Phi Beta Cons

High School Burqa Masquerade Mimics Higher Ed

Caitlin Dean, a 15-year-old student at Bacon Academy (a public Connecticut high school) recently participated in a bit of “grievance theater” (staging events so as to provoke negative reactions) by wearing a burqa to school and then reporting racist remarks from her classmates. In the Washington Examiner Winfield Myers says the roots of such incidents lie in “the continuing seepage of the anti-Western cant common in universities into secondary schools” and “the growing habit of baiting Americans in an age that glorifies victimhood.

Caitlin’s stunt was dreamed up by her Middle East studies teacher, Angie Parkinson, who shamelessly sought to “promote her class” by getting students to dress in traditional Arab clothing. (Enrollment indeed went up.) Myers notes that such incidents

aren’t born ex nihilo; they originate . . . at school, where the products of methodology-obsessed education colleges and the left-liberal National Education Association ensure that students are exposed to the very latest pseudo-intellectual fashions from campus . . .

Bacon Academy, like the universities it mimics, boasts chic student organizations that long ago displaced such quaint relics as the Key, Beta, or chess clubs. There’s a Gay-Straight Alliance and a Diversity Club . . .

And just as American history is no longer required at most universities, so another student at Bacon who also wore “traditional Muslim clothing” wishes it would disappear even earlier in the curriculum . . . he “criticized school leaders for replacing world studies in middle school with more American history.”

In Campus Watch Myers further connects this incident to higher education:

The teaching of Middle East studies in high schools too often mirrors university pedagogy, which consistently takes on an advocacy role, thereby substituting indoctrination for education and politicizing the curriculum…When non-Muslims dress in traditional Muslim garb in an effort to show solidarity with Muslims, the premise of their actions draws on this same pedagogy and the more general culture of vicitmization that pervades American universities. It claims, “I know you are oppressed, and I stand with you.” This element of the politicization of higher education helps to explain why non-Muslim women at the University of Missouri at Columbia recently sported scarves as part of the national “Scarves for Solidarity Campaign.”

I.e., monkey see, monkey do.