Ohio may be a red state with a Republican governor and state legislature, but the Ohio Department of Education kicked off this school year by promoting far-left, racialist, anti-police propaganda in the form of its recommended “Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack,” a resource for social studies teachers. The starter pack contains about 200 links to “antiracist” op-eds, essays, and blog posts, which exemplify what President Trump meant when he spoke of a “left-wing cultural revolution” in our schools “designed to overthrow the American revolution” in favor of “far-left fascism.”
The ODE recommended an article on “The Souls of White Folk.” The item notes that “during the 6th century CE, before the advent of Islam, Arabs worshipped tribal totems. The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) preached against this and other superstitious practices.” The author explains that Arabian elites used statues of stone and wood as a mechanism for controlling the people. Muhammed became “feared and hated” for “exposing the idols as false and powerless,” and in time, the idols “came to represent for the Muslim world the tribalism of a bygone era of un-enlightenment.” Islam emancipated the masses from pagan ignorance.
“America today, like Arabia then,” the author continues, “is a land of superstition and idolatry. Its chief idol is made of neither stone nor wood. It is a nearly 300 year old idea called whiteness.” The article concludes that “Whiteness is a stone idol in the mind of white people in America that must be smashed to pieces like the idols of pre-Islamic Arabia.” Unless that happens, “there is no absolution possible.”
It’s not clear whether anyone from the ODE reviewed these articles in full before recommending them. But surely someone at least took a cursory glance at them. The ODE recommended that teachers read “How White Womens’ [sic] Tears Threaten Black Existence,” “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels,” and “White People Have No Culture.” Teachers were also urged to read “In Defense of Looting” and “Forget ‘Looting,’ Capitalism is the Real Robbery.” A section on “protest safety” provided links to police scanner maps and an Instagram promotion for “Creature Finder,” a service that promises, “If your friend gets arrested in protests, our volunteers will team up to locate them.” More recommended reading: “The Case for Delegitimizing the Police,” “Abolish the Police?”, and “Yes, We Literally Mean Abolish the Police.”
The ODE has since taken down its link to the Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack. When asked why, a spokesperson explained that the department “recently adopted a formal filter through which to vet social studies resources” and thus was not yet “in a position to vet the almost 200 resources included in the Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack (nor did information in the pack itself indicate the criteria used to determine inclusion). Additionally, the pack did not provide clear guidance relative to its use by teachers.” The spokesperson insisted that ODE “prioritizes equity and anti-racism and is committed to working toward those ends for all Ohio students.”
According to Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be an Anti-Racist, there is no such thing as “not racist”—only “racist” and “antiracist.” Teaching students to be colorblind is “racist.” Teaching students to see the world through a racialist lens is “antiracist.” Policies that treat people equally regardless of race can be “racist,” because, according to Kendi, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” Logically, then, an “antiracist” concerned by the historical prevalence of anti-black cultural prejudices and stereotypes should, like the ODE, endorse the message that “white people do have culture. Our culture is that of colonization. Of genocide. Of taking. Of envy and fear.”
One hopes that such statements would not make it through the ODE’s new formal vetting process, nor through the state or local textbook review commissions. But the supplemental materials recommended by the ODE need go through no vetting process before teachers bring them into their classrooms. Nor would parents necessarily know what’s being taught unless their children complained.
That’s why the Goldwater Institute’s proposal for academic transparency should be taken up by state legislators across America. The proposal simply requires that teachers list, and school districts publicly post, any supplemental materials that they introduce to their students. If teachers want students to read articles like “By the end of his life, Martin Luther King realized the validity of violence,” parents deserve to know that without having to dig around to learn about it.
And if the principal should wave off parents’ concerns about indoctrination and tell them that, like the Ohio Department of Education, their school “prioritizes equity and anti-racism and is committed to working toward those ends,” then those parents deserve another option. They deserve the opportunity to send their children to a school that doesn’t tell kids that their parents’ values must be smashed like pagan idols. And that’s another reason why Ohio, and all states, should provide families with school choice.
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