“Some high(low)lights of what’s planned to be taught to 6m kids in California. This stuff inevitably follows across the pond. A pre-warning to UK about Critical Race Theory, a way to view the world through the lens of race, contrary to MLK’s ideas of judging by character etc” she observed. Tristan Kreetz had a warning for her. She may not have been listening.
The basis for the Tablet Magazine article, a curriculum for Ethnic Studies, to be taught throughout California’s school system, is not the current version. “The document was from 2019 and it was amended months ago with input from American Jewish organizations, why are you pretending this is current?” he asked. Ms Riley has not thus far answered.
Worse, the Tablet Mag article claims that some of the language in the curriculum is typical of CRT, but this assertion has to be taken on trust. Also, there was a warning to Ms Riley from Hussein Kesvani on trying to appropriate Dr King’s legacy: “MLK's relatives have been on record a number of times on twitter to denounce and reject people using his legacy for cover when they demean movements like BLM too”.
And then Rachel Riley lost it. Lost it big time. Here it comes: “I don’t know who you are, and I have no idea if you know me, but if you think I’m demeaning the need for anti-black racism then you definitely don’t. I just don’t think teaching a doctrine established by 13 proponents of a genocidal anti-Jewish movement will help anti-racism”. Er, WHAT?
Quite apart from the hint of “Don’t you know who I am?” and the horrendous “need for anti-black racism” howler, the claim that an ethnic studies curriculum was “established by 13 proponents of a genocidal anti-jewish movement” is off the scale. Ms Riley has, it seems, not noticed a bait-and-switch move by the author of the Tablet Mag article.
Some way down the page, this snippet appears: “Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative, which fights campus anti-Semitism, points out that all 13 founding members of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) are BDS activists”. The clue that this is the first mention of CESA is giving its full title before its acronym.
What relevance does CESA have to the California ethnic studies curriculum? We are not told. But it’s enough for Ms Riley to go off on one, inflating criticism of the BDS movement into demonising it as being “genocidal” as well as “anti-Jewish”. There has been much criticism of BDS, but the idea that it was “genocidal” is a new one on me.
In publicising the Tablet Mag article, Rachel Riley has suggested that quoting a single and uncorroborated source is fine by her. She has also slipped up by appearing to appropriate the legacy of Dr King. And her argument only holds if she ignores that the California ethnic studies curriculum has since been amended with input from Jewish organisations.
So that’s one subject she won’t be passing. I’ll just leave that one there.
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