Awakening to Woke

Published April 27, 2021

Here in California, the woke train rolls merrily along. 

If AB 101 passes in its current version, a one-semester high school course in ethnic studies will be mandated starting in the 2029–2030 school year. Each school district will get to choose course content, and those with a Marxist agenda are waiting to pounce. Many wokesters are advocating for use of the “Equitable Math” toolkit. This blatantly political program has little to do with math, but rather wants to use the subject to destroy “white supremacy,” a phrase that shows up 43 times. It states that the “concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

In Santa Clara County, the Marxists have a foothold. According to documents obtained by Christopher Rufo, a series of teacher-training sessions on how to deploy ethnic studies in the classroom were led by Jorge Pacheco, a professor from San Jose State University, who encouraged teachers to “inject left-wing politics into the classroom and to hide controversial materials from parents.” Pacheco’s presentation was filled with all the usual Marxist twaddle.  As a way to “destroy” the dominant political regime, he suggests that students “get into the mind of a white man such as Christopher Columbus and analyze what ideology led these white male settlers to be power and land hungry and justify stealing indigenous land through genocide.” He adds that the aim is to transform students into “activist intellectuals” who “decodify systems of oppression” into their component parts, including “white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, genocide, private property, and God.”

Needless to say, the woke train doesn’t stop at the California border. In fact, with help from the Biden administration, it could be going national. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Education outlined priorities for federal grants to schools for the purpose of advancing the woke agenda. The subsidy would prioritize “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning.” The document also praises the New York Times’ “landmark 1619 Project,” which has been debunked by just about every scholar who has read it. It also quotes notorious race hustler Ibram X. Kendi who insists “there is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.”

But thankfully, dissent is growing. In Nevada, a lawsuit has been filed by a black Christian mother of a biracial boy, who claims that her son’s public school, which puts kids in neatly arranged oppressor/oppressed boxes, has put the boy in a “psychologically abusive dilemma.”

Also, a “civil rights violation complaint” has been filed against San Diego schools. The Californians for Equal Rights Foundation along with five partner organizations have filed the complaint against the school district for unlawful, discriminatory critical race training of teachers and employees. 

Private schools, many of which are as radical as their public school counterparts, have had some recent pushback. Paul Rossi, a veteran teacher at Grace Church High School in New York City, sent an articulate and powerful letter to his administration a couple of weeks ago explaining the damage the school was doing by promoting critical race theory. For his caring and candor, Mr. Rossi was relieved of his job at the tony $57,000-a-year school.

Additionally, Andrew Guttmann, who just disenrolled his daughter from Brearley, a private all-girls school in New York whose tuition is $54,000 a year, sent a letter to 600 families whose children attend the institution. In his missive, he accused the school of being obsessed with race and vehemently objected to being judged by the color of his skin. He also disdained Brearley’s emphasis on equity and its insistence that there is systemic racism in the U.S. After Guttmann withdrew his daughter, the head of the school Jane Fried whimpered that Gutmann’s opinions were “deeply offensive and harmful.” 

Across the U.S., rebellion is mounting. Parents Defending Education is a national grassroots organization whose purpose is to reclaim schools from activists promoting harmful agendas. Its website maintains, “Through network and coalition building, investigative reporting, litigation, and engagement on local, state, and national policies, we are fighting indoctrination in the classroom — and for the restoration of a healthy, non-political education for our kids.” Erika Sanzi, the group’s leader, writes that even “self-described liberals and lifelong Democrats are extremely alarmed by what they see as dogmatic classroom activism and outright discrimination in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Here in California, many groups have formed as a result of the increasing Marxist threat. In addition to the aforementioned Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, the Alliance for Constructive Ethnic StudiesEducators for Quality and Equality and many others have sprung up to fight the CRT beast.

But sadly, many Americans are afraid. In an in-depth piece in City Journal, Christopher Rufo importantly notes that too many Americans have developed “an acute fear of speaking up about social and political issues, especially those involving race.” He cites a recent Gallup poll, which found that “77 percent of conservatives are afraid to share their political beliefs publicly.”

While understandable to an extent, that fear must be overcome. Our culture – and ultimately our country – are in the balance. If we are to survive as a free people, silence is not an option. Find allies, join a group, create a group, file a lawsuit, write an op-ed, get involved at your child’s school, demand to know what they are teaching, and remove your child from her school if she is being lectured by the Marxist mob. We are now at a point where inaction is unacceptable. The time to act is now!

[Originally posted on California Policy Center]