The use of culture-erasing and English-only boarding schools on native populations was an evil perpetrated by governments of yesteryear. If there is outrage over history’s mistakes, where is the same outrage against the modern public education system, which is one giant leftist boarding school for every America-loving student?
I am a career public educator, having worked through the system as a paraprofessional, teacher, mentor, and eventually a school administrator. I have seen the institution from all angles. Like most, I began my career for a simple purpose: Summers off.
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No, just kidding.
What drew me to the field was the same gravitational motivation that used to attract all of us: Helping and working with young people. Unfortunately, that isn’t good enough anymore. Educators are regularly told they need to engage in classroom social activism; by just teaching their subject area of expertise, they perpetuate systemic racism. One would think enabling illiteracy among blacks would be an issue of systemic racism, but holding common sense positions precludes one from being a leftist.
Formerly, the black lobby had a monopoly on grievances. This was especially true in how history was taught in schools: The Triangle Trade Routes, slavery, Underground Railroad, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynchings, Civil Rights Era, Dr. King – the list is endless. Note that this is not a complaint; it’s a very real part of America’s history. It is all worth discussing, though it devolves into mass indoctrination unless we add that black African leaders sold Europeans the already-captured black slaves, blacks in the south owned slaves, life for blacks got worse after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, et cetera.
Quite recently, there has been a growing focus around the wrongs committed against Indigenous communities in years gone by. A cynic could wonder if Indigenous peoples, not satisfied by ungodly casino royalties and sensing vulnerabilities in society, wanted to cash in on that sweet, sweet white guilt. If I am reading the tea leaves correctly, and I think I am, we should be on the lookout for a push to cede lands and offer reparations to the native peoples within the decade if communism continues to gain traction.
Not coincidentally, many readers might have noticed that the term BIPOC is suddenly everywhere and the de facto term to describe people previously referred to as minorities and other monikers. Ironically, while this same crowd hated the term minority because it “othered” or “less-thanned” folks, the term BIPOC very intentionally focuses on: 1) Blacks, 2) Indigenous, and 3) Everyone else. Asians, Hispanics, and other distinct ethnic/racial groups are just extra tools for the left to utilize when the situation allows for the demonization of white males. This was clearly seen through the massage parlor shootings in Atlanta, which had us angry about white, anti-Asian sentiment until everyone realized blacks account for nearly all attacks against Asians.
The shift to BIPOC very intentionally positions the Indigenous community as the other big player in the grievance industry. Their own cultural power can be seen by the Juneteenth-esque speed of appropriating Columbus Day and declaring November – the month of Thanksgiving – as Indigenous Peoples’ Month. Not even the black community gets both a special day and a month. That they fall on two of the most culturally important days commemorating European arrivals is not an accident.
How is their message getting out? For starters, nearly every public educator is familiar with a land acknowledgement. A growing number of corporations are moving to them, and any recent college graduate has no doubt been subjected to this religious ritual as well. I have posted a few examples. Leftism is a game of leapfrog; whoever virtue signals the most fiercely or the loudest is seen as superior, so it is inevitable that these will evolve to include even more historically-inaccurate and morally-dubious assertions.
Ex.1: To open, I humbly make a land acknowledgment. I would like to recognize and acknowledge the indigenous people of this land. While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is an important social justice and decolonial practice that promotes indigenous visibility and a reminder that we are on settled indigenous land. Let this land acknowledgment be an opening for all of us to contemplate a way to join in decolonial and indigenous movements for sovereignty and self-determination.
Ex. 2: Before we begin, I want to acknowledge something that may be obvious from looking at me: I am not Native. My ancestors were colonizers. I am coming to you as an historian who has learned most of what I know through reading, research, and listening, rather than through my own personal experiences. As we start talking today I want to be sure to think about the people on whose land we are standing. We need to listen to them when they speak about their experiences, because they are the authorities on their own history.
I live in Minnesota, which is home to the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes. Historically, they did not get along, nor did they even always live here. The Ojibwe were formerly an eastern tribe pushed out of their previous homeland by other conflicts (also with fellow natives). When they came to the present-day midwest they jockeyed for power and influence among other people just as before (with fellow natives). It would be very appropriate to ask anyone reading off the approved script if the Ojibwe owed the Dakota, who likely owed someone else, an apology for taking their lands. The answer would be “no,” although it wouldn’t be supported by facts or logic. It would be “no” because whites are bad, natives are innocent (and helpless), and any disagreement is the manifestation of white fragility and further proof of one’s need to “do the work.”
In addition to the land acknowledgements, which seek to frame the Indigineous grievance as one of theft (thus opening the possibility of territorial or fiscal reparations in the near future), the other big historical focus has been on boarding schools. This brings me back to the headline.
No question, boarding schools are a stain on our history. They are also exactly that, a stain on our history – not our present. At any rate, the purpose of the boarding school was to assert cultural dominance through forced erasure of Indigenous students’ old culture and forcefully acclimate them into another. The Indigenous community writ large howls at the injustices, demands a reckoning, forces an awareness upon us…
And then proceeds to do the exact same thing. Today’s public schools are neither different nor better than the Indigenous boarding schools from 100 years ago. America’s children – my kids and your kids – are being taken from our homes by the monopolistic government school system and re-educated to hate their parents and hate their country. They are literally being reprogrammed. This is a great time to remind families that the only solution is removal from the system. No kids, no money.
I do not believe the sincerity of the Indigenous community when they protest against land theft and past schooling practices. For the same reason I do not believe the BLM/CRT crowd, every leftist movement accuses one side of egregious acts while actively engaging in those exact same acts. It is not about repairing past harms, it is about capturing and consolidating power from a beta white community that has been culturally castrated through years of false grievances and endless attacks on dissidents.
The solution to systemic racism is increased racism and now the solution to boarding schools is a greater number of boarding schools. If they believed what they said, they’d be outraged at themselves.