More than Men in White Sheets: Prioritizing the Power of Imagination Because Antiracism Demands Equitable, Just Systems

This post follows up my previous post by quoting from the sources cited in the various Bibliographies. They make the aims of Critical Race Theory under its various euphemisms utterly explicit. In fact, the confessions are so graphic that EVERY use of italics in this post is original to the source. Let’s start with Kevin Kumashiro’s Spring 2000 “Toward a Theory of Anti-Oppressive Education” published by the same AERA that elected Bill Ayers to a leadership position. You will see why student-centered learning can be so psychologically dangerous and why a social-emotional learning focus is always integral to the desired new form of consciousness.

Students must always look beyond what is known; they must ask, ‘what is not said?’ and then go to places that have, until now, been foreclosed. Of course, such a process is antithetical to the ways we traditionally think about teaching and learning…Teaching, in other words, like learning, cannot be about repetition and affirmation of either the teacher’s or the student’s knowledge, but must involve uncertainty, difference, and change. I should note here that the goal here is not merely any difference, since not all changes will be helpful. Rather, the goal is a change informed by these theories of anti-oppression, a change that works against oppression.

Got that? Not the old-fashioned transmission of knowledge–lectures and textbook vision–and what is being learned are THEORIES justifying the need for transformation beginning at the level of what the student thinks, feels, and wants. That would be the actual definition of what Excellence means in education as long time readers will recognize. It’s also why the quote at the beginning of the post title came from another cited article we will get to shortly published in May 2005 in Equity & Excellence in Education. Back to Kumashiro:

anti-oppressive education involves crisis…learning things that force one to re-learn or unlearn what one has previously learned cannot always be done rationally…learning about oppression and unlearning one’s worldview can be upsetting and paralyzing to students…by teaching students that the very ways in which we think and do things can be oppressive, teachers should expect their students to get upset. Consequently, educators need to create a space in their curriculum for students to work through crisis…teaching and learning really take place only through entering and working through crisis, since it is this process that moves a student to a different intellectual/emotional/political space. In noting that both teaching and psychoanalysis involve ‘liv[ing] through a crisis,’ [Felman] explains that they both ‘are called upon to be performative, and not just cognitive, insofar as they both strive to produce and to enable, change. Both…are interested not merely in new information, but, primarily, in the capacity of their recipients to transform themselves in function of the newness of the information.

When we erroneously make a discussion of CRT, or new equitable practices for learning in education, about mistaken facts in the 1619 Project or Action Civics as getting academic credit for attending protests, we miss the intentional, psychologically traumatizing, aims of these confessed practices and stated purposes for a new kind of pedagogy. If the cited authors state that “anti-oppressive education also involves self-reflexivity (and the change of the individual)”, we should take them at their word, even if most parents and taxpayers never read the sources I am citing here. If they say they want to alter students at an internalized, psychological level “significantly changing how they see themselves and who they are,” don’t think that disputes over whether CRT is taught in schools are about whether the history of slavery or Jim Crow laws can be discussed in class. That is utter deflection from what is being aimed at in the name of antiracism and anti-oppression.

The change this pedagogy will produce cannot, of course, be known beforehand. Its goal is not, think like this, but think differently (and not different in any way, but different as informed by these theories).

Think about that line and those italics next time you hear the cry of Misinformation to something that is provably true as we have been seeing so much in the coverage of CoVid in the last two years, or when someone argues for, or disputes, that Mass Formation Psychosis can be deliberately arranged by collaboration of educators and the media. It’s how Standards for Teaching and Learning in K-12 all over the globe actually and intentionally work. Its why UNESCO created them and the US helpfully apes them. Informed by these theories is a chilling phrase, especially to an article that concludes with “how we want students and society to change.” Sounds like an essential component of any Great Reset or Building Back Better to me. To fully understand why these shifts are essential, we have another cite as I mentioned above by Sheri Lyn Schmidt called “More Than Men in White Sheets: Seven Concepts Critical to the Teaching of Racism as System Inequality.”

Created as a framework for college students, the concepts guide what teachers are taught and made to believe so that “students move from viewing racism as individual bigotry to recognizing its complex nature as a systemic phenomenon that pervades every aspect of United States society.” Theories, then, that justify the supposed need to transform “our systems of education, justice, business, health care, and government.” Students need to be taught that

Racism is part of a system that is larger than individuals and operates with and without conscious support…To help make the concept [a theory] of institutional racism concrete for students, it is important to use statistics and clear factual examples of the current disparities found in a wide range of institutional settings..,it is very important to concentrate on current examples so that students can see that racism is still very much a part of every aspect of our institutions.

That was my bolding to highlight what is now known as Mass Formation Psychosis if the shared instilled belief is pernicious and Shared Meaning-Making if the beliefs and attitudes support a Collective Understanding on the need to shift to a Just, Inclusive Society. Either way, the technique is intentional, the same, and quite well understood as necessary for the desired internalized change at the level of each ‘citizen’ in a society. Schmidt even has a section on Internalized Racism that states “it is important for our students to understand how racism has become internalized within the human psyche” and refers to the phrase as “this psychologically-based concept” in case anyone still thinks that the CRT dispute is a battlefield of ideas, rather than the intended psychological bullseye it really targets.

Why? From the section on Historical Inequality, we have this explanation that clearly aims at what the Political Theorists call Social Reconstruction:

Understanding history is central to an ability to understand ourselves and the world in which we live. History is a valuable tool that social justice educators can and should use as a foundation upon which to construct the current realities of oppression…History can be studied as a way to understand the current situation of all racial groups…a historical review can help students see that oppressive circumstances can change through the concerted efforts of committed individuals…Centuries of ‘historical forgetting’ have taught them that the United States is a place where anyone who works hard can get ahead. Therefore, it is crucial to share with them a history that makes clear the ways that past events and policies have directly shaped the social reality of today.

If those quotes are not graphic enough, I was following up recently on a webinar for educators tied to the Roadmap for American Democracy civics/history initiative and how it intended to use the topic of Oppression in the classroom. It planned to push a concept called ‘co-processing’ which sounded like a new way of describing shared meaning-making and what theories must now be used to shape each student’s thinking. A little internet sleuthing pulled up a March 2019 OECD paper called “Imagination Unleashed: Democratizing the Knowledge Economy.” Recognizing one of the authors who has a tag here at ISC, Harvard prof Roberto Unger, its education vision fits with the above, but is not sold in terms of antiracism. Nevertheless, its needed Education vision (which used bolding instead of italics for emphasis) states:

We must equip citizens not only to participate in the economy and society but to transform it, through a lifelong education system that promotes cooperation and prioritises the power of the imagination…The knowledge economy, therefore, calls for education, both in youth and throughout life, that develops character, mindset, and non-cognitive as well as cognitive skills…as crucial as these immediate questions are, they also form part of a larger challenge: how to equip every student with the tools they need not only to flourish within their societies as they currently exist but to transform them for the better. Teachers and students must have the political, legal, and financial means to deal experimentally with the central tension in education under democracy: preparing people to flourish within present arrangements and assumptions while equipping them to defy those assumptions and arrangements.

Some of the four basic elements such a vision ‘demands’ of education are that “engagement at depth across disciplines, around themes or projects, counts for more than memorizing facts.” It can be viewed as a ‘dialectical approach to education’ that emphasizes “jumbling up disciplines and methods. It would aim to form a different mindset: one that refuses to treat radical doubt and intellectual experimentation as the prerogatives of genius and turns them instead into a common possession.” The same classroom function of that global vision then gets pitched in the US in another cited CRT paper from March 2005 published in Race Ethnicity and Education by Tara Yosso on “Whose Cultural Has Capital?”. So when your local school board, a legislator, or the media insists that CRT is not “taught in our schools,” be ready to recognize that its advocates write about it as reflecting a focus on ‘experiential knowledge’ and a refusal to make any student a ‘deficit thinker’ because of their lack of factual information.

Yosso stated and anti-racist educators cite her work in their Bibliographies that

I define CRT in education as a theoretical and analytical framework that challenges the ways race and racism impact educational structures, practices, and discourses. CRT is conceived as a social justice project that works toward the liberatory potential of schooling [Imagination Unleashed?]…CRT utilizes transdisciplinary approaches to link theory with practice, scholarship with teaching, and the academy with the community…CRT finds that racism is often well disguised in the rhetoric of shared ‘normative’ values and ‘neutral’ social scientific principles and practices.

So next time anyone is told “CRT isn’t taught to students in our schools”, turn that statement into its actual, openly declared purpose as laid out in this post. Are its tenets and practices USED on students in the classroom, whatever it is called? Is it their thinking and emotions being targeted for transformation? Are we prescribing Theories and Conceptual Understandings that they MUST use in evaluating their lived experiences and current situation? The advocates say quietly in publications not intended for us that all these things are components of CRT, whatever it calls itself and whatever its pitched rationale. If we investigate by function instead of name, we can still recognize what we are dealing with.

And remember that it ALWAYS aims at social, economic, and political change at an institutional level. The individual student and their psyche is merely the conduit for mass, almost invisible, change.

12 thoughts on “More than Men in White Sheets: Prioritizing the Power of Imagination Because Antiracism Demands Equitable, Just Systems

  1. I keep telling people some of these things and they look at me as if I’m crazy. It’s like you’re saying about “We’re not teaching CRT”. Maybe they aren’t by name, but they certainly are by deed. But so few want to take that deeper look.

    My understanding is that any person identifying as a teacher has been neck deep in this type of theory for at least five years and probably much longer. Whether they believe it or not is almost not relevant. They’ve been exposed for so long that outcomes of the training are unconscious. And if the training didn’t take, they probably didn’t graduate.

    But how to fix the problems? How to keep the children from eventually believing all the nonsense that goes with it?

    • And believing it, not intellectually, but via trained emotional engagement tied to purported civic agency as a motive to act. makes that trio crystal clear and things like Climate Change or Structural Racism have been laid out in professional development programs as Facts that May Not Be Disputed in a Classroom by Students.

      The classroom is a place where students should learn with intellectual rigor, emotional engagement, and ethical reflection, and come to understand that their own views and choices matter. We represent these core educational values in Facing History’s pedagogical triangle, which reflects our synthesis of social-emotional learning and civic education with academic subjects.

      This integration of head, heart, and ethics is always important to learning, and it is particularly crucial when students are considering contentious or emotional topics. This strategy can be particularly useful for an initial discussion of complex and emotional current events and to help students clarify their relationship to and their perspective on the event.

      “This integration of head, heart, and ethics sounds remarkably like the Moral Revolution that Uncle Karl explicitly claimed would be needed for his envisioned Human Development Society. The one that fits with the Just System all this papers claim as the goal of this education vision. I think it is an excellent question. How do people come to accept that what they regard as Facts are actually Theories created to get them to behave in a certain way to act as Change Agents? How do you reason someone out of a belief not grounded intellectually at all?

    • Notice here we have further proof of how crucial controlling language, concepts, and the narrative is to reengineering “a more just society”. It’s always backward mapping from that normative goal and controlling thinking among the masses is KEY. No wonder Obama pushed learning standards and positive school climate for all. It was essential for his explicitly expressed desire to fundamentally transform the US, just as Bill Ayers wanted as well, but the mindset shift supposedly changes need for violence.

      Also, notice the reference to having “the technical means and material resources to make health equity a reality”. That’s pure, unadulterated Marx’s Human Development Society just as I have been asserting since I wrote my book.

    • This Learning Module paper out of China on training to use concepts instead of accumulating knowledge gives an additional look at how a Competency Framework like the Common Core or abstractions like crt guide how the real world and daily experience are now to be interpreted. It’s global and fits quite well with what we now call Portrait of a Graduate in the US.

  2. If anything will upset the applecart of all this stealthy CRT training in the schools it is the publication of this new, FREE, 268-page book — The Critical Classroom — published by the Heritage Foundation

    Get it free and pay the shipping charges or download it now to start reading. I am thunderstruck, just from reading the first 30 pages, how clearly it describes, in everyday language, what Robin has been bringing forward all these years. From the Introduction by Kevin Roberts, PhD, we are told how the book “provides invaluable insight and lessons for those parents, educators, and ordinary citizens who want to understand CRT, how it is taught and applied, how it is purposely hidden from parents and the public, and how to defeat it.”

    Maybe I should jump to the last chapters about how to defeat this thing. But I feel this is one book I should read sequentially to get the full flavor before I jump in. Here are but a few of the topics to be covered:

    • A Brief History of CRT
    • “Critical Math” Doesn’t Add Up
    • The Credential Cartel — How Colleges of Education Spread CRT
    • How School Boards Should Reject CRT

    Reading ISC all these years has really frightened me and made me hesitant of speaking out, of challenging something that seems so embedded in our education system. I now have a great grandchild I am going to be concerned about and I think this book will help parents and public (and responsible educators) become more assertive in what we expect from our schools.

  3. Leslie checking in from her new home in Vero Beach, Fl. Managed to escape Japan, and I do mean ‘escape’. Borders are effectively locked down, but many non-Japanese long-term residents fleeing, or waiting offshore for their chance to return. Less than 5,000 travelers allowed to disembark in Japan each day. Leave and you will not be able to return to family, business, whatever.

    On a happier note, I have a client who is transitioning her formidable design skills to the field of education. She would like to collaborate with homeschooling groups or other alternative education developers. Can anyone provide me with names of such entities in the U.S. or globally? THX!

    • Welcome back former expat! We used to fly to vero on our way to marsh harbor, abaco in the bahamas before catching a ferry over to hopetown on elbow cay. That was all before a cat 5 floyd hit the island head on, but it really is an exquisite place I highly recommend visiting as no cruise ship can get anywhere close. You get clapboard houses, but tropical colors.

      I had wondered what happened to you. I have discovered since losing my husband that the blog makes me sad. It was something he helped me with and indulged me on. However, with the WEF and Klaus Schwab having launched the Great Narrative at a meeting in Dubai the requisite intention to try to gain control over consciousness has now been brought thoroughly into the open. That intention and an awareness of it is certainly relevant to your friend’s intentions. Sounds like your friend should at least be aware of CEDS and ISCED and why so many supposedly alternative curricula function the same and are still tied to the conceptual frameworks and competency vision. Most of the School Choice visions pushed by the think tanks still push a conceptual knowledge/narrative vision in lieu of the traditional transmission of knowledge vision.

      Will get something up soon on what ol Klaus envisions for us. ISC remains a very good metaphor for these aspirations.

      • Hi Robin, I had ‘no’ idea. You are in my prayers!

        Vero Beach is a little piece of heaven. I already have the chambers of commerce wired and have a meeting with the Director of Tourism later this week. I told him I perceive Vero Beach as CA w/o the assholes. He informed that there are a few AH’s here, but the strategy is to take their money and then send them on their way.

        It is so great to live in a place where the population LOVES its leader(s). Hope DeSantis taxes Disney out of the state!

        My goal, and I announced on day 2, here, is to become Mayor of Vero Beach. Folks are laughing now (good-naturedly) but, I’m on a mission. That last two years of HELL in JP imbued me with a desire to GET POLITICAL.

        Please take care of your soul. You have given so much to our group, and the community of those who care about what gets wired into their children’s heads.

        I will send pictures of swamp creatures…the original ones.

        With love, Leslie

  4. Greetings and salutations! I have missed you Robin and you too Leslie! But understand the need for distance from all this. Can’t beat the southern sunshine to heal. Am In London, cant wait to get back to Florida! London is a hot mess of traffic all roads one way and bicycle roads it is truly insane, nonsence! Boris dumping money into nonexistant cyclers but not picking up garbage in mayfair. Unreal! Anyway, current events are Jumping the shark on the regular now it’s hard to throw dart on anything to say It’s such a circus. I Shake my head everything we said in 2012 is coming true.

  5. Hi Madmommy,

    Are you a Floridian?

    This is such a ‘no nonsense’ place, I have to pinch myself. Yesterday, I attended a H.S. band competition. The Blue Angels were flying overhead in an air show. Seems like I have gone back in time to a much better America.


    • MM had the good sense to flee from a far more regulated area of the country to Fla several years ago. I will let her add in from where to what part if she wishes.

      I was also a resident of panhandle area and voted there for about a decade. You would get to actually meet the Presidential candidates with ease and go to people’s houses to meet who was running for Congress. I can remember meeting Rubio when he was a Dark Horse senate candidate just beginning to catch on and doing Meet and Greets at local libraries. One of my kids says growing up in Fla let them be feral in a way in terms of what they did with their days that is impossible in a big city. I just remember they all learned to ride bikes to go places just like my childhood.

    • Yes and it Rocks!!!!!
      Welcome to America!!!
      Mc and I will meet up with you one day! Robin, come down for some R&R: Rose and Resortwear!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.