March 11, 2021

In Brief: The Miseducation of America’s Elites

The story of parents alarmed that top-tier private schools are teaching racism and cancel culture.

Bari Weiss, who left The New York Times last year amidst the paper’s rampant cancel culture, has a lengthy piece at City Journal regarding an interesting problem: “Affluent parents, terrified of running afoul of the new orthodoxy in their children’s private schools, organize in secret.”

Weiss is no conservative, and she says, “When I began working on this story, I didn’t feel that much sympathy for these parents.” But her story is about the “rebels” to pervasive radical leftist dogma. Some are “well-off Los Angeles parents who send their children to Harvard-Westlake, the most prestigious private school in the city.” Others send kids to Fieldston School in New York City. In all, Weiss interviewed “more than two dozen of these dissenters — teachers, parents, and children — at elite prep schools in two of the bluest states in the country: New York and California.” She adds ominously, “They are all eager for their story to be told — but not a single one would let me use their name. They worry about losing their jobs or hurting their children if their opposition to this ideology were known.”

No surprise, cancel culture and racist indoctrination are the root problems, and they’re happening in history, math, science, English — the works. She writes:

For most parents, the demonization of capitalism is the least of it. They say that their children tell them they’re afraid to speak up in class. Most of all, they worry that the [Harvard-Westlake’s] new plan to become an “anti-racist institution” — unveiled this July, in a 20-page document — is making their kids fixate on race and attach importance to it in ways that strike them as grotesque. …

One of the fathers … says he doesn’t have a problem with the school making greater efforts to redress past wrongs, including by bringing more minority voices into the curriculum. What he has a problem with is a movement that tells his children that America is a bad country and that they bear collective racial guilt.

Just as bad is the fear of speaking out, which would lead to shaming, relational trouble, and maybe bad grades. “The atmosphere is making their children anxious, paranoid, and insecure,” Weiss says, “and closed off from even their close friends.”

Weiss explains, “Power in America now comes from speaking woke, a highly complex and ever-evolving language.” And it’s totalitarian in its scope: “To resist this ideology is to go against the entire institutional world.”

That’s right. Far from being marginalized, these radical leftists are doing the marginalizing.

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