It’s Time for Parents to Stand Up for Their Kids – and Against Educational Malpractice
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Jewish Journal 31.10.2023
It’s Time for Parents to Stand Up for Their Kids – and Against Educational Malpractice
When Palestinians raided Israel on October 7, most of the civilized world shuddered. Alas, in a flash, many who were long in denial finally noticed the moral rot that has degraded America’s universities. Some — not enough — students are furious, denouncing their professors and peers who celebrate or deny or minimize this massacre by “contextualizing” it. Some — not enough — donors have started cutting funds to stop subsidizing such moral idiocy. But where, o where, are the parents? It’s time for parents to break their addiction to careerist credentialism and show their kids they stand for something more meaningful than getting ahead. At Columbia, at Harvard, at Cooper Union, at UCLA and elsewhere, including in elite high schools parroting similar evils, parents must confront this epidemic of educational malpractice — which prefers propagandizing over teaching – and demand that every student feels safe, even if they, support Israel or — God forbid — are conservative.
For American Jewish parents, this moment must be unbearably painful. An impressive 84% of voters favor Israel over Hamas. Yet that consensus of concern collapses in academia, the American institution Jews most worship, and have over-invested in psychologically, financially, existentially. Cold-blooded academics and their fanatic minions at those career-making factories toast this bloodbath as “exhilarating,” “awesome,” and well-deserved payback.
Although American Jews feel it particularly — this abomination is not a Jewish issue. The moral abdication should concern every thinking parent. The October 7 perversions transcended any political battle or culture war. There’s much room to debate Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians or Israel’s options in fighting Hamas. These terrorists and their apologists challenge core moral values and civilizational norms. We’re not debating “Heather Has Two Mommies,” but warning: “Heather’s being brainwashed to celebrate evil.”
In an academy targeting microaggressions, which can include looking at a student in the wrong way, when we cannot say the “n-word,” who could tolerate “members of our community” celebrating ethnically-targeted mass murder, maiming, and gendered violence?
Anyone who cannot recognize that it’s never acceptable to gleefully slaughter civilians, to rape, to behead, to murder families en masse, is not qualified to teach students – at any level. Parents must become consumer activists, asking what kind of perverse ideologies are imposed on their children.
What happened was purposeful, cultivated, years in the making, only surprising to those asleep at the ideological wheel. Central to this brutal insensitivity, approving assaults on civilians and civilized norms is the trendy anti-colonialist ideology bewitching intellectuals today. Deeming Israelis “settler-colonials,” ranting that “this is what decolonization looks like,” these Ivy League jihadis dehumanize certain people for not fitting into the right category they artificially created.
Parents take note. Many high schools now push this anti-colonialist orthodoxy, embedded in anti-racist curricula, imposed after the justifiable disgust surrounding George Floyd’s murder. If one man’s killing challenged so many of us to reckon with America’s past — shouldn’t the mass killing of 1,400 (and counting) challenge us to reckon with its educational present – and our kids’ future?
Since October 7, we keep reading about those grade-grubbing radicals, crying for more blood, cowering behind their masks, shouting “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide, We want Jewish genocide.” Too many of us didn’t take seriously the genocidal intentions of the Hamas charter. In the aftermath, let’s take such cries literally, calling out the Israel-erasing slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.”
In her illuminating, depressing, Free Press essay, “Why My Generation Hates Jews ,” Julia Steinberg, a 21-year-old Californian, describes an exercise in her Los Angeles high school “where we made a T-chart dividing various ethnicities, religions, and other identities into the categories of ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed.’ Women: oppressed. Straight people: oppressor. Black people: oppressed.” Naturally, Steinberg also learned “that every white person is racist, and all men are evil.”
Many long warned that the self-esteem movement, which discouraged teachers from correct students’ misspelling, needed a course correction — but this is ridiculous. It’s child abuse, psychological warfare eviscerating kids’ natural identities. What parents want their sons being told they are inherently evil or that their whiteness is a crime? Fill in the blanks. There would be mass protests if others’ daughters were told they were inherently weak as girls or their blackness was a crime.
This categorical fascism must end. Admittedly, it’s hard for liberal parents to fight these illiberal grievance junkies and race baiters who flank them from their left. But liberals cannot allow their disgust for how Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis launched a “war on woke” to tolerate a war against their kids’ souls — and America’s founding ideals.
Marx distinguished between the blameless, virtuous, “oppressed,” and their evil “oppressors.” When anti-colonial theory weaponizes this divide, justifying “resistance” against oppressors by “any means necessary,” that Marxist brew becomes even more toxic. Beyond indoctrinating Steinberg’s peers “to believe that Jews are oppressors,” making “even our mass slaughter … justifiable revenge,” her teachers’ reductionism becomes homicidal — or at least mass-murder-positive.
From 1939 to 1945, Nazis pushed this kind of categorical fascism to its logical but evil limits — some lived, millions died. On October 7, Islamic fundamentalists once again showed how they treat dar al-harb — infidels who only deserve the sword — unlike those in dar al-Islam – those who voluntarily submit to Allah. Since that orgy of war crimes in Israel, anti-colonialists have shown a sadistic ability to relish the suffering of those they brand “settler-colonialists.”
The arc of history has been blown off-course. In the 1950s and 1960s, mass revulsion against the Holocaust boosted movements of people essentially saying: “stop imprisoning us in essentialist categories.” Auschwitz taught humanity not to dehumanize people based on race, color, or creed — or overly romanticize any people so much as to excuse every crime any of them committed. The civilized world saw the harm a “selektzia” could do: Reducing people to those worthy of living — and those deserving death.
Oozing egalitarianism, the civil rights movement succeeded by demanding equal rights for all, including blacks. Women’s liberation promised to liberate men too from their own sexual straitjackets. Gay marriage became legal and acceptable so quickly because activists didn’t want special treatment, only equal rights.
Thanks to Affirmative Action — and its resulting Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity Industrial Complex — being deemed one of the politically-correct oppressed now has cachet. Too many read Black Lives Matter as exclusive not inclusive – some academics had to apologize for saying “All Lives Matter.” Institutionalized gender-studies feminism often indulges in man-hating and man-bashing. And more traditionally-minded people are often ostracized for publicly uttering their thoughts about gender or sexuality.
Just as Israelis are on a wartime footing, American parents must mobilize immediately. Parents should go on a tuition strike — before the spring semester. They should put any further payments for this academic year into escrow accounts, gathering interest but inaccessible to their children’s institution until universities start fighting malpractice in the classroom and harassment on campus.
No parents should pay for their children to feel endangered or diminished. Parents must stop subsidizing institutions selling education but actually propagandizing, bullying and demeaning instead. Tuition strikes only work when dozens join on. And if the universities fight back, penalizing the students for their parents’ principles, it’s a win-win too. Academia will look terrible and the parents will look good — showing their children that there are more important things in life than getting good grades.
Those professors who hijack their podiums to serve as political platforms should be boycotted by students and prevented by administrators from teaching required courses. At this point, there are too many bigoted brainwashers to fire en masse , but it’s time to start marginalizing them. Parents should out and confront anyone who commits educational malpractice, pushing political theories rather than cultivating critical thought — or shaming students for deviating from the teacher’s thoughts. Administrators must monitor how students answer questions on course evaluations assessing how open the professors were to different opinions and how welcoming a classroom environment teachers create.
By standing up for their kids, parents will start showing their kids the value of standing up. I feel sorry for the various students reporting how unsafe, how bullied, how intimidated they have been. I don’t mean to embarrass anyone from the infamous Cooper Union video showing a handful of religious Jews barricaded in a library as pro-Palestinian protestors menace them, but why couldn’t those students learn something from their Israeli peers who run toward danger rather than away from it? Bullied students should get angry, not scared. In the 1960s, radicals shamed America. Defying police to beat them, they chanted “the whole world is watching.”
These students bullied by Jew-haters should have huddled together, whipped out their cellphones, exited proudly through the front door, started recording these laptop bullies, these careerist snowflakes, while shouting: “Your future bosses are watching!”
Never forget: These grade-grubbing radicals are as credential-addicted as their Jewish peers. Naming them, shaming them, should become routine. Let them speak freely but let them live with the consequences of endorsing violence and Jew-hatred on the new morally-recalibrated campus. As Harvard University’s Dean of Students creates a perverse task force “supporting” students who claimed to have been “Doxxed ” (internet speak for being outed), let the Campus Kapos start losing precious jobs because of their heinous positions. It’s not “Doxxing.” It’s called accountability.
Many mock modern parents as helicopters, forever hovering too close; as bulldozers, clearing the way for their kids; and as security cameras, monitoring them 24/7. Parents must become liberal lions and lionesses, fighting fiercely to make liberal arts liberal again – and inspiring their kids to roar along and, when necessary, fight fiercely too.
A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. He is, most recently, the editor of the new three-volume set, “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings,” the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People ( www.theljp.org ) . Two years ago he co-authored with Natan Sharansky Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People, was published by PublicAffairs of Hachette. Recently designated one of Algemeiner’s J-100, one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life,” Gil Troy is the author of The Zionist Ideas , an update and expansion of Arthur Hertzberg’s classic anthology The Zionist Idea, published by the Jewish Publication Society and a 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist.
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Prof Gil Troy · 20 Derech Bet Lechem · Apt 2 · Jerusalem 9310925 · Israel