Monday, May 25, 2020

Your Tax Dollars Pay to Balkanize Your Country and Demonize Your Heritage


It's not just Polish people who are concerned about how their history is misrepresented in American public schools. Jews are also concerned, and with good reason. 

California's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum has been criticized as anti-Semitic and for pushing forward Arab narratives that depict Jews as genocidal and Muslims as helpless, innocent  victims whom American schoolchildren must support through anti-Israel political activity. 

The LA Times reports 

"a current draft of the model curriculum, drawn up by a committee of teachers and academics and headed to the State Board of Education, is an impenetrable melange of academic jargon and politically correct pronouncements. It’s hard to wade through all the references to hxrstory and womxn and misogynoir and cisheteropatriarchy...

 the proposed ethnic studies curriculum feels like an exercise in groupthink, designed to proselytize and inculcate more than to inform and open minds. It talks about critical thinking but usually offers one side and one side only.

“For example, if students decide they want to advocate for voting rights for undocumented immigrant residents at the school district and city elections, they can develop arguments in favor of such a city ordinance and then plan a meeting with their city council person or school board member.”

some students might think that the right to vote in mayoral and city council elections is the prerogative of citizens, not noncitizens (that’s not a right-wing idea, is it?), and they might want to meet with the school district about that. Chances are, with a curriculum like this one, they’d be afraid to even mention it.

Similarly, there’s a suggested list of social movements that students might research — but here again, the curriculum feels awfully one-sided. There’s nothing wrong with students studying the Black Panther Party or the Third World Liberation Front or the Occupy Movement or the Palestinian-led BDS movement. But what happened to studying a range of ideas, reflecting a variety of ideologies and perspectives, and having students take sides, dispute and debate those ideas, honing their research and thinking in the process, and ultimately deciding for themselves? This curriculum feels like it is more about imposing predigested political views on students than about widening their perspectives.

Among other things, the model curriculum lists capitalism with white supremacy and racism as “forms of power and oppression.” OK, but shouldn’t students also hear arguments that capitalism has allowed for an expansion over time of the middle class, or even from those who believe in a laissez-faire, sink-or-swim economy."

The Jewish News of Northern California reports,

"As conflict continues to flare up in the Bay Area and across the state surrounding a draft of an ethnic studies curriculum for public high schools — which was highly critical of Israel and omitted Jews as an ethnic group for study — officials with the California Department of Education have told Jewish lawmakers of at least one requested change: references to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement have been deleted."

The self-described goal of the curriculum 

"“At its core, the field of ethnic studies is the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States,” adding, “The field critically grapples with the various power structures and forms of oppression, including, but not limited to, white supremacy, race and racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, that continue to impact the social, emotional, cultural, economic, and political experiences of Native People(s) and people of color.”

The Anaheim blog writes 

"Teachers are encouraged to cite the biographies of “potentially significant figures” such as Angela Davis, Frantz Fanon and Bobby Seale. Convicted cop-killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur are also on the list. Students are taught that the life of George Jackson matters “now more than ever.” Jackson, while in prison, became “a revolutionary warrior for Black liberation and prison reform.” The Latino section’s people of significance include Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar López Rivera, a member of a paramilitary group that carried out more than 130 bomb attacks, and Lolita Lebrón, who was convicted of attempted murder in a group assault that wounded five congressmen...

In a sample lesson on Native Americans, the curriculum suggests students offer their responses to a fictional environmentalist speech by Chief Seattle as well as an anodyne quote about relationships from the recently deceased rapper Nipsey Hussle. The Chief Seattle error is part of a larger problem. The curriculum perpetuates the myth that the Indians had the same values as present-day ecologists. In truth, Native Americans had a mixed approach to nature. The curriculum writers should have looked carefully at the scholarly evidence presented in Shepard Krech’s 1999 book, “The Ecological Indian”—about, for example, the setting of brush fires that got out of control and the needless killing of buffalo, beaver and deer."


  1. Dear Goska, normally, some 3-4 years ago, I would have been up in arms about this. Gosh, how often I was defending Israel in the face of hateful Muslims....Now, I am so indifferent, it amazes myself. I wish we could just talk about how many people were treated poorly and with what excuses. Also, how to dismantle such excuses. It would be worthwhile. One last thing- As a European, I do not see Americans as 200 pluw different groups, but as one nation in a house, which, divided, will not stand.

    but not limited to, white supremacy, race and racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia

    Catholicophobia? Slavophobia? What about the fact that I have once met black people from New York who told me that they have been treated poorly by orthodox Jewish people (keyword szwarce?).Can we adress that? Just wondering.

    Also, "with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States," Yes. Because the Irish, Bohunks, poor whites, Catholics in places where the KKK was raging are not worthy of having their suffering remembered. Such a nice hierarchy of victims. I guess the Japanese in the US also have to take a step back because they are not really "PoC" (too sucessful and all).

    I am so much afraid this will come to Europe as well. Hope, at least Poland will be spared. I want people to assimilate, like,Poland-honours-heroes-of-1918-revolt-against-Germans and become an integral part of the Polish experience.

    1. Hanna I know you mean well but "Dear Goska"

      In America when you address someone by her last name like this, it comes across as being purposely rude.

      One would say Dr Goska or Danusha or Danusha Goska but not Dear Goska.

      Just, fwiw.

    2. Hello Dr Goska,

      Hanna lives in Germany. And Germans have this annoying manner of saying "Liebe" (dear) followed by surname. Seems to me that she used that form out of habit.

      On other hand Polish people speak in the third person in Poland. I must confess that using "You" in conversation with English-speakers makes me feel uncomfortable. It seems disrespectful. It deprives me of emotional distance. And makes me feel like a boor.

    3. Lukasz, that's funny. Because when you are speaking English, it's entirely normal to call someone "you."

    4. We say "Kochana XY" (dear) in Polish,too. I meant no harm, of course. Goska reminds me of Gośka, a short form of Małgorzata, sorry for the mix-up. So, would just "Danusha," be fine with you?

    5. Hanna, there is no problem with "dear" in English, Polish, or German. It's the last name part that is an ouchy. I know you mean no harm. :-) Yes, just Danusha is fine, or Diane, or Dr Goska, or Miss Goska, but not "Goska." :-)


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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