Many who complain about today's universities -- those "safe space" "day care centers" obsessed with political correctness -- may not realize that Millennials enter college having already been steeped in that same ideology throughout their childhoods.
Education has become watered down at all stages, thanks to teachers who shoehorn regressive, liberal narratives into their curriculums and limiting any form of dissent. In other words, the brainwashing begins early.
I know this from personal experience.
In seventh grade, my classmates and I were introduced to the concept of feminism by an English teacher I’ll refer to as Mr. Abram. Mr. Abram was roughly 55 at the time and really just couldn’t get enough of the women’s movement. (I should note that this was 2003, not 1973.) Over the course of four semesters, we learned about female pioneers whose accomplishments had been downgraded as a result of sexism. And nothing Mr. Abram told us was incorrect. It truly was educational. But this was an English class. There was never any mention of Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, or anyone else who might have been, you know, relevant to the curriculum.
Everyone in my class noticed this but dismissed it as a weird quirk of Mr. Abram’s. What’s perhaps more intriguing, in hindsight, was that he rarely ever brushed upon the history of other marginalized groups. One day, a black student named Julian tried to equate Tupac Shakur to one of the many female movers-and-shakers Mr. Abram had been harping on about. The result? He was promptly shut down. When Julian and two other black students took issue with this, Mr. Abram and his pale, sweat-screened face quickly changed the subject and brought it back to the ladies. (Before the year was over, Mr. Abram would reveal that he partook in racist bullying in the 1960s, because “it was part of the time.”)
Fast-forward eight years and a high school diploma later and I, along with many other college students, found ourselves in mandatory "elective" courses dealing with gender and discrimination, in which everything we we heard had already been covered in both high school and middle school.
It wasn’t worth doling out well over a thousand dollars a course to learn more of the same.
Not to mention that at least one of the classes – "Men & Masculinity" (taught by the same professor who covered "Twenty-First Century Feminism") -- had little to do with its stated subject. The professor carried her ideologies into it and, instead of helping us understand why males act the way they do, the course turned into "Why Masculinity is Harmful to Society."
In "Ecofeminism: Philosophy & Practice," we gradually drifted into the topic of racism. In the 2014 film Dear White People, Tessa Thompson’s character Sam informs her dean that black people cannot be racist because racism is power and prejudice. The same thing occurred in my class – but replace Tessa Thompson with a middle aged white woman and the dean with me, a then twenty-one year old, pasty-faced Greek zilch. It was like an ethnically bland special episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
This was not my first encounter with the rebranding of racism as "power and prejudice" but it was the first time I had stumbled upon its origin. Having actually read the textbook, I was informed that feminist author and activist Peggy McIntosh—a white lady—had taken it upon herself to overrule Webster’s Dictionary and its definition of racism -- that is, "hatred of, or violence against, people because of their race." McIntosh had instead tailored the definition to fit her white guilt complex. In her world, racial minorities were incapable of bigotry.
So when my Ecofeminism professor argued that only white people could be racist, I brought up an example from my old neighborhood, where an Asian housing director had been demoted for turning away a disproportionate number of low-income black and Hispanic families.
My professor’s response? That that had been an act of... "white supremacy."
I had similar experiences with other professors. When feminism was discussed, it had to be about western feminism. If you dared bring up, say, clitoral circumcision in Yemen or the inordinate amount of violence against women in India, Russia, or Sudan, this would immediately be ignored in favour of discussing cat calling and high-heeled shoes. One professor reassured me that, "Many activists are taking care of" whatever non-western atrocities I'd mentioned. Another just said, "It’s their culture."
Again, this is what we were paying nearly $20,000 a year for.
My experiences are far from unique. There is an ever-present shallowness to the way these topics are handled in our schools at every level. If you challenge this ideology, you're accused of prejudice and ignorance. We have too many "educators" who have ideology at the forefront of their brains, and real education at the back. This in turn has stifled students' ability to learn.
Teachers should be like scientists: Unless they’re presenting philosophical ideas in an appropriate forum, they should align themselves with facts. The goal of education is supposedly to expand minds, not to obstruct thinking and debate. Until this mindset is dealt with head on, we’re doomed to a future society founded on assuming the worst in people and limiting constructive social analysis.
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