Rights for All? Transformative SEL’s Divisive Worldview
For FAIR’s Substack, Judith Sears writes about the evolution of social-emotional learning.
Incorporating current anti-racism or social justice formulations into standard curricula under the guise of the character-forming role of education is deeply problematic for a number of reasons. First, as Helen Pluckrose has observed, people can oppose racism for a variety of reasons. Some might oppose racism out of their religious belief that all people are children of God. Others might espouse classical liberal beliefs that all people should be treated as individuals regardless of cultural, racial, or class categories. A Marxist might fight racism because it obscures the reality of class divisions. In a pluralistic society, a public school district that teaches students that there is only one way to be anti-racist is not only wrong, but it also makes it more difficult to reach every student and convince them of the virtues of being anti-racist.
On Race and Academia
For The New York Times, FAIR Advisor John McWhorter writes about how his experiences in academia impacted his views about affirmative action.
Of course, not everyone endeavors this Sisyphean task, and the culture I refer to has a way of ensuring others don’t have to. There is a widespread cultural assumption in academia that Black people are valuable as much, if not more, for our sheer presence as for the rigor of what we actually do. Thus, it is unnecessary to subject us to top-level standards. This leads to things happening too often that are never written as explicit directives but are consonant with the general cultural agenda: people granted tenure with nothing approaching the publishing records of other candidates, or celebrated more for their sociopolitical orientations than for their research.
I had uncomfortable experiences on the other side of the process as well. In the 1990s, I was on some graduate admissions committees at the university where I then taught. It was apparent to me that, under the existing cultural directive to, as we have discussed, take race into account, Black and Latino applicants were expected to be much more readily accepted than others.
My conversion therapy
For the LGBT Courage Coaltion, FAIR Advisor Lisa Selin Davis writes about how her perspective on transgender issues has recently evolved.
From that moment of awakening, I allowed myself to look at the mountains of disruptive evidence that I had blinded myself to in years before. Once I saw it, I couldn’t look away. The mainstream media narrative about conversion therapy, detransitioners, puberty blockers, trans kids—it’s all deeply distorted and leaves out information that every person—especially every gender dysphoric kid and parent of one—deserves to know.
One reason so many gay and lesbian adults are concerned about the medical treatment of gender dysphoric youth is that they experienced that condition as children. Like so many, they grew out of it, and later identified as gay. There is overlap between childhood GD, and childhood gender nonconformity, and later homosexuality; thus they see these medical interventions as a kind of conversion therapy. The media and medical community’s refusal to acknowledge that has left a generation misinformed. The left wing, and especially the left and center press, have gotten this story very, very wrong.
Dystopian Fiction Becomes Reality in France
For The Atlantic, FAIR Advisor Thomas Chatterton Williams writes about the recent outbreak of protests in France over the death of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent.
Since the Lyon riots in the early 1980s—which led to the 1983 March for Equality and Against Racism, widely viewed as a civil-rights turning point for the country’s Muslim minority—no riots in France have led to anything like a productive political movement. “It seems as if the neighborhoods exist in a political void, as if the anger and revolts do not lead to any political process, as if the elected officials comment on events rather than convey the anger,” the sociologist Francois Dubet told Le Monde. This is what he calls “violence and silence,” taking Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous formulation of rioting as the language of the unheard one step further: In France today, rioting is the language of the mute.
The Hypocrisy of Mandatory Diversity Statements
For The Atlantic, Conor Friedsdorf writes about how demanding that everyone embrace the same values will inevitably narrow the pool of applicants who work and get hired in higher education.
That theory of how diversity works is worth taking seriously. Still, it is just a theory. I am a proponent of a diverse University of California, but I believe that its students would better thrive across identity groups in a culture of charity, forbearance, and individualism. A Marxist might regard solidarity as vital. A conservative might emphasize the importance of personal virtue, an appreciation of every institution’s imperfectability, and the assimilation of all students to a culture of rigorous truth-seeking. Many Californians of all identities believe in treating everyone equally regardless of their race or their gender.
Homophobia in Drag
For the LGBT Courage Coalition, Ben Appel writes about how gender ideology has breathed new life into a dark, old prejudice.
I began to fear we had reached a point of no return a couple of years ago, during a conversation I had with a supposedly ‘progressive’ friend. I told her that, if I had been a young boy now, I likely would have been prescribed puberty blockers and gone on to medically transition. ‘And you don’t think you would’ve been happy as a transwoman?’, she asked me. Her question left me speechless. I couldn’t find the words to state the obvious: that I am a gay man, not a transwoman; that statistics tell me my medical transition may not have been successful; and that I would suffer severe medical complications. In any case, if I had transitioned, I wouldn’t be living an authentic life. After all, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about? Living authentically?
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