#DisruptTexts: The Purging of Classic Literature from Schools

by Christopher Paslay

The celebration of one group should not depend on the disruption of another, as true wisdom and knowledge are not zero-sum.

Meghan Cox Gurdon, the Wall Street Journal’s children’s book critic, recently wrote an article titled “Even Homer Gets Mobbed,” about an educational movement called #DisruptTexts, which Gurdon describes as a “sustained effort” to “deny children access to literature,” which is encouraging schoolteachers to “purge” and “propagandize” classic pieces of literature. 

“The subtle complexities of literature are being reduced to the crude clanking of ‘intersectional’ power struggles,” Gurdon writes, and explains how Seattle English teacher Evin Shinn tweeted in 2018 that he’d “rather die” than teach “The Scarlet Letter,” unless Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is used to “fight against misogyny and slut-shaming.”

Gurdon’s article also mentioned how Heather Levine, a Massachusetts English teacher from Lawrence High School, bragged on twitter about how her school got rid of Homer’s Odyssey.

“Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from our curriculum last year!” Levine tweeted. Gurdon contacted Levine for comment, but Levine replied that she found the inquiry “invasive.”

For the record, Lawrence High School has officially denied removing the Odyssey from their curriculum Thursday on Fox News, and has stated that they do incorporate classic texts into their reading lists — which puts the school at odds with what is being stated publicly by one of their own English teachers. 

Despite Lawrence High School denying removing the Odyssey from their school, #DisruptTexts is still gaining traction across America. 

What exactly is #DisruptTexts? According to their website:

Disrupt Texts is a crowdsourced, grass roots effort by teachers for teachers to challenge the traditional canon in order to create a more inclusive, representative, and equitable language arts curriculum that our students deserve. It is part of our mission to aid and develop teachers committed to anti-racist/anti-bias teaching pedagogy and practices.

In short, it’s identity politics fueled by polarizing Critical Race Theory.

One of the founding members of Disrupt Texts is Tricia Ebarvia, who is currently an English teacher at Conestoga High School, PA, — which is right outside of Philadelphia — where she has taught world literature, American literature, and AP Lit, among other subjects; her resume is quite impressive. 

She wrote an article last year for the International Literacy Association titled, “Disrupting Your Texts: Why Simply Including Diverse Voices Is Not Enough,” where she encourages English teachers to “disrupt texts” by dumping lesson plans based on universal themes in literature, and adopting activities that racialize classic novels and teach students to view such texts through the lens of racism and white oppression.

In the article Ebarvia asks literature teachers to “resist colorblind readings of texts,” to “consider the role that race and whiteness have played in your own socialization, particularly around your beliefs about schooling,” and to “begin with the premise that public schools never intended to educate all children equally and look for the ways in which this holds true today.”

She states that “curriculum has never been neutral, but always ideological,” and ironically, her remedy isn’t to eliminate political ideology by focusing on concrete skills and universal themes that unify the races, but by injecting more political ideology into the lesson, ideology rooted in zero-sum identity politics.

The movement to “disrupt texts,” like modern anti-racism, comes from a place of breaking things down, not building them up. Notice the movement isn’t pro, but anti. Notice it doesn’t call for cooperation, but for disruption.  This is the fundamental difference between classic multiculturalism — which aims to bring diversity through celebration — and modern anti-racism — which aims to root out so-called “whiteness” by polarizing students and teachers by race and dividing them into tribal camps: inherently racist privileged whites on one side, and victimized and oppressed people of color on the other.

Such approaches may be one reason why the international performance gap in education between the United States and the rest of the world is widening. The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a test administered every three years that measures what fifteen-year-old students have learned in math, reading, and science. According to an article in US News & World Report, American researchers were troubled “that 30 countries scored higher than U.S. students in math and that the performance gap between top-performing and lower-performing students is widening, especially in reading.”

In April, Rowman & Littlefield is releasing my new book, titled, Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America’s Schools, where I use both existing research and anecdotal classroom observations to reveal how the use of things like white fragility theory and anti-racism are having unintended negative impacts on our schools and classrooms; I also briefly examine the #DisruptTexts movement as well.  

Anyone who is concerned about critical race theory and the indoctrination of our students in identity politics should read the book, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Educators should not be “disrupting texts” in our children’s schools. The racialization of classic literature is misguided, and although the movement may have good intentions, we should base instruction around synergy, not dichotomy. The celebration of one group should not depend on the disruption of another, as true wisdom and knowledge are not zero-sum. Let’s cooperate and celebrate, not accuse and cancel. Instead of focusing on superficial skin color, let’s use the universal themes found in classic literature — like courage, friendship, and redemption — to bring us together, and make our students critical thinkers and upstanding future citizens.  

Mom Sues Democracy Prep School For ‘Ideological Indoctrination’

by Christopher Paslay

A mother sues a Las Vegas charter school after critical race theory and intersectionality create a hostile environment in her son’s classroom. 

It appears that the push to indoctrinate American students with polarizing identity politics has finally gone too far. According to an article in the Epoch Times:

A high school senior of mixed race is suing a taxpayer-funded charter school in Nevada over the “coercive, ideological indoctrination” that is central to its Critical Race Theory-based curriculum that forces students to associate aspects of their identity with oppression.

In the lawsuit, Clark v. State Public Charter School Authority, filed Dec. 22 in federal court in Nevada, the young plaintiff William Clark and his mother Gabrielle Clark claim their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated. Students were allegedly told that by refusing to identify with an oppressive group, they were exercising their privilege or underscoring their role as an oppressor. . . .

The new curriculum “inserted consciousness raising and conditioning exercises under the banner of ‘Intersectionality’ and ‘Critical Race Theory.’ These sessions … are not descriptive or informational in nature, but normative and prescriptive: they require pupils to ‘unlearn’ and ‘fight back’ against ‘oppressive’ structures allegedly implicit in their family arrangements, religious beliefs and practices, racial, sexual, and gender identities, all of which they are required to divulge and subject to non-private interrogation.”

William was directed “in class to ‘unlearn’ the basic Judeo-Christian principles [his mother] imparted to him, and then [the school] retaliated against [him].”

“Some racial, sexual, gender and religious identities, once revealed,” the complaint states, “are officially singled out in the programming as inherently problematic, and assigned pejorative moral attributes by Defendants.”

The lawsuit, filed by Attorney Jonathan O-Brien in association with Schoolhouse Rights, can be found here. The suit involves “compelled speech” and alleges violation of the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (Due Process: Invasion of Privacy & Equal Protection), among other counts. 

With critical race theory and intersectionality becoming more contentious and invasive, any student, parent, or other member of the education community who feels they’ve been subject to a hostile environment is encouraged to speak out and report the incident. This includes being stereotyped and publicly judged by race, religion, gender, or sexuality — or being compelled to accept or submit to derogatory labels such as “privileged” or “oppressed,” or of suffering from “internalized superiority” or “internalized oppression,” or of being forced to publicly state race or use so-called “gender pronouns.” 

Resources to help students, parents, and educational community members speak out include:

  • Fair Education, a non-profit corporation formed to advocate for our children, students, and teachers in our public schools and universities
  • No Left Turn in Education, a grassroots organization which aims to revive in American public education the fundamental discipline of critical and active thinking which is based on facts, investigation, logic and sound reasoning

For those families who have children in schools like Democracy Prep, who mean well and want social justice, ask yourselves this: 

Do you want your child treated as a person, or as an identity group? 

Do you want your child’s teachers to stereotype them by race, or communicate with them as individuals? 

Do you want your child educated with academic skills, or indoctrinated with identity politics?

Do you want your child to develop into a free thinking American citizen, or an aggrieved political activist? 

Do you want your child to embrace the love and compassion of MLK, or the anger and resentment of BLM?

Think about that for a moment. If you answered the former for most of the questions, it might be time to speak out against the kind of racialized indoctrination taking place in schools like Democracy Prep.

Racial Reeducation at The Dalton School

by Christopher Paslay

It’s time to speak out against the kind of racialized indoctrination taking place in schools like Dalton. 

The Dalton School, an elite private school in Manhattan, is under siege from two separate factions. On one side are parents who are quite unhappy that the pricey school has still not opened for in-person learning, and are calling for kids to get off their computers and head back to the classroom. 

“Our children are sad, confused and isolated, questioning why everyone around them gets to go to school when they do not,” parents wrote in a petition.

On the other side are Dalton’s teachers, who also signed and circulated a letter. But the teachers’ letter has nothing to do with returning to school to make sure students do not fall behind their peers in terms of academic skills. The demands recently proposed by the Dalton teachers are centered on indoctrinating students in anti-racist politics, and call for policies and programs that divide children by identity group, labeling some as “privileged” and others as “oppressed,” demands that seek to dismantle oppressive “whiteness” in an effort to end racial inequality.    

On the surface, this is well-meaning. Most people want fairness and racial justice, and are willing to actively support efforts to bring about such change. 

But under the surface — when you look past the noble-sounding words and phrases —there’s a much larger agenda at work. These groups want to indoctrinate not educate — teach children what to think, not how to think — so they can stamp out any resistance or disagreement, any challenge to their racialized, ideological worldview. It’s about telling people what they are allowed to say and think, how they are allowed to live and act, who they are supposed to support and vote for. 

What is happening at the Dalton School, and a dozen other elite prep schools in New York, is not new. The teachers — who are “inspired” by political activist groups like BLM — use a Marxist playbook that’s been around for decades. The playbook can be summed up in 6 steps: 

1. Manipulate. Take advantage of well-meaning people by exploiting their guilt and/or inexperience in matters of race and race relations. 

2. Project.  Use the Evergreen State College model of creating a perceived grievance by projecting a narrative of out-of-control racism, be it personal or systemic; the actual existence of this racism isn’t important, so long as the perception of it is accepted as truth.  

3. Organize. Use Marxist activist organizations, such as Black Lives Matter, as role models, and build so-called “parent” and “student” groups around carefully worded yet politically loaded agendas. 

4. Make Demands. Instead of cooperation or collaboration, demand changes be made along racial and political lines, stereotyping entire groups of people and polarizing them into divisive camps based on race and other identities.  

5. Bully and Intimidate. Use media, agitation propaganda, and other types of protest and political theatre to force compliance with stated demands. Label anyone who disagrees a “racist,” or accuse them of the latest social justice buzz phrase such as “white fragility.” 

6. Take Control. Open the coffers and receive the donations, the positions, the power and political capital. 

As the old saying goes: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Identity politics is not teaching our children how to fish, but how to demand fish. And demanding fish is much different from doing the fishing yourself: it creates a permanent need for a middleman — the dependency on a political group. True self-empowerment frees an individual from the bonds of the collective identity, which is why such activist organizations rail against individualism.           

For those families who have children in schools like Dalton, who mean well and want social justice, ask yourselves this: Do you want your child treated as a person, or as an identity group? 

Do you want your child’s teachers to stereotype them by race, or communicate with them as individuals? 

Do you want your child educated with academic skills, or indoctrinated with identity politics?

Do you want your child to develop into a free thinking American citizen, or an aggrieved political activist? 

Do you want your child to embrace the love and compassion of MLK, or the anger and resentment of BLM?

If you answered the former for most of the questions, it might be time to speak out against the kind of racialized indoctrination taking place in schools like Dalton.

Seattle Public Schools: Indoctrinating Teachers in PC Racism

This video presents whistleblower documents from Seattle Public Schools, which, according to an article published in the New York Post by Christopher F. Rufo, “held a racially charged teacher-training session that convicted US schools of committing ‘spirit murder’ against black kids and demanded that white teachers ‘bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgment of [their] thieved inheritance.’ 

The video also compares true instructional equity models — like the ones being used in the School District of Philadelphia, which focus on giving all students access to rigorus, grade-level instruction — with those in Seattle, which aim to indoctrinate students in polarizing identity politics in an effort to make them antiracist activists. 

Here’s a link to the Rufo story, “Indoctrinating an entire school system in PC racism.” Thanks for watching!

Ibram X. Kendi, Academic Lightweight

How to Be an Antiracist author Ibram X. Kendi gets called out by Black Ivy League professors Glenn Loury and John McWhorter for being overly simplistic and thin-skinned. Loury and McWhorter argue that Kendi’s work lacks academic rigor, and hasn’t faced any legitimate criticism because of political correctness. Loury insists Kendi is an academic “lightweight,” and McWhorter, whom Kendi called a “racist” on Twitter, feels Kendi uses the race card to deflect criticism and hide from any real scholarly debate.

The above video provides highlights from the 11/27/20 episode of the Glenn Show, where Loury and McWhorter call out Kendi. Thanks for watching. 

Heritage Foundation Slams Critical Race Theory in New Report

The Heritage Foundation just released a new report titled “Critical Race Theory, the New Intolerance, and It’s Grip on America,” which criticizes the concept for underpinning identity politics, and “normalizing” belief in systemic racism for the average American. 

Here’s the report’s summary:

Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life—and do so with a degree of persistence that has helped CRT impact all of American life. CRT underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization. In entertainment, as well as the education and workforce sectors of society, CRT is well-established, driving decision-making according to skin color—not individual value and talent. As Critical Theory ideas become more familiar to the viewing public in everyday life, CRT’s intolerance becomes “normalized,” along with the idea of systemic racism for Americans, weakening public and private bonds that create trust and allow for civic engagement.

Thanks for watching.

Facebook Will Make Policing Anti-White Speech a ‘Low Priority’

by Christopher Paslay

It’s become clear Facebook doesn’t want to get in the way of society’s coordinated disruption of whiteness, white people, or white culture.

Facebook is readjusting it algorithms to police anti-black hate speech more aggressively than anti-white hate speech. According to an article in USA Today:

Facebook bans hate speech based on race, gender and other characteristics. It relies on a set of rules called “Community Standards” to guide decisions about what violates that ban. The standards are enforced by computer algorithms and human moderators. 

According to Facebook’s hate speech policy, derogatory statements about men and white people are treated the same as anti-Semitic statements or racial epithets. 

For years, civil rights activists have lobbied Facebook to change its policy of protecting all groups equally. . . .

And protecting all groups equally — judging whites and people of color by the same standards — is definitely a big no-no in contemporary American woke culture.  

Take, for example, the Associated Press’s new rules for capitalizing the word “black” in its news articles, but not the word “white.” 

“AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black,” the AP writes. “AP style will continue to lowercase the term white in racial, ethnic and cultural senses.”

And why don’t white people deserve to have their race capitalized?  

“After a review and period of consultation, we found, at this time, less support for capitalizing white,” the AP states. “We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore those problems. But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.

So when you capitalize “black,” it’s social justice, but when you capitalize “white,” it’s racism and white supremacy.

The idea that so-called “whiteness” and white culture must be disrupted and dismantled is steadily gaining ground in a society infiltrated by wokeness. In March of 2019, The Paris Review published an article by black college professor Venita Blackburn titled “White People Must Save Themselves from Whiteness,” which stated that white people suffer from “cognitive dissonance” and “profit off of gruesome human suffering” while remaining happy.

In June of this year black education activist Nahliah Webber, the Executive Director of the Orleans Public Education Network, published an article in the Education Post titled “If You Really Want to Make a Difference in Black Lives, Change How You Teach White Kids.”  In it she speaks of the “pathology of whiteness,” explaining that whiteness is literally a disease that needs to be cured. Her article was so offensive and radical, that Megyn Kelly pulled her children from the Upper West Side private school that allegedly circulated the article.

In the fall of 2019, New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza held a training for administrators that aimed to end “white supremacy culture in schools,” a training some parents and administrators called “toxic and polarizing.” Carranza was later sued by four white female administrators for racial discrimination after they were allegedly demoted and replaced simply for being white

In July of this year, the National Museum of African American History and Culture published a pamphlet titled “Aspects and Assumption of Whiteness and White Culture,” where white children were taught to confront their “whiteness,” because according to anti-racist dogma, whiteness is inherently racist, oppressive, and provides unearned privileges to whites at the expense of people of color.

In August, the City of Seattle held a training called “Internalized Racial Superiority for White People” for its 10,000 city employees.  

According to an article in the City Paper by Christopher Rufo:

The trainers require white employees to examine their “relationships with white supremacy, racism, and whiteness” and explain how their “[families] benefit economically from the system of white supremacy even as it directly and violently harms Black people.”

Entire academic journals now exist for dismantling  so-called “whiteness,” like the journal “Whiteness and Education.” An article published in October of 2019 was titled, “Unmasking white fragility: how whiteness and white student resistance impacts anti-racist education.”

Robin DiAngelo, whose book White Fragility has sold several million copies, says Whites must be blunt and actively call out the oppressiveness of “whiteness” in order to stop systemic racism. To be “less white,” DiAngelo states, “is to be less oppressive racially. To be less arrogant. To be less certain. To be less defensive. To be less ignorant.”  

Cal-Berkeley now offers a course titled “Deconstructing Whiteness,” which “aims to confront conversations about privilege and positionality to understand where white bodies have the responsibility to be in movements against white supremacy and in solidarity with marginalized peoples and groups of color.” The class will not “coddle white fragility,” the course description states, but will help students “deconstruct and relearn whiteness through case studies, speakers, and critical readings.”

It’s become quite clear that Facebook doesn’t want to get in the way of the coordinated disruption of whiteness, white people, or white culture. 

“Facebook still considers statements about men and white people to be in violation of its hate speech policy, and users can still report these statements, but the company’s algorithms will no longer automatically flag and delete them, resulting in about 10,000 fewer posts being removed each day,” Facebook said.

It’s good to see that Facebook is living up to its obligations to remain fair and impartial.