We’ve all heard stories about wealthy parents and how important it is for them to get little Elam or Bella into just the “right” private school, even the right pre-school. If their kids are going to get into Harvard or Yale, they reason, they have to create a perfect resume that starts at birth. That isn't new.
But some parents in moneyed areas of California and New York are questioning what the modern incarnation of these schools is doing to their kids. Only they don’t DARE talk about it.
I think a lot of us who’d heard about “cancel culture” might not have realized what a powerful and destructive force it’s become in America until the past week. That’s because it’s gone so far overboard that now it just feels crazy. A line was crossed. It was only a matter of time before this happened, because once canceling things became the mindset, it could never end; there was always something else to cancel. Once they got to Dr. Seuss, Pepe Le Pew and Dumbo, just about everybody was saying, “Hey, wait a minute!”
Among certain social and professional circles, however, the slightest deviation from this way of thinking is not permitted. And that’s what inspired an amazing article about parents who are at a loss for how to deal with their kids’ schooling, particularly the damaging messages constantly being sent about the evils of capitalism and whiteness.
The author, Bari Weiss, was invited to attend a very surreptitious meeting of parents in a West Los Angeles back yard, where they expressed an all-encompassing fear of speaking out against some of the things their kids were being taught. These small get-togethers are so top-secret, participants turn off their cameras and use pseudonyms for their Zoom calls. Their kids all go to the most prestigious school in town, Harvard-Westlake. Tuition: $40,000 a year.
What are their kids getting for that? Plenty...of garbage. It’s not just the highly ironic demonization of capitalism, but constant identity politics, a total focus on becoming an “anti-racist institution.” Here’s the mindset, as stated by the school.
After an analysis conducted by an “outside expert” who did a “school-wide assessment” in 2014, they made changes to their “curriculum, hiring practices, student programs and professional training.” Perceived racial inequity is treated as an “urgent crisis,” with anti-racism required “at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural levels...” The steps they’ve taken in the past several years “are far from being enough,” they say. Anti-racism must be “an essential element of our curriculum and culture.”
So how does that translate into the day-to-day experience of students? Well, as you might expect, the kids are being told that America is evil and that they bear collective racial guilt. “They are making my son feel like a racist because of the color of his skin,” one mother says. Parents describe this as an ideological movement that is taking over the schools.
No parents interviewed for this article allowed Weiss to use their names --- not one. They are terrified of being exposed. The school can ask kids to leave for any reason, and once this happens, according to one parent, “you’ll be blacklisted from all the private schools and you’ll be known as a racist, which is worse than being called a murderer.”
One parent who was born in a Communist country said, “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.”
The kids are fearful, too, of the social shaming that goes along with being identified as a racist, or even as a capitalist. “The kids are scared of other kids,” said one of the moms. Another mom said, “My son knew I was talking to you and he begged me not to. He wants to go to a great university, and he told me that one bad statement from me will ruin us. This is the United States of America. Are you freaking kidding me?”
The kids are described as anxious, paranoid, insecure, and closed off even from the kids who would otherwise be their close friends. And it’s much more important that they read WHITE FRAGILITY than to read Shakespeare (whom we’ve seen canceled or censored in some schools). The schools appear to be indoctrinating their students at the behest of the prestigious universities that will presumably be welcoming them. “The colleges want children --- customers --- that are going to be pre-aligned to certain ideologies that originally came out of those colleges,” said one STEM teacher.
This industry sounds like a mill that turns out good little anti-capitalists, race police and political warriors. And the kids know their futures depend on going along.
They’re even taught how to “speak woke,” as this is a complex and ever-evolving language. One school in Manhattan helpfully offers a 12-page language guide. I’ll bet they have to update it weekly, as we’ve seen once-approved terms such as “sexual preference” suddenly become offensive. (It’s not a “preference” –- last I heard, it’s an “orientation.”) And then there are all the pronouns. As the article says, “Fluency in ‘woke’ is an effective class marker and key for these princelings to retain status in university and beyond.”
Even the black kids who attend these posh schools and who can almost certainly look forward to a glorious professional life are brainwashed into thinking they are “oppressed” because of the color of their skin.
One math teacher in New York City said he felt as though he were in a cult and trying to keep the students from becoming members. He was alarmed at the toll it was taking on his students. “They are being educated in resentment and fear,” he said. “It’s extremely dangerous.”
Yes, even the math and science classes have been permeated by “identity” ideology. For example, in physics class, “they don’t call them Newton’s Laws anymore,” according to one upperclassman. “We call them ‘the three fundamental laws of physics.' They say we need to ‘decenter whiteness,’ and we need to acknowledge that there’s more than just Newton in physics.”
I suspect that if they ever had a statue of Sir Isaac Newton or Shakespeare on campus, it’s long gone.
The paranoid atmosphere at these schools is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984 --- isn’t it awful that we keep having to invoke that book these days? --- where everyone is constantly afraid of being “found out,” of not showing sufficient love for Big Brother or not looking hateful enough in the Two Minutes’ Hate. Every word, every expression is scrutinized. Whoever lets his guard down will be made a nonperson. And isn’t that very much like being canceled?
This is not going to change until families get out of their “elite” mindset and choose to get out of such a toxic system. To parents who are reaching the breaking point: you are not a racist just because some twisted prep-school faculty says you are. “Anti-racism” is poison. It IS racism. There are other ways to be well-educated (likely BETTER educated) and successful than to go to an Ivy League school.
Another big way to make change: stop giving these schools money. I notice that they talk a good anti-capitalist game but love money like Scrooge McDuck.