It’s been said many times: Schools should teach kids how to think, not what to think.
But what if what they think is wrong?
An educational revolution could be coming to the rescue.
Case in point: a reconsideration at the University of North Carolina.
Back in August of 2020, the college was prepping for “1619 Project” creator Nikole Hannah-Jones to join the faculty and teach a class on her New York Times initiative (she ended up taking a position at Howard University instead).
As reported by Campus Reform, the outlet recently obtained a memorandum from that period.
The topic of discussion: “diversity.”
Details below are relayed by CR, according to the alleged contents of the document.
On August 1st, Susan King — dean of UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media — wrote to school Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz in celebration of Nikole’s impending arrival:
Hannah-Jones will teach a large class open to all students… … The class will advance all our values around diversity and the media and also offer students — inside and outside Hussman — a much deeper understanding of systemic racism and the impact of slavery on America.
Susan lamented it was, at the time, “possible for a Hussman student to graduate without taking a course focused on the question of diversity.”
“Faculty,” she assured, “believe that is a problem.”
The Hussman School already required instructors to include diversity elements in their curriculum; but that wasn’t enough:
Although each class taught in the school must have a syllabus that reflects the value of diversity, faculty see it as spotty and they worry a new course or courses focused only on diversity will weaken the need to accent racism, social justice, and cultural competency throughout the curriculum.
So how’d they plan to fix it? That’d be a mandated course specifically focused on race.
By Fall 2022, the missive made clear, administrators would “develop a required core foundational course in cultural competency that includes a global perspective as well as race, ethnicity, and structural racism for all of [their] students.”
Furthermore, per the document, the Newswriting course had to absolutely be on point.
Hence, it would need to “incorporate style guides” from the following organizations:
Via the latter’s “Section 2 — Terms and Phrases to Avoid“:
Avoid the terms “biological gender,” “biological sex,” “biological woman,” “biological female,” “biological man,” or “biological male.” These terms are inaccurate and often offensive. When necessary, you can refer to someone’s assigned sex at birth using terms like “assigned male at birth” or “assigned female at birth.” These can be abbreviated as “AMAB” and “AFAB” after first reference. Think seriously about whether a story requires this information. …
Not all people who use she/her are women, and not all people who use he/him are men.
As for “diversity” generally, the term seems to be currently living its best life:
In the “how to think department,” things may not be thriving quite so much:
Apropos of that, despite the memo’s emphasis on “diversity,” it called to a colossal conflict with which Hussman must ultimately deal:
There is a fundamental conflict between efforts to promote racial equity and understandings of structural racism, and efforts to promote diversity of thought. These two things cannot sit side by side without coming into conflict.
The letter indicated an intention to “revisit ‘diversity of viewpoint.'”
Campus Reform notes that UNC provided the outlet with a statement:
Our school believes meaningful and productive public conversation depends on the inclusion of diverse perspectives. It is central to our mission. We stand by that ethic and our long tradition of welcoming diverse viewpoints into the school and debating issues with respect while being accountable to facts, accuracy and context.
How long before the school again “revisits” the conflict between thought diversity and other “central” concepts it aims to pursue?
Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t call it being far off the safest of bets.
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