Commentary: Anatomy of the Woke Madness

Black Lives Matter Protest in DC, 5/31/2020

Wokeism has become our most popular secular religion—at least for a moment dethroning climate change. It reduces all of the past and present into puerile binaries between “whites” and “non-whites.”

Its aim is for the present generation to rewrite our history—whether by The 1619 Project and cancel culture or iconoclastic statue-toppling and Trotskyization of names and places. Wokeism becomes a child’s morality tale of noble non-white victims versus villainous white victimizers. Erasing the past and its language supposedly fuels a recalibration of the future, all in the here and now, a holy Year Zero

In the process, wokeism has done a lot of damage to America, and will do even more if left unchecked. Here are its chief characteristics.

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Shelby County Schools May Pay Up to $480K for Racial Justice and Equity Training

Shelby County Schools (SCS) may pay up to $480,000 for two racial justice and equity trainings offered by a social justice nonprofit. New Leaders, the nonprofit, offers trainings to develop equity-focused, anti-racist educational leaders, with an emphasis on teaching about race in the classroom and the end goal of achieving social justice.

The SCS Board of Education discussed the plan to contract this training during its Academic Performance Committee meeting on Monday.

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Mayor Andy Ogles Speaks at Town Hall Style Meeting in Leipers Fork with Hundreds of Concerned Conservatives

Andy Ogles

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor and lover of freedom, Andy Ogles in studio to discuss the surprise Conservative community that came out for a Town Hall style meeting in Leipers Fork Monday night.

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

A new poll shows that the majority of American voters are deeply opposed to having critical race theory (CRT) principles being taught in schools.

The survey, conducted by Competitive Edge Research for Parents Defending Education, also shows that people overwhelmingly prefer Capitalism to Socialism (61.8% to 31.4%), frown upon “cancel culture,” (62.7% to 10.6%) and believe the United States is headed “on the wrong track” (60.7% to 32.8%).

Additionally, more respondents had a negative opinion of Black Lives Matter, than had a positive opinion (48.1% to 44.4%).

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Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Has Radically Transformed America’s Corporations and Public Schools

People in the streets protesting

Just four weeks ago, I wrote about the rising resistance to the woke craze and critical race theory, and much has transpired since then.

Here in California, even Disneyland has not been spared the wrath of the crazies. On May 7, the incomparable Christopher Rufo reported that “The Wokest Place on Earth” now includes employee trainings on systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and white saviors, and also launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.

But just five days later, Rufo disclosed that Disney “has removed its entire antiracism program from the company’s internal portal, effectively scrubbing it out of existence.” Rufo added, “This is a major victory in the war against ‘woke capital,’” and noted that a “significant backlash from the public” was responsible for the shift. While some skeptics suggested that the policy was being “tweaked or rebranded, not scrubbed,” Rufo responded, “Possibly, but small victories start to add up. We’ve set the precedent—and forced a $329 billion company to back down.”

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Montana Attorney General Bans Critical Race Theory

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

The highest-ranking prosecutor in the state of Montana has declared Critical Race Theory to be a violation of state and federal law, and has banned the far-left theory in Montana’s schools, as reported by ABC News.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-Mont.) made his announcement on Thursday, after he was asked for his opinion by the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Erise Arntzen (R-Mont.). His declaration bans the concept not only from Montana’s schools, but from employee training as well.

The far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement criticizing Knudsen’s decision, falsely accusing him of attempting to “impose an alternate version of American history – one that erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of black and brown people.”

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Commentary: Concerns Grow About Critical Race Theory and Fostering Healthy Solutions in Williamson County Schools

Protestor with megaphone, talking

Critical Race Theory and its potential impact on students, and the broader community, has many parents worried in Williamson County. These worries have grown ever since Fostering Healthy Solutions (FHS) was hired – by unanimous vote by the WCS school board – to do an audit of the WCS system. FHS is Shan Foster’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultancy, which he co-founded with his mother, Anita Foster, in 2017. FHS was brought in to address charges of bullying and claims of incidents of racism in the WCS. The WCS School Board has paid FHS $55,000 over 4 months to help the district “provide a safe learning environment for all students by creating a cultural strategy plan”, according to an April 28 article in the Brentwood HomePage.

Fueling WCS parents’ concerns about FHS, are controversies regarding Critical Race Theory that are erupting in other school districts nationwide. The concern being, that firms like FHS are enacting programs in the name of “Diversity”, “Equity” and “Inclusion”, but hiding behind those nice-sounding terms is a bevy of lesser known CRT-based ideas. For example, concepts such as “white privilege”, “anti-racism” and “systemic racism”, as well as a “oppressor/oppressed” framework for understanding America. Oppressor/Oppressed narratives are rooted in Neo-Marxist philosophies and are usually presented as fact to faculty and students via DEI programs, rather than academic theory.

The Tennessee Legislature just banned the teaching of CRT in schools – with Governor Bill Lee signing HB 0580/SB 0623 – which penalizes funding to any school system that teaches CRT concepts. Still, the question many Williamson County parents have is, does CRT inform the worldview of the FHS’s founders?  And does FHS intend to use CRT concepts and ideas to guide discussions about DEI should their contract be renewed in July?

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Commentary: No Schools are Safe from Critical Race Theory – Even in Williamson County

Downtown Franklin, Tennessee

Williamson County? Never heard of it. What’s the big deal?

Well, a lot.

Williamson County, Tennessee is what you might call “Republican Heaven.” Just south of Democrat-stronghold Nashville, much of it is a gorgeous suburb, home to the likes of country star Luke Bryan of “American Idol” fame – on an 150 acre estate – and Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Its county seat, Franklin, has a downtown straight out of an updated version of Norman Rockwell, the kind of place you can get both great barbecue and haute cuisine.

That small city and county are growing like crazy in large part because they are also supposed to have one of the best public school systems in the country.

Supposed to…

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11 States Consider Bans on Teaching Critical Race Theory

Student raising hand in class

Earlier this year, an Aiken County teacher wrote to South Carolina state Rep. Bill Taylor in alarm about critical race theory emerging in public schools. 

“I know full well the insidiousness of the so-called critical race theory that aims to resegregate society, discriminate against those who are white, victimize those who are black, and render America a nation of identity groups rather than Americans,” the teacher wrote. 

Hardly a day goes by, Taylor said, that he doesn’t hear from a constituent on the issue. 

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Utah Legislature Passes Resolution to Ban Critical Race Theory from Schools

House Speaker Brad Wilson

Republicans in Utah’s state legislature passed a resolution on Wednesday to instruct the state’s schools to ban Critical Race Theory from their curriculum, as reported by Breitbart.

During the vote in the Utah House of Representatives, every single Democrat walked off the floor in protest of the bill, thus allowing the legislation to pass with only Republican votes. The “House Resolution on Critical Race Theory in Public Education” was subsequently passed by the Utah Senate. Because the measure is a resolution rather than a bill, it did not need the signature of Governor Spencer Cox (R-Utah) in order to pass.

House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Utah) said that with the resolution, the state legislature was “calling on the state school board to look at the curriculum and determine what the right parameters for this discussion to happen.”

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Professors, Parents Sound off on Proposal to Prioritize Critical Race Theory

Town hall meeting

The Biden administration invited the public to comment on its plan to place a priority on plications for a civics and history grant that incorporates Critical Race Theory in April. Americans had much to say about the polarizing proposal, which yielded more than 16,800 comments over a 30-day period.

In addition to comments made online, 22 parent and teacher groups signed on to a coalition letter to Secretary Cardona that says teaching Critical Race Theory may violate the rights of students to pursue an education without discrimination. The group, led by Parents Defending Education, writes that the proposal “creates the very real possibility that under the auspices of this grant program, discrimination will be introduced into classrooms across the country.”

Nicole Neily, founder and president of Parents Defending Education, told Campus Reform that the letter is a result of volunteers who are “the tip of the spear, out there, on the front lines, going to their school board meetings. These are all groups that have sprung up to address political indoctrination in schools.”

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Memphis City Council Adopts Resolution Opposing State Ban on Critical Race Theory

Memphis City Council Meeting

On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council adopted a resolution opposing the state legislature’s ban on critical race theory.

The item was added last-minute to the council agenda. Council members Martavius Jones, Michalyn Easter-Thomas, JB Smiley, Cheyenne Johnson, Rhonda Logan, Jeff Warren, Ford Canale, Frank Colvett, Edmund Ford, and Chase Carlisle sponsored the resolution. The council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution without discussion.

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Students at Christian University Call on School to Turn Away from ‘Falsehood’ That Is Critical Race Theory

University of Northwestern - St. Paul

Two students for the University of Northwestern – St. Paul have launched a petition calling on the school to turn away from Critical Race Theory and other progressive ideologies, arguing that such theories run counter to the school’s Christian foundation.

Students at Northwestern St. Paul University Hayley Tschetter and Joshua Feland created a change.org petition warning the community about “destructive” concepts that are becoming commonplace in higher-education.

“Intentional or not, exchanging the biblical worldview and faithful Christian teaching for those worldviews rooted in anti-biblical ideologies such as Marxism, Postmodernism, Social Justice Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality leads down a destructive one-way road from which you cannot return.”

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Tennessee General Assembly Passes Bill Banning Critical Race Theory Tenets in K-12 Schools

Classroom of students.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill effectively banning critical race theory (CRT) from K-12 education. The legislature had to create a conference committee on Wednesday to resolve the legislature’s conflict on amending language effectively banning CRT in schools. That conference committee not only approved the ban – they added onto the ban. In addition to the original language of the bill outlining and banning 14 tenets of CRT, The Tennessee Star was informed by State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) that the conference committee report added on three tenets. In effect, these tenets further defined the prohibited conclusions typically advanced by CRT.

“(12) The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups; (13) All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; or (14) Governments should deny to any person with the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law[,]” read the added provisions.

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Tennessee House Passes Bill Banning Critical Race Theory from K-12 Schools

On Tuesday, the Tennessee House passed a bill effectively banning critical race theory (CRT) in K-12 schools. The bill doesn’t mention CRT explicitly, but it does prohibits CRT’s main tenets – such as the belief that America is fundamentally and systemically racist, and that an individual can be inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive based on their race or sex. The amended version of the bill will now head to the Senate for review. During the third and final hearing before the House, State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) gave a lengthy speech expounding on the fundamental founding principles of our country.

“[I]t is time that we support educating our children in fixing what is wrong with America with what is right with America,” said Ragan. “We must create an educational climate where every student is an individual, not just part of some group. Moreover, that educational climate must teach students that they can realize their own unique dreams through hard work and meritorious achievement.”

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Tennessee Legislature Moves to Ban Critical Race Theory from K-12 Schools

State Representative John Ragan

Critical race theory (CRT) should be banned from Tennessee’s schools, according to an amended bill pending a final hearing in the Senate. Although the words “critical race theory” don’t appear in the amendment, it does address CRT tenets at length.

The bill now prohibits schools from using curriculum or any supplemental materials that promote conclusions of hierarchies or prejudices based on race or sex, or depict the United States as “fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist” and therefore worthy of overthrow. If any school violates these provisions, the Education Commissioner may withhold any amount of state funding from that school. These provisions appear at the tail end of the 14-page bill.

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Bill Proposes Mandating Stricter Guidance with State Curriculum Standards, Limits to LGBT Material

The General Assembly is considering a bill to enforce stricter adherence to state curriculum standards, effectively limiting LGBT instructional materials. The bill was introduced by State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) last month. State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) submitted the companion bill shortly after.

Although the House Education Instruction Subcommittee was scheduled to review the bill on Tuesday, it was rolled back to next week. Griffey told The Tennessee Star that changes will be made to the bill to refocus it on stricter adherence to enforcing current state standards – not just LGBT material in classrooms. 

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Critical Race Theory in Our Backyard: Metro Nashville Public Schools’ ‘Equity Roadmap’

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may be the next leader in critical race theory (CRT) integration into classrooms. Their “Equity Roadmap” largely originated with MNPS’s newest Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Executive Officer, Ashford Hughes Sr. – a big CRT advocate and outspoken anti-racist.

Hughes served previously as the Chief DEI Officer for Nashville Mayor John Cooper from February 2018 until October 2019. During that time, Hughes submitted a report that was also called a “roadmap” to achieve DEI throughout all of Metro Nashville – the “DEI Roadmap.”

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Commentary: Southern Baptist Seminary Presidents Announce New Rejection of ‘Critical Race Theory’

In a stunning reversal on November 30, presidents of the six Southern Baptist seminaries issued a joint statement that said, “we … declare that affirmation of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Intersectionality, and any version of Critical Theory (CT) is incompatible with [our confessional standards].” Just a year and half earlier, at their 2019 annual convention, Southern Baptists passed Resolution 9, affirming CRT and intersectionality. Had Southern Baptist leaders been unaware that CRT is a subset of CT, which itself is the main ideological underpinning of neo-Marxist revolutionary movements?

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Attorney General Mark Herring Fights Trump’s Order on Diversity Training

Ahead of the election, Attorney General Mark Herring asked President Donald Trump to rescind his executive order on diversity training.

Herring co-signed a letter complaining about the potential limitations imposed on “implicit bias trainings for federal contractors and federal grantees.” Implicit bias refers to the idea that individuals aren’t aware of their attitudes or stereotypes about others.

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Parents Submit Letter to Betsy DeVos Requesting Civil Rights Investigation into Loudoun Schools

Parents have submitted a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting a civil rights investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). These parents requested that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to determine whether LCPS violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution, as well as President Donald Trump’s “Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping.” 
The letter alleged that LCPS engaged in discrimination when it excluded non-Hispanic and non-Black parents from federally-funded focus groups; mandated staff training on “implicit bias,” including white privilege, white supremacy, and unconscious bias; restricted disciplinary action on minority students to make data proportional; and excluded staff and student members from opportunities based on race.

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Non-Colored Students Need Not Apply: Loudoun County Public Schools Initially Barred White Students from Equity Ambassador Program

In the initial draft of a student equity ambassador program informational packet, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) barred students who weren’t colored from admission into the program.

Under “III. Process for Selecting Student Equity Ambassadors” the second process listing guidelines specifically mentioned students’ skin color as a qualifying factor.

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