Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Richard Samuelson: How Should Slavery, Jim Crow, And Racism Be Taught In Schools?

This seems balanced and reasonable. I somewhat disagree with his claim that conservatives are misusing the term "critical race theory," for reasons I've stated a couple of times. Technically, he's partially right, though. 
   The main anti-progressive point is: (a) kids should not be taught a radical, anti-liberal, anti-American set of philosophical opinions, and (b) they should not be indoctrinated, and (c) they damn well shouldn't be indoctrinated into a radical, anti-liberal, anti-American set of philosophical opinions. 
One reasonable response to this is: for decades upon decades, kids have been indoctrinated with a conservative, liberal, panglossian, pro-American set of philosophical opinions, and so... There's a Marcuse/Kendian-style argument in there about fighting indoctrination with subsequent counter-indoctrination. Liberals and liberal conservatives tend to reject such arguments, and I'm no exception.
   Samuelson's suggestion may be too far on the anti-progressive side to satisfy progressives. I'm not sure he's right, but I don't think he's too far wrong.
  Another question: should kids be taught a purely objective view of American history? Or should schools be erring on the side of some practical goal--instilling civic pride and some commitment to the American project? I think that's a tough question. But I'm inclined to think that they should not aim to instill anti-Americanism in kids--however the previous question gets answered.
   I admit this is complicated. I just don't think that the radical, anti-liberal, anti-rationalist, leftist fad of the last fifteen minutes should be taught in K-12--and indoctrination of any kind is right out.


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