Tag Archives: Multicultural Education

Trayvon Martin Foundation Must Reject Profiling of Students

by Christopher Paslay

Speaking out against profiling should include the hypocrisy of affirmative action against American students.

In March of 2012, the Trayvon Martin Foundation was established in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.  A Florida-based non-profit organization, one of the Foundation’s major goals is “increasing public awareness against all forms of profiling.”

According to its website:

The Trayvon Martin Foundation will use resources and tools to bring social awareness to similar cases.  In this decade, we are still fighting some of the same issues that prompted the Civil Rights Movement as it pertains to injustice and racism.

Although Daryl Parks, the Martin family attorney, stated that George Zimmerman’s murder trail was not about racial profiling (despite that fact prosecutors insinuated otherwise), the non-profit foundation named after Trayvon clearly is.

When it comes to using race as a means to profile, America remains divided.  Conservatives tend to fight for universal colorblindness, striving to, according to Dr. King, “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  It is liberals, ironically, who are obsessed with viewing everything in society, from college admissions to academic test scores to the demographics of police and fire departments, through the lens of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

In December of 2011, I received my M.Ed. in Multicultural Education from Eastern University.  In a course titled Urban Education, we had a discussion about the concept of “colorblindness” in American society, and its ramifications.  I took the position that colorblindness was an admirable goal, and that as a society, our ultimate ambition should be to simply view people as people, not whether they are black, white, gay, straight, etc.  This, I stated, would be the highest form of tolerance and multiculturalism—looking past superficial cultural differences to the universal characteristics that join us all as human beings.

The professor used my viewpoint as a springboard into a lesson on social justice.  “Colorblindness,” she told the class, “is a code word for white supremacy.”  She went on to explain that striving for a colorblind society was dangerous, because when people no longer took race, gender, and sexual orientation into account, society would revert back to a culture dominated by the White Western Establishment.  It was our duty as good citizens, she surmised, to be cognizant of other’s differences, so we could not only celebrate them, but make sure they were equally represented.  In other words, colorblindness ran counter to social justice.

It is liberals, not conservatives, who are obsessed with profiling.  Affirmative action, a policy that dictates we must look at a person’s race, gender, and sexual orientation when making decisions about employment, education, and the dolling out of government contracts to businesses, is a prime example.  Amazingly, as the liberal establishment deceptively spins the Trayvon Martin tragedy into a lesson against racial profiling, they have no problem with the fact that the University of Texas at Austin profiled Abigail Fisher, a white woman who insists she was denied admittance into the school because of her race.  Liberals also appear unmoved by affirmative action policies that keep many deserving Asian American students out of the nation’s top universities simply because too many of them are highly qualified.

According to an article in the New York Times headlined “Asian Americans in the Argument”:

“If you look at the Ivy League, you will find that Asian-Americans never get to 20 percent of the class,” said Daniel Golden, author of “The Price of Admission” and editor at large for Bloomberg News. “The schools semiconsciously say to themselves, ‘We can’t have all Asians.’ ” Mr. Golden says it is helpful to think of Asians as the new Jews because some rules of college admissions, like geographic diversity, were originally aimed at preventing the number of Jews from growing too high.

Just like Obama’s enforcement of his own health care law, liberals’ outrage over profiling is situational.

For example, it appears okay to profile a person when it comes to public education.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights conducted a report that surveyed 72,000 schools serving 85% of the nation’s students.  The report used race and gender to profile the differences between students on a wide range of issues including discipline, work readiness, school finance, and dropout rates.  In addition, No Child Left Behind uses race, native language, and socioeconomic status to profile the results of student achievement on standardized tests and to rate the overall quality of teachers and schools.

It also appears okay to profile when it comes to awarding government contracts to small businesses (especially minority owned), and when it comes to hiring and firing police, teachers, fire fighters, and any kind of state or government worker.  It appears okay to profile when it comes to processing a non-profit organization’s request for tax exempt status; or when hiring coaches in the NFL; or when awarding Oscars for Best Actor; or when requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice get involved in charging a person with second degree murder in a shooting that was deemed by local authorities to be self defense.

It’s not okay, however, to profile a person to protect your own neighborhood and family.  If there have been documented burglaries in your neighborhood by people of specific races, wearing specific clothing, and a person of that very race, clad in that very clothing, is wandering around suspiciously in the rain after dark, a community appointed neighborhood watch captain cannot stop and observe this person.  That is profiling of the unacceptable kind (as is instructing that person wandering around in the rain not to dress in specific clothing that may very well provoke misunderstandings with authority).  Better for that neighborhood watch person to go about his business and look the other way.  Better to let 100 suspicious-acting folks wandering in the rain after dark break into your house (and continue to dress in a style of clothing with suspicious connotations) than accost one innocent person.

I have no qualms with the Trayvon Martin Foundation “increasing public awareness against all forms of profiling.”  So long as “all” really means all, including profiling of the progressive liberal variety.

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Is being ‘on time’ a matter of cultural perspective?

by Christopher Paslay

America’s future career counselors are being taught that meeting deadlines and showing up on time for appointments is a matter of cultural perspective.

Last December I received my master’s degree in multicultural education from Eastern University.  In my Urban Education class our professor gave a mini lesson on “time orientation,” and explained how being “on time” was culturally relative.

“In some cultures,” she said, “‘on time’ means arriving 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  In some cultures it means coming fifteen minutes after the scheduled time.  And still in other cultures, ‘on time’ means you arrive at exactly the time scheduled.”  She was serious and not being facetious in any way.

The first thing that struck me after hearing this was the term “Black Time,” a slang and racially insensitive phrase used by people (including some African Americans) to describe a person who shows up late for something.  One of my best friends in high school was African American and his father used to say to him jokingly, “Be home in time for church—and I mean on time, not Black Time.”

The idea that time orientation is culturally relative, outside of multicultural education programs,  is absurd.  Time, unlike many other subjective entities, is one of the few things that is objective and fixed.  For those like my Urban Education professor who don’t believe so, try arriving at a train station 15 minutes after the train is scheduled to arrive and see if you catch the train.  Or, come back to your car 15 minutes after the parking meter runs out and see if you get a ticket.  Or, show up for a job interview 15 minutes after the scheduled meeting, and see if you get the job.

Time isn’t a matter of cultural perspective.  Those who believe this are in for a lot of pain and suffering.

Yet this reality doesn’t stop progressive multicultural theorists from teaching impressionable young minds that time is culturally relative.

This summer, I’m back at Eastern taking a class in Career Counseling as a requirement for my School Counseling Certificate.  The book we are using in class is called Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach, by Vernon G. Zunker, the acknowledged guru in the field.  In chapter 9 of his book, titled “Career Counseling for Multicultural Groups,” he gives a blueprint for counseling African Americans, Asian and Pacific Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Whites, pigeon-holing each group with generalized stereotypes—all the while warning future counselors against the dangers of stereotyping.

Zunker goes on to say that different cultures have different “work values,” and different ideas of “appropriate behavior” and “appropriate dress.”  Zunker states, “Thus, it is not surprising that one cultural group may generally view a behavior as being appropriate, but members of a different culture may view that same behavior as gross or insulting.”  Interestingly, Zunker gives no examples to back up his premise; so much for teaching future counselors that they should help students and clients to speak, dress, and behave in a professional manner on a job interview or in the workplace.

Back to the notion of time orientation.  Zunker states:

Among some cultures, differences in time orientation from the dominant society can present barriers to effective career planning and other time commitments that are normally assumed in career counseling.  In traditional career counseling, the client is expected to be on time for appointments and abide by a set of time rules to complete certain counseling interventions.  In many collectivist cultures individuals are not as obsessed with being on time and maintaining a strict time commitment.  A Navajo Indian woman asked me if the next meeting would be “Indian time” or “American time.”  She explained that “Indian time” is “whenever we get together that is convenient.”  Being on time for most counselors is viewed as a positive value, and lateness is often misunderstood as a symptom of indifference or a lack of basic work skills.  In this case, I learned firsthand that time orientation has different meanings for different cultural groups.

Zunker’s theory on time orientation stops here.  There is no follow-up advice or instruction to future counselors about how to address the problem of lateness or missed deadlines by clients who have an “alternative orientation” to time.  Zunker is mute on the issue, and his silence is his own approval.  In other words, by not stating that these behaviors are faulty (they are, in his words, a “misunderstanding”) he is signaling to America’s future counselors that it would be racially intolerant or culturally insensitive to expect clients to conform to the dominant culture’s definition of being punctual and meeting deadlines.

So how do we explain the misfortunes that happen to clients whose time orientation is culturally relative?  Why is it that people with alternative perspective on time habitually miss trains and buses, get parking tickets, are hit with late fees by the IRS and credit card companies, get their utilities shut off, and never get hired for jobs?

According to social justice advocates who embrace a multicultural theory, these people are caught in the throes of institutional racism and the cultural oppression of a dominant white society.

In short, these people are all victims, and future counselors are being indoctrinated by theorists like Zunker to expect as much.

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Advocacy group that promotes terrorist William Ayers will train Miss. school teachers on Civil Rights Movement

 

 

 

by Christopher Paslay

 

Last spring, as part of my master’s degree in education at Eastern University, I took a course called Multicultural Education.  I enrolled because I wanted to learn new methodologies that would broaden my teaching repertoire and help me better educate students from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  Granted, I grew up in Philadelphia (and still currently live in the city), but I hoped a course on diversity would fill in some of the gaps. 

 

In particular, I hoped to learn about the various learning styles of different cultures—which groups prefer cooperative over independent work; which groups are kinesthetic learners as opposed to auditory learners; etc.  I also wanted a crash course on world culture, and some supplementary materials I could use to help diversify my lesson plans.        

 

Surprisingly, I received almost none of this.  What I did get was politics—one-sided, left-leaning ideologies that had little to do with education or teaching strategies. 

 

Here was the required reading for the course:

         

1.  Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum.  The underlying premise of this book is that all whites in America have a “privilege” that is systematically denied all blacks.  In addition, the text talks about “Institutional Racism,” and how ALL whites are guilty of this simply because they exist inside a “privileged” society.  The book also lobbies for Affirmative Action, and suggests that anyone who opposes it is a racist by default.              

         

2.  A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.  This book was quite interesting, but was also quite selective.  The author chooses only to include information that exposes America’s sinful past—all the ways society and government mistreated immigrants and people of color.   

         

3.  We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multicultural Schools by Gary R. Howard.  This book is all about “Western White Dominance” and how to put an end to it through education.  It suggests, among other things, that the racial achievement gap in America is the fault of white teachers who don’t embrace or strive to understand their students of color.    

         

4.  Cultural Diversity and Education: Foundations, Curriculum, and Teaching by James A. Banks.  This book is the most objective of the four.  It gives a history of multicultural education and thoroughly explains the movement’s principles, ideologies and foundations. 

 

Needless to say, I was taken aback when I began the reading.  What disappointed me wasn’t that the course was dripping in politics and had little to do with practical, hands-on teaching strategies or methodologies.  The frustrating part was that the course was so one-sided

 

Once during class, after watching the PBS documentary, Race: The Power of an Illusion, I questioned the idea that the G.I. Bill was the primary reason why so many of America’s big cities are filled with poor blacks.  I admitted that the G.I. Bill was part of the problem, but tried to explore other causes in an effort to find a solution.

 

“What percentage of the problem has to do with personal responsibility?” I  asked the professor, who was an African American woman.  “I agree that the G.I. Bill had an impact, but what about trying to find solutions from within the community?  What percentage of urban blight is brought on by bad personal decisions?”

 

The professor looked at me like I had five heads.  “What are you saying, Chris?”

 

I repeated my question in a very respectful manner, and explained that I was simply trying to look at all sides of the issue and think outside the box.

 

“We’re not going to talk about that, Chris,” she said with a tone.  “We’re focusing on the G.I. Bill.”  And that was it.  End of conversation.  She moved to the next topic, never bothering to answer my question. 

 

Unfortunately, my experience at Eastern is not an isolated case.  After talking to fellow educators and graduate students—and after researching reading lists at other universities—I’ve come to realize that multicultural education courses are often more about politics than education.  There is real indoctrination going on in America’s colleges—professors are forcing their personal politics on their students (while holding them hostage with their grade) and pawning it off as free thought.        

 

Tragically, this indoctrination disguised as “free thinking” is starting to trickle down into America’s K to 12 public school system.  Recently I read an article in Teacher Magazine headlined Miss. Making Civil Rights Part of K-12 Instruction that I found rather curious. 

 

So far, four school systems have asked to be part of a pilot effort to test the curriculum in high schools, the article explained. In September, the Mississippi Department of Education will name the systems that have been approved for the pilot. By the 2010-2011 school year, the program should be in place at all grade levels as part of social studies courses.          

 

Advocacy groups such as the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and Washington-based Teaching for Change are preparing to train Mississippi teachers to tell the “untold story” of the civil rights struggle to the nearly half million students in the state’s public schools.

 

I took a closer look at Mississippi’s effort to teach its public school children the “untold story” of the civil rights struggle and found something very interesting.  The Washington-based Teaching for Change, one of the advocacy groups that will be training Mississippi public school teachers, is a lot like the multicultural education course I took at Eastern University.  On the surface, the group claims to provide “teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into centers of justice where students learn to read, write and change the world.” 

 

But upon further inspection of their website, I found Teaching for Change promotes a very controversial individual named William Ayers.  It’s ironic that an organization dedicated to training educators how to denounce the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church promotes the work of a domestic terrorist who bombed New York City’s Police Headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.  It’s true.  Go check their website.  What kind of “untold story” will Teaching for Change train Mississippi educators to tell our children? 

 

Teaching for Change also endorses Ronald Takaki, author of the glass-is-half-empty, victim-centered multicultural historical text A Different Mirror, which I came in contact with during my class at Eastern and summarized above. 

 

As free-thinking Americans, we must scrutinize the curriculum being taught to our children.  We must strive to analyze all sides of an issue, and make sure our education system is truly a platform for free discussion. 

 

We must also be aware of trendy buzz words such as “change” and “social justice”.  Sometimes “social justice” isn’t justice at all, and sometimes “change” isn’t about equal rights but rather a shift in power, where the victim becomes the perpetrator and vise-versa. 

 

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Filed under Achievement Gap, Free Speech, Multiculturalism