the books chosen this year in North Carolina. He writes:
Half of the assigned readings at UNC schools and many at the state’s private institutions focus on the hot political topics of race and refugees. These readings do not prepare students for life as college freshmen; instead, they prime students for embracing a progressive conception of social justice.
Students at UNC-Charlotte will read Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream, ‘a story about education, immigration, race, Americanness’ and ‘a feel-good tale’ that ‘will spark discussions of systemic inequalities and cultural diversity,’ according to the university.
However, there’s one book that seems to be a good choice:
Western Carolina University’s assigned reading seems to be one of the few defensible choices in the UNC system. Celeste Headlee’s We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter ‘is about mastering the art of civil discourse’ and aims to model difficult conversations that are necessary in a collegiate environment. Asking students to read it might actually help them succeed in college.
Yes, it might. Other colleges ought to be encouraged to choose that book and forget about trying to make ideological points.