Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Training Children to be Activists

 

Our children have already been brainwashed in our schools with the dogma of Leftism, including the hatred of America, its Founders and its values. But the indoctrination has become more extreme than I thought: We are teaching our children to be activists.

I’m not just talking only about teenagers; I’m talking about grade school children being taught about social justice, about hating conservatives and about denigrating those who think differently than they do in a formal curriculum. Some people are having doubts about the process:

Yes, I want my children to understand injustice and the mechanisms through which it persists. I want them to be able to identify when they or their friends are being treated with small-mindedness and have the tools to reject it. Most of all, I want them to know that we all share the responsibility of fixing what is broken in our world.

Still, despite all this, and the fact that I’ve spent much of my professional life pushing for change, I’m hesitant about mixing children with activism. My biggest fear? Their certainty. I don’t want them to grow up sure of their righteousness and that if they are the good guys, well, the other guys must be bad. I worry about how tribalistic America is becoming, the degradation of our civil discourse and the us vs. them, zero-sum thinking that has found its way into debates, large and small. I hear toddlers refer to President Donald Trump as a ‘monster,’ and although I’m not a fan of his policies or demeanor, I cringe. I really don’t want to help perpetuate this for another generation.

Many parents have no clue that they’re children are being taught in this way. In some instances, children are repeating the radical language that their friends are using, or they are mimicking their parents.

Have you forgotten the school walk-outs for gun control? Teachers and administrators decided to either sanction these activities or try to downplay them. But they are now essentially encouraging the formation of cults:

The country doesn’t know the worst of the grade-school protest abuse because it takes place in ultra-progressive schools where all parents are of the same mind, and no one blinks an eye at it. In rare occasions when some parents oppose it, they keep quiet or resolve issues on the local level for their kids’ sake. Conformity rules.

And conformity or not, these kids are not ready for the public forum. Their opinions and defenses are not well-formed. We’ve all seen it: ridiculous signs, silly clothes, shanty towns erected on public land. All of it is particularly sad when it involves hapless teens many of whom will either come to regret their sweet innocence splattered all over the webs, or end up having their future ruined by ideology — possibly both.

Black Lives Matter has been active over the last couple of years in placing their curriculum in schools all over the country:

In 2018, school districts in more than 20 major cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle incorporated BLM at School Week into their curricula, and still more participated this year.

Incorporating BLM’s ideas into K-12 school curricula extends beyond one week of each school year. In a letter of support, BLM co-founder Opel Tometi describes the effort as ‘a new uprising for racial justice’ in the nation’s schools.

The editors of Rethinking Schools, a trade publication dedicated to advancing the agenda of the social-justice left in classrooms, declare: ‘We need to transform our schools into sites of resistance to a system that devalues Black lives.’

At one time we might have thought that protests were harmless. But we know now that they can turn violent and hateful in just moments, essentially becoming riots:

A protester is swallowed by the masses, chanting, singing, agitated. He makes acquaintances with friendly strangers, all of them are moved by the same cause. He feels a sense of belonging; the righteousness of a cause is confirmed by the — usually overestimated — size of the crowd, and since the cause is righteous, he feels justified in doing anything he deems necessary to advance it. All of a sudden, he finds himself acting out something only an hour ago he found unconscionable, like chanting an embarrassing ditty, burning a flag or throwing a rock. His self is broken, and he is ecstatic.

There are now online schools at all levels that offer an activist agenda. Social justice is part of their curriculum:

A wide-ranging concept, social justice is concerned with any mistreatment of an individual by society. In the case of student activism, this may relate to student mistreatment by the school administration. Issues span from racism and sexism to access to healthcare or education, and students often join with larger activism groups to amplify their collective voice.

Sounds innocent, doesn’t it? But we know that “amplifying their collective voice” can go beyond the idealistic and collegial.

The Leftist agenda has invaded our schools; it’s difficult to know if there is any way to remove that curricula. But now they are taking indoctrination to the next level which engages students beyond the intellectual and theoretical: our children will be in the streets promoting these Marxist and anarchist ideas. Who knows which protests will become riots?

Have we lost our children completely to the Left’s agenda?

 

Published in Education
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  1. MarciN Member

    I’ve seen this so many times. Even in my own education in a high school north of Boston. Even as a kid I thought it was wrong.

    I would love to see a school take on the job of teaching how to recognize, analyze, and resist propaganda. That was what we should have gotten out of studying the Nazis. The propaganda came first.

    • #1
    • August 31, 2020, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
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  2. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Have we lost our children completely to the Left’s agenda?

     

    I think we are about to find out.

    • #2
    • August 31, 2020, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The core problem in education is that parents have very little control over the curriculum and often no opportunity to reject an intolerable school. If schools were not funded and directed by government, there would be plenty of uneducated and miseducated kids; but not more than we witness today with public education. Students would not so easily be made pawns in political games.

    But I’m sure there would be plenty to complain about in a truly free market of education as well. 

    We must deal with the system we have. That begins simply with the courage of students, as directed and supported by parents, to defy particular mandates in school. It must be made clear to educators and administrators that their power is not absolute. 

    That is the foundation of American liberty: an assertion of natural rights. We believe that governments are not omnipotent and may not violate certain core values. Such liberty is achieved not by law but by will. We must reassert the limits of civil authorities. 

    Doing so will be a painful process. As Dennis Prager says, anyone who won’t risk bad grades for liberty won’t stand up when more is on the line in professional and family life later. 

    • #3
    • August 31, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’ve seen this so many times. Even in my own education in a high school north of Boston. Even as a kid I thought it was wrong.

    I would love to see a school take on the job of teaching how to recognize, analyze, and resist propaganda. That was what we should have gotten out of studying the Nazis. The propaganda came first.

    It would have been the perfect opportunity to focus on the dangers of totalitarianism and tyranny, wouldn’t it @marcin? The next thing you know they’ll be holding up Hitler as an example of a great leader. They already celebrate Mao–never mind that he killed as many as 80 million people.

    I don’t remember learning anything close to this stuff in school, but I’m older than you (I think). It’s amazing what can happen in just a few years.

    • #4
    • August 31, 2020, at 7:57 AM PDT
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  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    We must deal with the system we have. That begins simply with the courage of students, as directed and supported by parents, to defy particular mandates in school. It must be made clear to educators and administrators that their power is not absolute. 

    It’s clear that parents must become more engaged, @aaronmiller. No longer can we cling to the myth that teachers can be trusted and should be obeyed. And we must educate our children about how to engage with their teachers early on. It will be a risky line to tread, to tell children when and how to push back. And as you say, it will be painful for all concerned.

    • #5
    • August 31, 2020, at 8:00 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Rodin Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Doing so will be a painful process. As Dennis Prager says, anyone who won’t risk bad grades for liberty won’t stand up when more is on the line in professional and family life later. 

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    It’s clear that parents must become more engaged, @aaronmiller. No longer can we cling to the myth that teachers can be trusted and should be obeyed. And we must educate our children about how to engage with their teachers early on. It will be a risky line to tread, to tell children when and how to push back. And as you say, it will be painful for all concerned.

    @aaronmiller, I think @susanquinn highlights the key. Engagement of parents in a discussion of how to navigate the learning/indoctrination problem let’s the student know they are part of a subversive activity. When you see yourself as part of a subversive activity, you are prepared to stand up at the moment when the subversives are called upon to act. Organizing the subversives for that moment is the greatest challenge, not the desire and willingness to act.

    • #6
    • August 31, 2020, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    @aaronmiller, I think @susanquinn highlights the key. Engagement of parents in a discussion of how to navigate the learning/indoctrination problem let’s the student know they are part of a subversive activity. When you see yourself as part of a subversive activity, you are prepared to stand up at the moment when the subversives are called upon to act. Organizing the subversives for that moment is the greatest challenge, not the desire and willingness to act.

    I also think that the way parents approach this topic is extremely important. They must not be hyperbolic and frighten the kids. They must be willing to be as objective as possible, explaining that the Left’s agenda is unacceptable, rather than crazy. (It is crazy, but we’re trying to help our kids be critical thinkers.) And they need to assure their kids that they are encouraged to discuss these issues at home as a way to support them and help them work through conflicts. Thanks, @rodin.

    • #7
    • August 31, 2020, at 8:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Hoyacon Member

    When I was a boy, we understood that it was our job to reject our parents’ and educators’ values. This, after all, was the establishment speaking. Whatever happened to that? This is just the new establishment.

    Kids these days.

    • #8
    • August 31, 2020, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is a temptation in any resistance movement to reject more than what actually oppresses, indiscriminately. Then good arguments are saddled with bad arguments and justified protests burdened by foolish fits.

    Young adults are excitable. That energy can be positive if it is disciplined and guided. Students must be helped to prudently identify what is tolerable and what is not.

    • #9
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Have we lost our children completely to the Left’s agenda?

     

    Not completely, and especially not if the parents stay vigilant and work to deprogram their kids at home and through their religious upbringings. But it is work, and the parents must be very intentional about it.

    Part of that process is to teach your kids that justice shorn of mercy or empathy is sheer tyranny. The other part is to teach them that true justice is something to be feared by all, for none can mete it out.

    • #10
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Richard Fulmer Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    There is a temptation in any resistance movement to reject more than what actually oppresses, indiscriminately. Then good arguments are saddled with bad arguments and justified protests burdened by foolish fits.

    Young adults are excitable. That energy can be positive if it is disciplined and guided. Students must be helped to prudently identify what is tolerable and what is not.

    That’s a great point. One of the reasons that the educators’ arguments are effective is that they are based on truth. Often the problem is that they take their truths to extremes and ignore other truths along the way.

    • #11
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Stina Member

    This is going to be interesting because currently, the youngest kids are the kids of the already brain washed millenials.

    Gen Z, the kids of Gen X, are an odd mix where the minority group (not a minority in that generation) are clearly lost, but the white groups border on fringe right.

    I don’t see Millenials putting out as many kids as the far right white Gen Z. It’ll be an interesting future, that’s for sure.

    As for the kids of millenials, they are screwed no matter what. In blue cities, the schools are just teaching what their parents would teach them (with rare exception).

    I want us to be aware what’s happening. And I need the olders to know – parents in the midst of raising kids right, we don’t have the luxury to go and advocate for our kids’ education. I need to be accessible to my kids, not fighting the war on the front lines. So any help in your retired years to bolster our voices would be greatly appreciated. 

    Not every district is totally pozzed.

    • #12
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Part of that process is to teach your kids that justice shorn of mercy or empathy is sheer tyranny. The other part is to teach them that true justice is something to be feared by all, for none can mete it out.

    So very true, @skipsul. Thanks. I just worry that parents have so removed themselves from engagement with their kids’ education that they won’t see the need to re-engage.

    • #13
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):
    So any help in your retired years to bolster our voices would be greatly appreciated.

    Any suggestions on how we could help, Stina?

    • #14
    • August 31, 2020, at 9:45 AM PDT
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  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    The California Assembly has come up with an outrageous bill to be enacted in 2025 for K-12.

    The WSJ had an op-ed piece on it. Let me include here some of my “favorite parts”:

    The model curriculum now on the education department’s website says the course should ‘build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.’ Yes, this is a course for K-12 students. It suggests teachers provide ‘examples of systems of power, which can include economic systems like capitalism and social systems like patriarchy.’ 

    . . . It’s not a coincidence that many radical left movements are infused with anti-Semitism. They posit theories of control by shadowy capitalist groups that often echo anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. One course outline tips its hat at this. ‘Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history,’ it says, ‘that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.’

    I’m not a happy camper.

    • #15
    • August 31, 2020, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Richard Fulmer Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    the course should ‘build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.’

    “Transformative resistance” translates into rioting, murder, arson, and looting. Super.

    • #16
    • August 31, 2020, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Richard Fulmer Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    ‘Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history,’ it says, ‘that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.’

    That should help us all get along.

    • #17
    • August 31, 2020, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    ‘Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history,’ it says, ‘that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.’

    That should help us all get along.

    What makes me snicker is that neither Jews nor the Irish are a race. What’s with “racial privilege”??

    • #18
    • August 31, 2020, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Have we lost our children completely to the Left’s agenda?

     

    Not completely, and especially not if the parents stay vigilant and work to deprogram their kids at home and through their religious upbringings. But it is work, and the parents must be very intentional about it.

    Part of that process is to teach your kids that justice shorn of mercy or empathy is sheer tyranny. The other part is to teach them that true justice is something to be feared by all, for none can mete it out.

    … or avoid it.

    • #19
    • August 31, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Stina Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    So any help in your retired years to bolster our voices would be greatly appreciated.

    Any suggestions on how we could help, Stina?

    I think being a watchdog on local school boards, sharing concerning information you find with younger women who may not know about it, watching local reports on curriculum changes or rising activism in our local areas.

    It’s hard to keep up with it all… cleaning up after and feeding kids, helping with homework, keeping up with school paperwork and extracurriculars… and all while keeping my ears to their struggles and encouraging them in personal devotion, discipline, and focus…

    To keep up with the school board meetings, digging into news, etc… it’s too much. I’m reading my oldest’s textbooks, but that’s because he’s reading them now. I can’t also keep up with what might happen 1 or more years from now in my local district.

    • #20
    • August 31, 2020, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The core problem in education is that parents have very little control over the curriculum and often no opportunity to reject an intolerable school. If schools were not funded and directed by government, there would be plenty of uneducated and miseducated kids; but not more than we witness today with public education. Students would not so easily be made pawns in political games.

    But I’m sure there would be plenty to complain about in a truly free market of education as well.

    We must deal with the system we have. That begins simply with the courage of students, as directed and supported by parents, to defy particular mandates in school. It must be made clear to educators and administrators that their power is not absolute.

    That is the foundation of American liberty: an assertion of natural rights. We believe that governments are not omnipotent and may not violate certain core values. Such liberty is achieved not by law but by will. We must reassert the limits of civil authorities.

    Doing so will be a painful process. As Dennis Prager says, anyone who won’t risk bad grades for liberty won’t stand up when more is on the line in professional and family life later.

    Public schools are controlled by the state and so controlled by the voters. Voters choose to allow all of the abuses. Voters choose not to compel elected officials to impose civil and civic-minded curricula. We did not lose children to the left. We gave them away, and we can fix it any time we actually get motivated to use the power of the ballot box in Every. Single. Election.

     

    • #21
    • August 31, 2020, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Kephalithos Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment): When I was a boy, we understood that it was our job to reject our parents’ and educators’ values. This, after all, was the establishment speaking. Whatever happened to that? This is just the new establishment.

    This is still the norm.

    The children of right-wingers move to the left. The children of left-wingers move even farther to the left. Stupidity intensifies all around.

    I remember a conversation I had last fall, around the time primary season started. I was chatting with a diehard communist and Bernie bro (you know the type — man bun, the Soviet flag as a Facebook profile photo, etc.). He went on and on about how evil and horrible and disgusting his rich, wine-drinking, Buttigieg-supporting parents and grandparents were. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he hated them more than he hated conservatives.

    • #22
    • August 31, 2020, at 12:16 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Kephalithos Member

    Susan Quinn: Have we lost our children completely to the Left’s agenda?

    Judging by the speed with which even homeschooled and classically educated Christians have jumped on the critical-theory bandwagon, I’d say yes.

    There is a way to avoid this problem (though I wouldn’t recommend it): Don’t have kids. If they don’t exist, the left cannot take them.

    • #23
    • August 31, 2020, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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  24. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Susan, I think that you’re correct, but I do not think that the problem is new. It was apparent to me, and my wife, back in 2000, when we began homeschooling our oldest.

    I do think that it has become worse, and it is not (and has not been) equally bad everywhere in the country.

    I think that the Obama Administration quietly did a lot of harm, particularly with the “dear colleague” letter complaining of racially disparate impact in school discipline, which ignores the possibility that black kids are disciplined more because they misbehave more.

    Allan Bloom documented serious problems in education in the mid-1980s, in The Closing Of The American Mind. Bloom’s observations were based on his collegiate students, and were therefore the result of a change in the education system some time earlier, probably in the 1970s.

    It was the accommodation of radical Leftism and the Civil Rights agenda, as implemented, including blatant race discrimination euphemistically called “affirmative action,” and feminism, including the creation and promotion of women’s sports. It seems to me that the inherent contradictions and hypocrisy in both of these policies should be obvious, and I struggle to understand how anyone could fail to see it:

    1. Race discrimination is horrible, so we’re going to openly discriminate against whites in favor of blacks.
    2. Sex discrimination is horrible, and the very legislation banning it requires the creation and funding of sports teams that openly discriminate by sex.

     

    • #24
    • August 31, 2020, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Kephalithos Member

    Stina (View Comment): Gen Z, the kids of Gen X, are an odd mix where the minority group (not a minority in that generation) are clearly lost, but the white groups border on fringe right.

    Is this really true?

    I’m on the Millennial/Gen Z cusp. All my right-leaning friends love to chortle about how wonderfully redpilled Generation Z is. “They don’t buy into any of this [redacted]. Just you wait!”

    But I spent two years working as a TA at a red-state university, and I didn’t see it. With the exception of a few evangelical Christians, most of the 18- and 19-year-olds I met were what I’ve come to expect (and what I grew up with): vaguely woke, dull, saturated in popular culture, and not very knowledgeable about much of anything. A minority were full-blown communists and SJW types.

    I don’t know. I tend to perceive Gen Z as similar to the Millennials: immersed in Internet culture, flippant and listless, and afflicted with identity crises (which they resolve, invariably, by throwing themselves into various subcultures, most of which involve body modifications and left-wing politics). But my sample is limited, so I’m not sure what to believe.

    • #25
    • August 31, 2020, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
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  26. Hoyacon Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    ‘Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history,’ it says, ‘that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.’

    That should help us all get along.

    How did Italian Americans get off the hook?

    Do you suppose if one wrote about individuals coming from Ireland, Russia, and Western Europe to work their butts off, that would be a fast route to an “F”?

    • #26
    • August 31, 2020, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Stad Thatcher

    I thought “A is for antifa” . . .

    • #27
    • August 31, 2020, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. Flicker Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):

    This is going to be interesting because currently, the youngest kids are the kids of the already brain washed millenials.

    Gen Z, the kids of Gen X, are an odd mix where the minority group (not a minority in that generation) are clearly lost, but the white groups border on fringe right.

    I don’t see Millenials putting out as many kids as the far right white Gen Z. It’ll be an interesting future, that’s for sure.

    As for the kids of millenials, they are screwed no matter what. In blue cities, the schools are just teaching what their parents would teach them (with rare exception).

    I want us to be aware what’s happening. And I need the olders to know – parents in the midst of raising kids right, we don’t have the luxury to go and advocate for our kids’ education. I need to be accessible to my kids, not fighting the war on the front lines. So any help in your retired years to bolster our voices would be greatly appreciated.

    Not every district is totally pozzed.

    And this training becomes internalized as proper and right. In other countries, things that are egregious to me are considered normal. For example I was talking to an old Aussie who poo-pooed gun restrictions, saying that guns just weren’t an issue with him since he was virtually raised with the ban and was used to it. But knives?! He carries one and uses it every day! To give up his knife is preposterous. And high powered cars? Well, the government’s apparently lowering speed limits, but he personally just has a penchant for blowing off some steam at high speed and goes out on relatively deserted highways to do it.

    Populations are being moved one direction. There may be resistance at first, but the first generation raised with strict rules in thought and behavior never question it.

    • #28
    • August 31, 2020, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Stina Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    When I was a boy, we understood that it was our job to reject our parents’ and educators’ values. This, after all, was the establishment speaking. Whatever happened to that? This is just the new establishment.

    Kids these days.

    It went the way of critical thinking being taught in schools.

    It’s normal for teens to question their parents’ thinking… it’s part of taking ownership of their beliefs, values, and thoughts. That’s perfectly fine!

    But if you haven’t taught them to think critically BEFORE they get there, then they are at the mercy of any authority figure claiming the opposite of mom & dad.

    I have to believe that promise in scripture… train your kids in what is right and when they are old, they will not depart from it.

    Of course, my oldest is only 11. We’ll find out where I am in 5 years. Heaven help me, I can’t think it’s a losing battle for his heart and mind and if I act desperately, I suffer greater chance of losing him.

    • #29
    • August 31, 2020, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Henry Castaigne Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    ‘Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history,’ it says, ‘that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.’

    That should help us all get along.

    What makes me snicker is that neither Jews nor the Irish are a race. What’s with “racial privilege”??

    I think that the Irish can be considered a race but they are a very mixed race. Most racial groups are mixed but the Irish are more mixed than others from what I understand of genetics. Ashkenazi jews might be a race though they come from all over Europe. 

    • #30
    • August 31, 2020, at 4:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like