I know a few people who were home-schooled as kids, and who grew up to be fine, decent people. I even new one who was incredibly precocious and was tutored (in addition to a good private school education) by both father and mother. Everyone in my high school class knew he was going to be somebody in the sciences and, he is! Yay!
But for other kids, a home schooling is the first stage in producing a child that is deliberately blinkered, propagandized from birth, and otherwise manipulated by parents, for political or religious objectives. The child has no say in all of this. I know one young lady who grew up this way, and her parents elided all information about evolution from her education. That’s a shot below the water-line if you want to grow up understanding anything about biology. How can a parent do such a thing to their own child? Simple: understanding evolution would raise a child that might see through their sham religion, and then they’d watch the next generation of their religious extremists walk out the door without religion getting a chance to shit in their minds. I have actually known two young women who were home-schooled; in the second case it was also to hide the fact that her father, her teacher, was sexually abusing her.
Now, I’m going to be naughty: home-schooling ought to be outlawed. Sure, you can teach all you want at home, in addition to what the schools teach. But it’s your challenge to address how evolution is wrong, if you can. It bothers me absolutely profoundly that there are parents that are allowed to open their kids minds and shit in them, like this. But, as we like to say here at stderr “it gets worse.”
Home-schooling isn’t just a way of wrecking your kid’s education and ruining their chances at a STEM career, it’s a great way of raising a little racist. This is one of the great, untold, things that it seems everyone knows about home-schooling but nobody likes to say. Here, we’re not afraid of making chili out of sacred cows; hell, we even criticize the F-35 – so let’s talk a bit about home-schooling. For one thing, the US had an OK public school system. Then, there was that whole “separate but equal” belly-laugh thing Plessy V Ferguson (1896) which undid one of the most important things, other than the “40 acres and a mule” that could have helped grind away at systemic racism in the US: the educational system. Plessy V Ferguson allowed the south to maintain separate schools, and pretty quickly you had white southern motherfuckers re-implementing their segregationist crap on school-kids. Black kids had schools that were bad, white kids had schools that were pretty nice. And that continued until the civil rights movement got the schools integrated.
When the schools were integrated, white people freaked out. Some of the kids were coached to hate the black kids that were coming into their schools, but it was the parents that freaked out. So what happened next, I bet you’ll never guess: yep, white parents “fled” their kids into parochial schools, because the parochial schools could be subtly racist and just put up a front of an “admissions program” that appeared to be interested in all kids, but – wasn’t. Also, white parents fought tooth and nail to re-segregate their schools. Bloomberg has a pretty good article about this; I remember reading it before it went behind a paywall; maybe you can get it if you haven’t looked at more than a few Bloomberg articles this month [When White Parents Won’t Integrate Public Schools]
I bet you won’t be shocked to learn that part of what drove “white flight” to the suburbs was schooling. See, if you move to an almost entirely segregated suburb, and inner city kids can’t get to your fancy whitey mcwhiteface school, you’ve accomplished Jim Crow without having to stand up and say it. In fact, and this is definitely not talked about enough, schools (especially parochial schools) are allowed to have their own admissions standards – and some of them include: IQ tests. Yup, that’s right – they include the old “post hoc ergo propter hoc” test, which anyone who has studied psychometrics has discarded in horror. Of course they don’t really care about the IQ test, they’re just happy to have discovered that it can be used to discriminate (so sorry) passive-aggressively and deniably.
When that doesn’t work, parents can always home-school. I know that a “conservative” or a republican would make all sorts of noises like, “You know who else had community schools? Mao! That’s who! Waaah! Cultural revolution, Marxism, waaah waah!” etc. It’s a plaintive sound but my problem is when I hear it, I want to stab someone through the windpipe with a fork. Hey, don’t blame me, I had an expensive education at an elite all-boys school that operated along some kind of interpretation of a victorian British prep school, and stabbing people with forks is very much a British upper-crust sort of thing to do. But that’s what’s going on: the parents that are all concerned about “rights” are actually concerned about maintaining racist or religious, most likely both, prejudices for another generation.
And, if you were wondering what Betsy DeVos was there for, in the Trump administration: she was basically trying to reverse reconstruction at the college level, by making good schools unaffordable for anyone who is not a member of the oligarchy. Imagine a future where the only kids who get a great college education and a guaranteed golden ticket career path are the children of great specimens of humanity like Matt Gaetz and whatnot. If you can’t – Betsy DeVos could.
[Center for American Progress]
Austin, Texas, is one of the most racially diverse, culturally vibrant, and progressive cities in the nation. But for residents, the city splits into two worlds with vastly different living experiences. On the west side lies Austin’s affluent population: about 200,000 residents who have accumulated some of the greatest amount of wealth in the world. To the east, more than half of local residents live 200 percent below the poverty line. Although Austin, Texas, is considered “America’s next great boomtown,” it is also one of America’s most economically segregated cities.
The city’s long history of segregation can be felt in the public schooling system. More than three-quarters of Austin’s public schools, for instance, have a poverty rate that is either 80 percent and higher or 40 percent and lower.
Let me translate that into something more clear: “Yo, Austin shit on ‘separate but equal'” and even that was bad. I don’t agree with the second paragraph up there – it’s not that the “long history of segregation can be felt…” but rather: the sneaky segregationist motherfuckers figured out a way of mooting de-segregation. Guess what? They’re probably the same people who are figuring out how to moot the minority vote. Guess what? They’re white supremacists who are trying to make sure that they can pass their white supremacy ideal on to another generation of kids.
Millions of students across the country attend schools that are intensely segregated by economic status. Today, 40 percent of all low-income children – or 10 million students – attend schools with poverty rates reaching 75 percent or higher.
10 million kids. Gosh, this is like that old joke “to talk about feminism is to justify feminism” – well, to talk about systemic racism is to realize how systemic and horrible it is. And, to realize that it didn’t just happen. It happened because there are a lot of suburban white mom and pop perfect that are racist motherfuckers. They’re also the ones who voted Trump into office, hellooooooo?
Rising income inequality has contributed to these trends of economic segregation and thus further exacerbates many of the nation’s student achievement issues. When it comes to high-school completion, students attending high-poverty schools – or schools where at least 75 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch – only have a 68 percent chance of graduating. In comparison, students attending low-poverty schools – or where 25 percent or less of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch – have a 91 percent chance of graduating.
That’s among the families that send their kids to public schools. [A note for British imperialists, our “public schools” are your “private schools” and vice-versa] There are also the model racist parents, or religious zealots, that don’t trust even that lopsided system, and want to make sure their kids are raised in a well in a basement. [Yes, I watched Silence of The Lambs earlier this week] None of this ought to be legal in a free republic: there should be educational standards that include sex ed, virology, evolution, physics, planetology, and some of what we know about the universe. They should not touch upon bronze-age maunderings of desert gomers. They should include some content on philosophy and skepticism. None of this “Jesus was a great philosopher” because Socrates’ head would fucking explode if someone in the forum said something that dissectable in his presence.
Everyone watching this train-wreck wrings their hands with a sort of “this is complicated, what do we do?” Well, that’s simple:
- Remove all tax breaks from parochial schools and a parochial school education is not considered sufficient. You can attend classes all you want in a parochial school, but you don’t graduate unless you spent a requisite number of hours and pursued an established curriculum in a public school.
- Home-schooling is only for kids with serious medical conditions. And keep an eye out for white supremacists smashing their kids’ knees, which they will do. You don’t graduate unless you spent a requisite number of hours and pursued an established curriculum in a public school.
- Private schools? Spend all the time you want there, but you don’t graduate unless you spent a requisite number of hours and pursued an established curriculum in a public school.
- Lastly: all public schools are funded from a pool that is evenly distributed.
Yes, I just said it: shut down the private schools and home schooling. One of the great engines of equality is education, and if the US were serious about equality, it would reach for the obvious lever that I am pointing at.
Also, I didn’t talk about the last point on my list because it causes mind-searing headaches in anyone rational. Here is how the US public school system works: everyone in a jurisdiction pays a school tax, which pays for the local school. Wait, what?! Yes, that is correct. So that means a really rich county that has done a good job of keeping poor people, non-white people, and immigrants out – they can have a really nice school because the tax-base is large and all the parents will gleefully contribute to their little Chateaux D’if. So, a poor neighborhood that has a depressed economy: they can only afford a school that has to scrape by on gear and salaries, etc. There is no way a system like that evolved by accident and the purpose of setting the system up that way was to re-implement Jim Crow segregation based on underlying economics. When you add red-lining to the mix, yeah, you have stories like Katherine Johnson [wik]:
Johnson showed strong mathematical abilities from an early age. Because Greenbrier County did not offer public schooling for African-American students past the eighth grade, the Colemans arranged for their children to attend high school in Institute, West Virginia. This school was on the campus of West Virginia State College (WVSC). Johnson was enrolled when she was ten years old.
A genius child having to travel to a school outside of her neighborhood, because that school had a good enough tax-base to teach advanced math? Yeah, you want to guess what was the majority color at the school where she grew up? And what was the majority color at the school where she finally got access to the education she needed? Why I am I asking you these stupid rhetorical questions? It’s bad technique because you already know the answer.
But wait, what is this bony, ghostly, shrouded figure that just plucked at my elbow? Oh My God, it’s the Ghost of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. And it’s pushing at the keyboard, oh my god…
A government is not legitimate that does not provide for the weakest of its citizens, to help lift them up. After all, the successful burgher does not need the government’s help. A petit bourgeois might need a nudge one way or another but they are also doing well. It is the weakest citizen, the one that needs remedial education or tutoring, or training materials that they cannot otherwise afford – it is society’s duty to provide such things; after all, that is its purpose.
I did not type that. Wait, so what Rousseau was saying (he left, btw, thank goodness) (I don’t need a ghost to take over my blog) is that our school system should shift money and resources from areas where there is economic succeess, to areas where there is need? Because the areas where there is economic success are, by definition, doing fine? Next you’re going to tell me that the kids in Millionaire’s Row are going to have to have a bake-sale and hope Elon Musk walks by and drops some more bitcoin on them? The entire way that US public schools is designed to make it possible to economically segregate them. If your school is over-endowed and the non-white kids’ school is not, it’s Plessy V Ferguson all over again, god damn it. Oh, that was what Rousseau’s parting words were, I couldn’t make them out well over his accent and ghostyness: “c’est ce emmerdement de Plessy V Ferguson, zut, alors!”
I have mentioned this elsewhere: Rousseau is treated as an important enlightenment philosopher, today, because he cooked up the “social contract” stuff that today’s potemkin Democracies wave about to argue that they are legitimate. But those jackanapes [a special canape made with jack cheese?] forget that Rousseau was pilloried at the time for writing “a manual for revolutions” when he proposed that a society that can’t take care of its weakest members is violating the social contract. Whups. I suspect his ghost, even dead this 240 years, has been working up quite a head of steam over the US’ fake legitimacy. I wish he’d go haunt Betsy De Vos; maybe take over one of her yachts.
The US educational system was designed to neatly re-segregate along economic lines, which – of course – means racial lines. Although, to be fair, there are probably some classists in there, too, who don’t want their little Muffy and Karen and Brett having to go to school with (whispers) poor kids. They’re not racist, they hate poor people and it’s mere coincidence that white America has made sure that Black people are poor. [And now, if you want to understand why hip-hop billionaires like the amazingly stylish Sean Coombs and Jay-Z make white people uncomfortable: they have been raised to kiss rich people’s asses and to hate black people and that “pop” you heard was the transmission in their head shifting from 6th to reverse without the clutch]
OK, all that was warm-up. I don’t know if you noticed that I flagged this as “Reviews of things” – this is, actually a sort of review of a very important and fascinating book called Raising Racists by Kristina DuRocher. I have added it to my Recommended Reading List [stderr] she unpacks the environment of ideology and propaganda that children in the Jim Crow south were raised with, and gives us a view into how their violently racist parents systematically raised generations of racist kids.
Parental guides reflected how southerners approached their charge of safeguarding children by teaching them the South’s unique vision of society. Ultimately, parents, whether they consulted advice manuals or not, shaped their children’s lives by teaching them their expected social roles. In doing so, white parent employed the private sphere of the home to educate their children in the racial and gender roles required to maintain their world. These lessons often included teaching their children a racialized vocabulary, telling stories that reinforced their own racial opinions, and encouraging white-supremacist behaviors. For parents, the goal of this instruction was to lay the foundation that would prepare their children to combat African American opposition to segregation. Consequently, they taught their children that they, as whites, bore the burden of their race in keeping African Americans subordinate to whites.
Someone tell Tucker Carlson.
As [three] white women learned the language of white supremacy as young girls, they also achieved a sense of their social positions based foremost on their white skins. Anne Braden’s mother took pains to teach her daughter the appropriate behavior for an aristocratic young woman. “You never call colored people ‘ladies’ her mother lectured. “You say colored women and white lady – never colored lady.” Her instruction in racial etiquette reinforced her own racial identity, for as a white, Braden would grow up to be a “lady” a status of privilege and respectability reserved for whites. Even a lower-class white woman could be a “lady” but an African American woman never could be one, regardless of her social position. Sara-Patton Boyle learned a similar lesson from her mother. One day as young Sarah addressed a business letter to an African American, she asked her mother if she should write “Mister” in front of his name. “Oh, no, darling,” she said, “You don’t use Mister to a negro even on an envelope.” […]
Such lessons in the appropriate use of language in the era of Jim Crow demonstrated to the girls the power of address. Mothers taught their daughters the appropriate etiquette and social behaviors. Just as Boyle felt she had failed to reinforce the proper racial boundaries, Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin remembered learning that her failure to act appropriately would lead to the unthinkable: “To be ruled by negroes! The slave ruling over the master!”
These are the grand-mothers and great-grand-mothers of the massive, silent, iceberg of white suburban women who pushed Donald Trump into office. And they knew exactly what they were doing.
These stories encouraged racial separation as southerners created a society that perpetuated the idea of social difference, with an inferior group and a superior group. For whites, this was deemed necessary to create solidarity, and indoctrination into this caste system, which defined behaviors by each race, occurred early in life. For the white children of the New South these lessons were at times contradictory and confusing, for unlike in a permanent caste system, Jim Crow could not enforce a complete separation of the two races. African Americans worked in white homes and interacted with white adults and children on a daily basis. This contact made it vital that parents control their children’s social relations with African Americans and teach them to keep white private space and the white body away from blackness.
Katherine Du Page Lumpkin’s parents enrolled her in the children’s Ku Klux Klan. She recalled, “We were happy in it for the aid and blessing it won from the adults.”
I’ll stop there. Southerners used the most intimate levers to control their own children, to pass on their legacy of racism. It is unforgivable.
And, that’s what’s going on with the Whiny White Backlash (WWB) “I’m not a bad person, I don’t see race.” You don’t see race because you were raised in such a pervasively racist environment, you damn betcha it ruins your whole day when you start to realize that you have absorbed horrible attitudes from your parents – the people who you should trust – who indoctrinated you into a racist. It’s got to suck. I know it sucks. Doesn’t it? It’s like waking up and realizing that your parents were members of an SS Einsatzgruppen. Because, that’s about right. The US has been a brutal racist apartheid regime since before the colony separated from the English empire. Now, it’s an imperialist brutal racist apartheid regime that is trying desperately not to know itself. That’s all that’s going on with the push-back that we’re experiencing: it’s denial. Your parents really were that bad, and – unless you’ve struggled to defeat the programming they forced into you, you probably are, too. Maybe they taught you you were tough and independent, too. If so, go look in a mirror and see if you really like what you are.
Katherine Johnson, by the way, is an interesting case-study in “superiority.” She was unquestionably a better mathematician (can we say “smarter”?) than her white fellow-students. But the white supremacy system tried pretty hard to hold her back. Its plan for her was to work as a house-cleaner for a white supremacist homeowner in some suburb. But, instead, she wanted to math. And, math she did. Her math skills placed her in a position where her accomplishments show how obviously superior she was to most white people. Well, fuck, that’s awkward. I bet that she would have crushed an IQ test, too. But if she hadn’t been supported by some loving and tenacious parents who bucked the system for her, would she have developed into the orbital talent she became? Again, this is why I believe that artists like Sean Coombs, and Jay-Z and (yes, even) Kanye West make white america extremely uncomfortable: they are smooth, tasteful, elegant, and rich as fuck. They have all the chips that say “superior white guy” on them, but they’re not white. Oops. Concept-lock. All white America can do is come up with some limp-pasta with no sauce shit like, “I don’t like rap and hiphop music.” Yeah, of course you don’t cracker.
There is another piece to this puzzle that I don’t see anyone putting on the table, yet. DuRocher did a good job of digging into women’s journals and pulling out childhood indoctrination. But what about the boys? Let me tell you some things about American men that really don’t add up:
- They seem to be disproportionately afraid of home invasion attacks
- 3% of gun owners own 90% of the guns (if you are afraid of home invasion attacks you don’t need more guns than you can carry)
- Nearly all of the “giant collection” gun owners are white
- What the fuck, exactly, are they protecting themselves from? Of course that is a rhetorical question and I know the answer and so do you. They’re not “protecting” themselves from anything, they’re ready to re-enact the Tulsa race massacre, that’s what they have the guns for.
The fact, mr white gun owner, is that the person who is going to fuck you and invade your home is your boss. You should be talking about how you need your gun to defend yourself when your boss prevents unions from being established at amazon warehouses – instead of talking about how you need your gun to defend you against home invasion. And who, in that nightmare scenario, is invading your home? Is it a Black man, or is it your boss? Or a cop? White American gun owners are Rousseau’s receipts that show the US is a potempkin society.
And, did I mention: burn the catholic schools. And sift through the foundations and properly bury all the bones you’ll find. It’s like a crazy-world version of the Karens who justify anything Donald Trump did, because he was the embodiment of their white supremacist agenda: the catholics are going to be excused and the whole murderous child rape thing will get swept under the rug, because the catholic church has aligned itself with American white supremacy. QED and all that. Ecrasez L’Infame.
Update: The Nation has an excellent article that I think is more or less in line with what I have said above:
Many Children Left Behind – How did American education become so unequal? By Megan Erickson