Ignoronics: Critical Race Theory's ancestors ⋆ Politicrossing
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Ignoronics: Critical Race Theory’s ancestors

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In 1997 there was a massive push to get a newly created “language” made official so it could be required in education and accepted everywhere. They called it “Ebonics”, the combination of Ebony (black) and Phonics (sound or language). In reality, it was an effort to gain funding for a huge government infrastructure to not only “make it OK” but actually make it important to  learn and understand the language of the streets. The uneducated misuse of English, primarily in majority black communities.

Here’s an article I wrote about it at the time. This was submitted as a “letter to the Editor” for the Opinion page of the Los Angeles Times. I don’t think they ever printed it.

My satirical tone should be evident, but, though tongue-in-cheek, I was quite serious about the faulty thinking behind this attempt to alter our society by lowering our standards for language and education. 

The reason I’m publishing it today is to draw your attention to the strategies, tactics and actions of those who are pushing yet another idea that cannot be documented with facts: Critical Race Theory. Likewise this applies to the racist concept called “The 1619 Project.”

Letter to the Editor – In other words, “to whom it may concern.”

Subject: Ignoronics Education

Date: First written in 1997, revised in 2021

From: Business author & speaker, Jim Cathcart

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Author’s note: “Ebonics” is not a language. Treating it as such is an insult to the uneducated and an ineffective attempt to legitimize their ignorance. Taken seriously, and considering its broader implications, the following is worth your consideration.

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In light of the recent flap over the so-called “Ebonics”, I feel it is imperative that someone speak up for the other neglected minorities. Several million citizens of this country are educationally handicapped by the fact that they grew up in an American subculture that has its own “language.”

Their access to the American Dream is limited by the fact that their teachers often don’t look like them and don’t speak the same language that they do. In fact, their teachers haven’t even been trained in how to relate “standard” English to the English variation spoken within their subculture. This causes feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

We can’t continue to disenfranchise these citizens. They and their families work, vote and pay taxes in the United States and deserve equal access to a good public education. It is only right that we dedicate some of the public resources, money, to the creation of specialized training materials, teacher training seminars, teaching tools and increased public awareness of their problem. In this way they will feel more a part of the classes and be more likely to understand “standard” English.

Granted, only through the understanding and use of “standard” English will they be able to succeed. After all, the entire business community and media networks upon which our nation relies use “standard” English as their primary and, in most cases, only language. For that matter, the business community worldwide considers “standard” English the dominant language. Those who are not knowledgeable and skilled in the use of this language are indeed limited in their ability to get jobs, vote wisely, make sales, earn promotions, capture opportunities, solve problems, or just basically get by. We must correct this situation.

The disenfranchised groups to which I refer above are:

Rednecks, Foul Mouths, Hicks, Hillbillies, Street people (formerly known as “Hoboes”), Women (girl talk), Men (guy talk), Spanglish-speakers and possibly even more.

These folks deserve a break. Really. Each of them meets the basic criteria for consideration as a genuine subculture with its own language. Not slang mind you, but real languages.

  •          They have an identifiable culture. These cultures have endured for many generations. Their language is a matter of wide awareness and public record. Movies, books, How-to-speak-it manuals and tapes, famous figures (icons) and more have validated their worthiness for being considered a language.

For example: The Rednecks- Their look, behavior patterns, regional habitats, social strata, and language are widely acknowledged. They have worldwide roots and parallel subcultures. Comedian and actor Jeff Foxworthy has brought this to light most recently, but their roots go back to earlier years. Their language is called “Good Ole Bonics”, a combination of “good old boy” and “phonics”.

  •          Foul Mouths have the biggest problem of these groups. Their language, “Profanics”, (a combination of “profanity” and “phonics”) is widely known and in popular use. This is the longest lived of all the subcultures. Yet none of the existing education is geared to reaching them. They use words like “sh*t”, which has multiple meanings.

If used as “No Sh*t”, it either means, “I am not kidding you.” or “do you really mean that?” “Get your sh*t together” means “control yourself” or “get organized.”

Their word “D*mn” could mean, “Wow!”, or “Oops”, or “That makes me mad” or half a dozen other things depending upon context.

  •          The Hicks can be recognized by their dress, grooming, areas of residence and by their language. Their roots can be traced to rural locales worldwide. “Hayseedonics” contains such words and phrases as: “Dad burn!” meaning “I’m surprised or disappointed.” “It ain’t, dun it!” which means “No that is not so. I’m emphatic about that.” Perhaps the greatest lie being perpetrated today is that “ain’t” isn’t a real word. Ask anyone who was ever exposed to “Hayseedonics” if they are aware of this word. I’ll bet 100% of the population will say “Yes I know ‘Ain’t’ and even use it occasionally.”

As you can easily see, we can’t afford to overlook the individual needs and unique cultural differences of any group.

So let’s see what we can agree on. How about this:

  • All citizens deserve access to a good education. If they or their families are contributing to our society or economy then they deserve a shot at success. If they are not members of our society, then they should be educated by that country or society to which they belong. Those who don’t yet “belong” anywhere must then make a commitment to someplace before they can expect it to make a commitment to them.
  • The general population should not be deprived of resources by requiring them to accommodate exceptional requests made by those from each subculture. (Paid for through extra taxes and fees.)
  • This is not about race, religion or subculture. It is about learning the American language, the one self-advancement skill that transcends all others in the world today.
  • There is no such language as “Ebonics” and there never was. It is merely a word recently coined to describe the vernacular used by ignorant (read “not aware”) people primarily in the black community in the United States. In fact it is defined as “black English.” Well if it is Black English, then call it that. But don’t try to sophisticate it by the creation of a new word accompanied by a request for special funding or training to help teachers learn it. That is de-education.

If you want to make a case for Black English, then first establish the criteria which it must meet in order to be considered a language. Once those criteria are agreed upon, then they must also be applied to Rednecks, Foul Mouths, and You-name-its too.

After all, we are talking about public money here. Mine and yours. If our money is to be spent on it, then it must be fair to all races and subcultures. Money must also be set aside to teach the new language to all students. To be fair, surely Yiddish (a genuine language by all standards) qualifies much more fully than any of the languages currently under consideration. Its roots are deeper, the number who speak it greater and its culture more strongly established. And what about the several dozen Native American languages which predate English in this country? Many other “sub” cultures would qualify as well.

Let’s all just grow up and realize that we can’t attend to every person and group as much as we would like to. No society has the resources to support every non-mainstream aspect of its culture. And if it did, then the citizens would have no incentive to distinguish themselves through achievement. Besides, if the individual has no personal responsibility to make adjustments, then there is no pride in the adjustment and any learning that takes place is only of token value.

         Surely we don’t need to train teachers in “baby talk” so that they can meet infants on their own level and help them transition into speaking actual words.

There is no reasonable way on earth to dilute the public resources so thoroughly that all subcultures are accommodated fairly, except by requiring them to meet certain basic criteria on their own.

These are things such as:

Willingness to attend school during normal school hours.

Desire to learn and consistent action to prove it.

Appreciation of the fact that this education is being provided for them by the taxes paid by their neighbors and fellow citizens, you and me.

Willingness to let the teachers teach and not interfere with them by demanding special attention beyond the teacher’s job description.

Realizing that all people are self-made, but, as Earl Nightingale once said, “only the successful will admit it.”

In other words, we are all personally responsible for how we turn out.

Adults can make the world more accessible to children only to a point. That point is where the public resources, money and time, run out. From that point on, it is the individual’s responsibility to do what it takes.

Ask any well adjusted person from a limited or deprived background what it took for them to do so well. Without exception they will tell you that they took what they had, did their best with it and from there on, created their own opportunities through dedication, determination and hard work.

         So let’s take all the “languages” which grew out of ignorance of English and call them collectively, “Ignoronics.” Instead of dealing with them individually, treat them as a group. In this group of “languages” the common denominator is all of them are based on ignorance of English grammar. We can then offer a balanced menu of training which all can benefit from. Then every subgroup can still relate to it. That allows us to reach out to all subgroups without unfairly accommodating some while depriving others of such specialized attention. If we single out Black English for special attention, we ignore larger and possibly more deserving groups in the process. Let’s convert all who speak these many tongues into productive well adjusted citizens by showing them a better way to communicate and not by training our teachers to speak their “Ignoronics.”

 

 

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



 
 
 

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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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Education

Leftists Know Little of History, Naturally

What starts as supposedly benign socialist movements prove to be anything but that

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We pause on this long weekend to honor the memory of U.S. military personnel, regardless of their political leanings, who died in service to our nation. Concurrently, it is increasing evident that ignorance is a key factor in being a Leftist.

You have to know little about history and be sufficiently gullible to believe that your own mainstream media is presenting fair and accurate information to you. You have to think that the politicians for whom you’ve voted have your best interests at heart and have the best interests of the nation at heart, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Those on the Left have perpetrated some of the great crimes that humankind has yet witnessed. A brief walk through recent world history reveals that what started out as supposedly benign socialist movements proved to be anything but that.

Hopeless and Headless

The French Revolution in 1789 was a revolt by the bourgeoisie joined by commoners against the aristocracy. Their battle cry was liberty, equality, and egalitarianism. Yet, the regime that followed the French heuristic aristocracy proved to be barbaric.

The slightest transgression or suspicion that you were somehow against “the people” meant that it was off with your head. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people faced the guillotine in France between the years 1792 and 1977 (astonishingly the last year of beheadings in France).

In Denmark in 1803, then Great Britain in 1807, and America in 1808, the slave shipping industry came to an end. While slavery lingered on in Great Britain until 1837 and in America until 1863, there were no further slaves shipped across the Atlantic. Leftists would prefer that you didn’t know this. They want you to believe that America was not among the leaders in ending the Atlantic slave trade.

Always: Socialism Fails Everywhere

In 1917, as Vladimir Lenin returned from exile in Switzerland to Russia, and the Bolsheviks took power, their claims of egalitarianism also proved to be hollow. These socialists displayed that some comrades were “more equal” than others.

To be in the Russian government was to be in the ruling class; all others were deemed to be subservient. Lenin himself coined the term “useful idiots” regarding people who went along with the regime, not questioning the lies, subterfuge, bribes, cronyism, and outright theft of property, always for “the state” and never to be yours, no matter how hard you worked for it.

In 1933, headed by Adolf Hitler, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party came to power. It was a socialist movement, not a conservative movement as many would have you believe today. They had no intention of conserving numerous aspects of German government and German society. These Socialists were hell bent on overturning what came before them, similar to contemporary American Leftists. One of their chief objectives was to eradicate the nation of Jews, gypsies, intellectuals, and other undesirables.

Then, from September 1, 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland under false pretenses, until the time that the Allies were able to storm the beaches in Normandy and make headway through continental Europe, he held Europe and much of the rest the world at bay. All this was under the banner of socialism.

In all, Hitler reigned supreme for 12 years. Finally, he was defeated in the Spring of 1945 and allegedly committed suicide.

Bernie’s Democratic Socialism

Today in America, voices proclaim that socialism or, as Bernie Sanders calls it, Democratic socialism, is the only appropriate, moral, and effective way for our nation to proceed.

These Socialist advocates don’t want you to know what the net result has been around the world, over the ages, of those governments and peoples who have installed socialism. Socialism by its nature dampens the human spirit, rewards a handful of elites, and otherwise cripples entire economies.

Many believe that Scandinavian countries to this day, such as Sweden, are socialists. Actually, they did try socialism for a while and found it to be such a disaster that they abandoned the pretense.

Leftist Fairy Tales

Are the historical events and occurrences discussed above presented in high school history classes, or covered in college history classes? In college depending on what course you take it’s possible. In high school, I have never encountered anyone who has covered this ground.

High school history books and history teachers will talk about the Bolsheviks and the Nazis but don’t mention that they were socialist-based movements. As such, students remain ignorant of this historical reality.

And, the less you know, the more likely you can become a Leftist.

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