The Dumbest Idea

I recently listened to a youtuber called Computing Forever read accounts of social justice madness which had been sent to him by his viewers. I have already written a few articles on my experience in what I call the State Church but hearing these accounts reminded me of another experience which I will detail here and invite Computing Forever to feature on his channel.

When I was in my second year at a public college, I was asked to become a tutor for the math department. The job was pretty strait forward; help explain concepts and methods to students who are struggling to complete their homework. I thought that it would be rewarding and I needed the extra income so I agreed.

I then found out that any person employed by the school to interact with students must attend a 3 session CRLA seminar. I was told that it would amount to ‘sensitivity training’. Two of the three training sessions focused on various approaches to teaching people based on their learning styles and were at worst a waste of time. It was the same stuff we have all heard about since grade school; someone who struggles to understand a verbal explanation might benefit more from text or pictures and vice versa. However, the third training was nothing short of disturbing, especially when you consider that this training was mandatory for every other tutor and teacher in the school system.

The official CRLA course guide asserts that embracing multiculturalism and cultural relativism can make a tutor more effective. To ensure that we’ve gotten the massage, the CRLA guide suggests that course facilitators administer some tests. Recommended means of assessment include:

  • The Advanced Tutor writes a well-thought-out essay explaining the differences among the following ‘isms’: ethnocentrism, sexism, ageism, ableism, racism, classism, and anti-Semitism.
  • The Advanced Tutor cites three specific examples of cultural norms from her/his own background that may influence tutoring (such as eye contact, specific clothing, mixed-gender tutoring pairs, and family expectations) and discusses how these examples may impact a tutoring relationship.
  • The Advanced Tutor is observed using culturally-appropriate language that encourages the tutee to express culturally defined preferences and needs and allows for diverse viewpoints and practices in the tutoring session.

All of this seems  designed to inject political correctness into classrooms far removed from the gender studies hall. The desired effect, in my view, must be to encourage hypersensitivity. Why should I be concerning myself with anyone’s income level or whether or not they are semitic while trying to explain fractions? It’s beyond me.

If you’ve taken the time to have a glance at the document from which I excerpted those assessments, you might object “Cultural diversity and pluralism and all of those things are contained in just one of fourteen topics listed on the CRLA guide.” That would be a fair observation and it may be that in other instances of the training I received there is less emphasis on that topic. However, in this instance, it was given about three hours of our time. The course facilitator also took the liberty of going beyond what was talked about in the CRLA guide and introducing us to additional social justice theory.

I particularly remember one exercise where we were asked to make assumptions about hypothetical characters based on very little information. I was asked to tell what I could assume about a person who has a low income. I objected that this was very little information and I wouldn’t feel comfortable speculating about why a person may be receiving a low income. The facilitator suggested to me that inequality of outcome is an indicator of inequality of opportunity. Therefore, it was safe to assume that this person had not received the opportunities enjoyed by those at higher levels of income. I was also shown a hypothetical list of members in an office which was roughly 80% male. I was told it was safe to conclude that discrimination was responsible for this ratio. I thought my head might explode.

This is what Thomas Sowell refers to as ‘the most stupid idea’ and it’s being pushed down the throats of every teacher in the system. The notion that a meritocracy would, in the absence of foul play, produce perfectly representative groups of people in every office, every classroom, and every work site is absurd. I would go further and suggest that any divison of a population which is proportionally representative of the religious and ethnic demographics of the larger society should send up red flags. These strike me as the mostly likely places to find superficial qualities prioritized over merit. How else could such a thing be achieved?

I walked away from this training thinking “the indoctrination is real”. This was one of the first times, but certainly not the last time, that I witnessed regressive logic being aggressively pushed at my college. This is why I’ve adopted the term ‘State Church’ to describe it. This practice of using public funds to propagate an ideology is a clear violation of the freedom of conscience which protects itself by conflating science and religion.

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