Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. A Federal judge in Arizona recently upheld a state law as constitutional that banned ethnic studies courses.
This week’s question: Do you think Ethnic Studies Classes Should Be Banned? Why Or Why Not?
The Glittering Eye: No Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto. I am a human being; I consider nothing human alien to me. I do think that ethnic studies majors should be banned or, at the very least, severely restricted.
Some years back interest group studies majors, Interest group studies being a more expansive term
than “ethnic studies” that included women’s studies, gay studies, as well as ethnic studies, was
accepted by the state of California in place of ed. majors for purposes of teacher certification. The result, as might have been expected, was a remarkable increase in marginally competent teachers including instances of teachers who’d been certified without being able to read at a functional level. The state went back and required testing of all its teachers.
It’s amazing to me how little white folks know about black folks and, to a somewhat lesser degree, vice versa or how little both white and black folks know about Hispanics (if there are such people as generic Hispanics). Ethnic studies courses could fill that void.
However, such studies are tremendously susceptible to being avenues for consciousness-raising. That’s not an acceptable purpose for higher education, particularly higher education funded by the state, but it’s not something that’s exclusively a problem for ethnic studies courses. Practically anything can be turned into an avenue for consciousness-raising. When I was in college (now going on a half century ago), I took advanced math classes that were largely consciousness-raising sessions against the war in Viet Nam.
JoshuaPundit: In my article on the court ruling in question, I noted that in my experience there is a distinct difference in how black studies and Chicano or Mexican American studies courses are taught and who teaches them as compared with other ethnic studies courses. The law, obviously, can make no such distinctions nor should it, but I think it’s extremely valuable and illuminating to point those differences out.
This is just one part of the serious degrading of American education since the 1970′s, when the movement collapsed after President Nixon banned the draft and radicals like Bill Ayers and Angela Davis slipped into academia to begin raping young minds.
Since these particular courses (at least the ones I’m directly familiar with) have largely become a meal ticket for racist radicals to earn tenure and six figure salaries at the taxpayer’s expense, and the course material itself is largely based on grievance and racial solidarity. If certain parts of these courses can be relabeled and re-taught properly as, say History of Mexico 101 or East Africa History and Culture 1A, fine. But the courses as now taught serve no useful purpose whatsoever. Ban them.
The Colossus of Rhodey: As a libertarian, I don’t believe that Ethnic Studies classes or departments should be abolished by legislative mandate. However, I do think that such classes should always be electives, and that it is wise that colleges not allow majors in the field. Minors, fine, but not majors.
Ethnic Studies classes and departments have historically been incredibly divisive, highly leftist, anti-American, and anti-white. In other words, there’s no real benefit from them, socially, financially, or educationally.
D.J., Class of ’15: Hey, here’s hoping I add something to this. I actually took a black studies course at Cal State Northridge in L.A. to get one of my GE requirements out of the way. They call it Pan African Studies.
It was mostly a waste of time. A lot of class was spent in ‘analyzing racism’, which basically ended up being a criticism of American society guided by the professor. While some of the material in the beginning about African civilizations was interesting, I’d say about 75% of the class time was spent on politics, and the professor made a point of having an Obama poster in the classroom, which I didn’t exactly agree with (I’m a Republican). There weren’t any white or Latino students in the class, and I think if there had been, they would have been a little uncomfortable, especially whites.
I can see where a lot of black history has not been emphasized, and should be studied, but that’s not what this was about. I say don’t ban them, but clean ‘em up a little. Maybe a lot!
I should probably add that Rob knows my parents and we talked about this before, so he knows what I think about it. Just putting it out there. I hope nobody minds me just using initials. Just being black and a conservative is weird enough at CSUN.
Bookworm Room: I have time only for a short, but I hope somewhat sweet, answer:
To the extent ethnic studies expand our knowledge of the world around us, enriching our minds and understanding, they are an excellent thing. To the extent they’ve been co-opted by Marxist professors who use them to advance an anti-capitalist, anti-judeochristian, anti-American agenda, they should be tossed into the gutter and kicked vigorously.
Well, there you have it.
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