Over the weekend, a teacher in Philadelphia lamented that when classes become virtual, parents may be able to look over their children’s shoulders. Why is this a problem? According to the teacher, it may undermine “equity/inclusion work.” What do teachers mean by “equity/inclusion work?” In many cases, they mean propagandistic materials from scandal-plagued far-left organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“So, this fall, virtual class discussions will have many potential spectators — parents, siblings, etc. — in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?” pondered Matthew R. Kay, a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA).
“How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of ‘what happens here stays here’ to help this?” he continued.
“While conversations about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment — I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in honest conversations about gender/sexuality,” Kay added. “And while ‘conservative’ parents are my chief concern — I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kids [sic] racism or homophobia or transphobia — how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”
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PJ Media’s Matt Margolis noted the obvious implications: Kay is concerned parents might undermine his efforts to indoctrinate kids about race and sexuality.
Yet many schools get their materials on race and sexuality from the discredited SPLC. As schools ponder options for welcoming kids back in the fall — in person or virtually — many are adopting curricula that pushes slavery lessons on kids as young as 5. Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) has encouraged teachers to adopt an elementary curriculum from the SPLC — a curriculum that includes lessons on race, slavery, and “hard history” for the K-2 age bracket.
“SPLC is pushing Marxist ideology more or less. They’re really pushing those concepts of ‘revolution’ and ‘dismantling the system’ that we have,” a Loudoun County father of two told The Washington Free Beacon’s Chrissy Clark, who first drew attention to the curriculum. “So rather than everyone coming together and building something great together, it’s about destroying what’s been built.”
The Indiana Department of Education has also recommended teachers use the SPLC curriculum. In 2018, Denver Public Schools told PJ Media that “the values expressed by the SPLC are in alignment with the values of DPS.”
As I explain in my book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the SPLC has weaponized its early history as a noble civil rights organization and its record in bankrupting the Ku Klux Klan and related hate groups into a hate-for-pay scheme that defames the SPLC’s political opponents and bilks donors by presenting an inflated picture of “hate” in America. Amid a sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal last year, the SPLC fired its key co-founder and saw other leaders resign. The SPLC’s “hate group” accusation has even inspired an attempted terrorist attack (although the SPLC condemned the attacker).
Despite these and other scandals, many mainstream media outlets, social media companies, and corporations regard the SPLC as an authority on “hate” and trust its Teaching Tolerance arm.
Teaching Tolerance does indeed seem to push “Marxist ideology.” Last month, the SPLC program published a blog post entitled, “Confronting the Weaponization of Whiteness in Classrooms.” This article clearly uses critical theory to claim that hidden racism pervades America. “Since both anti-Blackness and white supremacy are baked into America’s foundation, they often play out in our daily lives,” the author claims. She even argues that black students are “trying to survive in systems that weren’t designed for them to succeed.”
“Black minds do matter,” the author insists as if teachers across America do not already agree.
This echoes the Smithsonian’s horrifying Marxist lesson on “whiteness” that “deconstructed” various aspects of American and Western culture, including capitalism, science, the nuclear family, and Christianity, as nefarious relics of white supremacy. The lesson also claims that a work ethic, delayed gratification, being polite, and getting to meetings on time are aspects of the “whiteness” culture that must be deconstructed and rejected.
If this is what “decolonizing” the mind looks like, it is a recipe for failure in the workplace and destruction in the public square. While this ideology claims to champion black people, it has inspired riots in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, riots that have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
When it comes to education at specific grade levels, the SPLC has advocated for “teaching” first graders about “microaggressions,” the dangerous idea that children should read racist, sexist, and other forms of malice into unintentional slights. As Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff explained in their Atlantic essay that became a book — The Coddling of the American Mind — teaching kids to read malice and oppression into unintentional insults involves training them to magnify unimportant episodes and label language and people dangerous. This creates a culture of “vindictive protectiveness,” which arms students psychologically.
The SPLC’s influence in America’s public schools is growing, and it is growing because left-leaning academics across the country believe that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and whatever other kinds of phobia leftists can dream up must be combatted from an early age. This leads them to pursue Marxist brainwashing in the name of “teaching tolerance.” Matthew R. Kay warned against parents snooping on Zoom classes because he fears that if parents learn what teachers want to “teach,” they will revolt.
It is long past time that conservative parents know exactly how teachers plan to brainwash their children — using public tax dollars.
Kay is just one teacher and the SPLC is just one organization. This is a far broader movement than their other them, and the SPLC has a rather broad reach.
The Left is gunning for America’s children, and its version of “tolerance” involves the erasure of conservative values in the name of helping the less fortunate.
Homeschooling is an important option, but Americans must combat this trend. Their taxpayer dollars still fund public education. This is not a fight we can withdraw from.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.