Washington state wants to make every class ethnic studies. Here’s why that’s wrong.
In FAIR’s Substack, David J. Ferroro writes in opposition to a proposal in Washington state that would require K-12 public schools to teach every academic subject through an ethnic studies lens.
Pointing out the origins and political aims of ethnic studies doesn’t discredit its point of view. But it does remind us that it is a point of view. Despite proponents’ claims, ethnic studies does not promote the teaching of multiple perspectives. It applies a single perspective to teaching about multiple ethnic groups. It is not just social conservatives who object to it. The ethnic studies perspective is contested by reputable scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and rejected by many members of the ethnic and racial groups for whom ethnic studies claims to speak.
Requiring the ethnic studies lens across K-12 learning standards is therefore akin to requiring a feminist or libertarian lens. Those ideologies and others should be taught somewhere in the school curriculum, but they should be taught as rival interpretive frameworks and objects of analysis. None should be enshrined in state learning standards or local curricula as settled doctrine.
Moses in the Midwest
In FAIR’s Substack, FAIR in Medicine Director Carrie Mendoza shares a touching story from her experience as an emergency medicine physician, showing hospital staff “acting as a ‘local Moses’ helping patients on a personal Exodus to better health.” She concludes by connecting the experience to her work with FAIR in Medicine:
FAIR in Medicine is pushing back against this concerning trend by defending our covenant to treat patients as individuals and by standing up for practitioners like Deb who go the extra mile for their patients. The majority of healthcare professionals disagree with prioritizing ideology above our patients. I’m proud that FAIR in Medicine can help to support them in our efforts to restore a medical culture that focuses on individual patients not as ideological pawns but as unique human beings, which is so crucial to a healthcare system that works for everyone.
Moving Beyond the Politics of Pity
For Quillette, FAIR Advisor Erec Smith explains how “the politics of pity” actually ends up harming the groups of people that it is intended to help.
Of course, we should pay attention to those most in need, but what we have now is a kind of “surplus pity” that is perpetuating delusions about the black American condition. Pity as political strategy, if it was ever truly worthwhile, has run its course. Many activists focused on racial justice wonder how they can do their part for Black History Month. Readers of this essay should take on Stewart’s request to determine “what happens when a show of suffering becomes a requirement for political recognition.”
As Black educators, we endorse classical studies
For the Washington Post, Angel Adams Parham and Anika Prather argue that classical education can benefit students from all backgrounds.
We see how the students we teach today combine the challenges and riches of their own lives with insights from classic literature. So: Down with classics and classical education? Not while we have the chance to invite our students to inhabit its crossroads and engage as interlocutors in its conversations with Plato, Averroes, Fibonacci, Wheatley and many more. These are our real teachers, and we submit that we all have much to learn from them.
Biden’s OMB Plans to Divide America Into More Racial Groups
For the Wall Street Journal, John F. Early argues that a proposed change to how U.S. agencies collect and publish data on race and ethnicity is “focused on being able to control, reward and punish the population by racial classification.”
The proposal would increase the number of primary racial groups for data collection to seven from five. First, it would split the current category of “white” into two—one called “white” for people with European ancestry and another called “Middle East and North Africa,” or MENA. Second, it would redefine “Hispanic”—currently an independent ethnic classification—as a race. That yields seven races: white, black, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and MENA. Respondents to government surveys or forms would be asked to select one or more races from the list. This would replace the current method by which people are first asked whether they are “Hispanic or Latino,” and then asked to select races from the original five options.
‘Cancelled’ choreographer Rosie Kay: ‘In a culture of fear you can’t make art’
In The Telegraph, Alex Diggins profiles FAIR Advisor Rosie Kay and her new dancer troupe, 5 Soldiers, which is touring the UK now.
Kay set about crowdfunding support for her new company K2C0, and created a “Freedom of Expression Charter”. It promises her workplace will be a “safe space where we are free to express our thoughts and feelings without fear of being silenced, shut down or cancelled”, and those she works with will be encouraged to sign. “What’s the alternative? That I’d be terrified and keep quiet and not speak out? We need the rebels – we’re the resistance,” says Kay, 46, who has now raised enough money to tour a new production of 5 Soldiers, the 2010 piece that launched her career as a choreographer. It follows a troop of infantry squaddies from training through to deployment – and then, in a final, shattering sequence, the aftermath of an IED attack.
While her 2020 production was performed by four men and one woman, the new work includes two women in the cast, with one, crucially, playing the senior commanding officer.
“It felt like the right piece to come back with,” Kay explains, as RAF gunners clank and bustle about the Chinook hanger where we’re meeting outside Oxford. “It’s light and quick to get back up on its feet. It’s deep and it’s real.” When Kay first began researching the piece in 2009, she expected some hostility from the military. “But what surprised me was the hostility from the arts world – the implication was that even by looking at the military, you must be Right-wing.”
FAIR News Podcast
Join the FAIR Community
Take the Pro-Human Pledge and help promote a common culture based on fairness, understanding, and humanity.
Support FAIR and the pro-human movement with a tax-deductible donation.
Share your reviews and inform our legal team of incidents on our FAIR Transparency website.