Culture

California Math Teacher’s Bizarre Dance Display Says Something About America

A California teacher has been placed on leave after a student filmed her performing her version of a Native American dance in order to teach her students a mnemonic intended to help them master trigonometry.

The California News Times has identified the school as John W. North High School and has named the teacher. According to the site she has been doing this particular routine for some time now.

The video is worth a look if for no other reason than it is one of the most bizarre things you will watch this year.

To be honest, I was not sure if the performance was an example of racism, insensitivity, cultural appropriation, or just a good old-fashioned psychotic break. I strongly suspect it is the result of naiveté. While the teacher may have had good intentions, the case can certainly be made that the display is insulting to Native Americans. Hell, I felt a little insulted and I’m as white as they come. Seriously, I did the Ancestry.com thing. I really am as white as they come. I can’t even claim to be 1/502th  Cherokee.

The local Native American community is angry over the incident. While one may wonder why the teacher’s dance routine is just now coming to light, the anger is justified. “Racism” is a word that is thrown around far too easily these days and the charge can be leveled at the drop of a hat. And while I do not know if the teacher is racist, the dance routine was incredibly insensitive. And displays like this do not do anything but stoke the fire that the Left is too eager to stoke whenever possible.

As I mentioned in a previous column, in a previous life I had married into a Native American family. In order to be a part of the family, and because I genuinely loved my in-laws,  I learned to be a Southern Straight dancer and a Gourd Dancer and participated in the sweat lodge. I participated in a Native American Church. A friend of mine at the time felt he was entitled to attend services, which involve the ritual use of peyote, since tribal members would be welcome at our church. I could not make him understand that Native American church was not meant for us. It is meant specifically to meet the spiritual needs of Native Americans. And my friend eventually admitted that his interest was more in a potential peyote trip than in legitimate worship, which indicated he was more interested in using these people for an exotic experience, which is one end of a problematic spectrum that Native Americans have dealt with for years.

Native American traditions, songs, and even the dance movements have meanings. Some are religious, some are social, but they do not exist to be curiosities or fodder for cartoons or comedy. Even I understood that while I was participating in something with my family, those things were not my own.

Their culture deserves the same respect that we conservatives claim we are being denied. The Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins debates aside, we have no business being offended over our beliefs being impugned if we refuse to respect the beliefs of others. And no, I am not talking about believing a man who identifies as a sea anemone and whose pronouns are plerb/borghtrog/lkjerl. But we do owe others basic respect and dignity—we aren’t progressives, after all. To be invited to participate and learn is one thing. To turn something into a comedy routine really is another. And no, that is not political correctness or an endorsement of CRT. Rather I offer it as the rational alternative.

There really are two problems with this situation. First is the insensitivity displayed by the teacher. The second is the fact that the property taxes of the people of Riverside are being used for this…whatever it is.  As James Woods so aptly stated regarding the incident: “Public schools no longer teach civics or history. Half the kids who graduate can’t make change for a dollar, or know how to read an analog clock. But this nonsense is shoved down their throats daily,” And he is right. When I was in radio, I saw job applications that in addition to being illegible, were so rife with misspellings that I practically needed to hire a translator to read enough of them to know I didn’t want to hire that person. In fact, things such as spelling, grammar, and basic math have fallen by the wayside over the years so people can live their truth and lecture us on which of the 1.5 million genders they are at any given moment.

If this incident is any indicator of what is going on in America’s classrooms, is it any wonder students have become fascinated with their pronouns and want to major in TikTok, Instagram, or in being social justice warriors? Watch the video again. Watch as the teacher hops up and down the rows. About midway through you will see a student put his head down on his desk as if he just can’t watch anymore. If you were a student in that class, how seriously would you take anything that teacher said after watching that? Between that and alleged adults identifying as dragons or sporks—or having full-throated tantrums on their cell phones in cars over masks—should we be surprised kids are deciding that their own truths are the only truths?