This little true anecdote — based on firsthand knowledge — is terribly sad. A pre-teenage boy, living in the United States with his affluent family from South America, attends an American public school in the eastern part of the country. They are not immigrants. He speaks English without an accent and is not physically identifiable as belonging to any particular ethnic group.
Recently, he was raising money for the homeless with a friend at a school fair. At the first of the tables he passed, the salesman invited him to take a look at his merchandise — soccer balls and shirts. The boy became very upset.
“That’s racist,” he complained to his friend.
“Why?” asked the schoolmate.
“That’s what they think of us Mexicans. All we are interested in is soccer and tacos.”
In other words, he innocently had turned a simple situation — a guy wanted to sell merchandise, for charity, to boys of a soccer-crazy age — into a racist incident.
The boy didn’t do anything or say anything to anyone other than his friend. That’s just the way he reacted to it. And this is happening in America — not to mention Canada and Europe — tens of thousands of times each day. We just don’t hear about it.
To take a small incident as proof of a much wider phenomenon is always open to question. Yet I can’t help but think — especially since I know what he’s been taught in the classroom — that this boy’s paranoia and quickness to anger is a result of the indoctrination he is getting in public school.
He lacks an interest in politics. He enjoys a very calm personality. He isn’t prone to exaggeration or anger, which makes this incident all the more shocking. Oh, and one other thing: he does love soccer.
Tell people over and over again that America is mostly or even mainly characterized by racism, and you are teaching people to hate America. Or, as one eleven-year-old girl from another South American family told her classmates: “We hate America, but our parents are making us live here.”
Kids in the class constantly use the word “racist,” even when colors completely unassociated with human beings are mentioned — a black cat, for example, or automobile.
What happens when you tell young people over and over again that the most important fact of American history is the internment of Japanese during World War Two? In a single year, I watched as fourth graders were assigned four different readings on that topic while spending ten minutes on George Washington and zero on Abraham Lincoln. Their sole reading on September 11 was a story on how Kenyans reacted to the event — with no identification of who had carried out the attack.
I could supply four score and seven more very specific first-hand examples, based on a close observation of my son’s almost two years in an American public school. Whether he is being subjected to one of the school plans developed by unrepentant anti-American terrorist Bill Ayers, who has had a certain influence on contemporary American leadership, I cannot say.
Yet this is what’s really going on in the America experienced by our eleven-year-olds, and, no doubt, by their older and younger siblings as well. This daily experience isn’t covered in the media. Parents hardly ever hear about it.
One can only discover this largely hidden world by doing anthropological fieldwork among children. The fact that the great majority of parents have no idea about these things — even those supposedly obsessed with their children’s education — is a source of constant amazement to me. I’m not talking about approval here, but simple ignorance.
What appears in textbooks will curl your hair. And I’m not talking about relatively high-profile issues like teaching about Islam (a topic that has never even been mentioned in my son’s school), but how they describe the economic system or world history. Some examples, all based on first-hand experience:
- A math exercise in which the teacher uses a deck of playing cards, each of which is marked “Vote Obama” on the back.
- A current-events discussion in which, even though Junior Scholastic referred to the Times Square bomber as an “Islamist terrorist,” the only correct answer is that this Taliban-backed Pakistani immigrant is a “home-grown terrorist.”
- Days spent in unquestioning study of man-made global warming, with no mention even of a controversy. One student remarks afterward, “Due to global warming, it will soon be snowing in Africa.”
- Despite having music class, the following dialogue takes place:
Father: “Did you learn the Star Spangled Banner?”
Son looks puzzled.
Daughter helpfully sings, “You know, ‘Oh, say can you see …!'”
Son: “What’s that?”
- On Memorial Day, son draws pictures of soldiers during free time in school; teacher confiscates, makes and files photocopies, and warns him never to do that again.
This situation, to put it mildly, is a social disaster. The bills for this calamity will be paid in the future, just as today we are living in the shadow of the radical 1960s come to cultural, ideological, and political power.
“Political correctness” and “multiculturalism” are creating a nation full of thin-skinned people ready to identify virtually anything as racist or discriminatory. It is conditioning young people to believe instinctively that ours is a fundamentally contemptible society, riddled with haters and racists who are out to get them or anyone who constitutes “the other.” It is instructing them that freedom of speech does not and should not apply to vast swaths of public, and perhaps private, life.
While all of this indoctrination is supposed to reduce friction, the fact is that it is having the opposite effect, setting up a future of incredible antagonism, hatred, and pain. The mentality of perpetual victimhood, endless grievances, and bitter divisiveness is set to cripple the United States. In Europe and Canada, the results are likely to be even worse.
Of course, this is no accident, but a form of political mobilization in which certain viewpoints will be demonized as unacceptable because they are based on bias. The only redeeming factor is that it is not universal but restricted — at least for the present — to certain states and counties where such curricula have been imposed.
In the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln called America “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Yet today, if a large proportion of American schoolchildren are taught that America is a nation conceived in bigotry and dedicated to the propositions of racism, sexism, bigotry, male chauvinism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and homophobia, what’s going to happen?
Lincoln answered that one in another speech: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” That was in June 1858, three years before a Civil War broke out.