The following letter was received from Ike Morgan, a math & physics teacher at Nakomis High School in Newport, Maine.. I thought its content, along with the courage it took to write and publish it, to be noteworthy. -- Jeff Weinstein, Host, "Good Morning Maine!"
Ike Morgan On "Maine Civil Rights Teams"
The Maine Civil Rights Team Project, sponsored by the Maine Attorney General's Office and funded by Maine taxpayers began 5 years ago as an effort to make schools safe and comfortable environments for all Maine students. There are now over one hundred civil rights teams operating in schools throughout Maine. Thousands of students and educators are directly involved with these teams.
On April 15, thousands of middle and high school students converged on the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine for the 5th Annual Statewide Civil Rights Team Conference. This day-long conference was a gathering of school Civil Rights Teams from across the state. Numerous workshops, presentations and discussions were the order of the day.
Certainly, the conference would provide a platform for these young people to explore bright and constructive ideas on important issues as freedoms, rights, and civic responsibilities in a constitutional and historic perspective. With "tolerance and diversity" as the common theme it seems reasonable that all manner of groups and individuals with all manner of opinion and perspective would be offered. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
What becomes abundantly clear to attendees is that the "tolerance and diversity" slogan bandied around was simply a feel good phrase used to provide cover for the organizer's and presenter's ultimate objective: the inculcation of young minds to a specific political agenda.
A young person attending this conference was guaranteed to be subjected to endless symbols and words portraying non-whites, gays, and females as helpless victims and white, heterosexual, male, Christians as the ultimate victimizers.
There was no diversity of thought, there was no tolerance for differing opinions. Exclusion and divisiveness were the rules of the day. Victim groups and their grievances versus the evil of traditional Western values. Gay rights groups demonizing white males and pushing for more hate crime laws. Native Americans using the "racist card" to abolish school mascots not of their liking. The sexual harassment industry doing what it does best and that is to spread fear and resentment in schools and the workplace. The celebration of many cultures. Except of course, American.
Zero mention of the epidemic of gay on gay violence and the very real medical risks of a gay lifestyle. Zero mention of the oppression and brutality (and yes, slavery) practiced by many of the civilizations held up as models of multiculturalism. Zero mention of the fact that Western values are responsible for producing unprecedented health, wealth, and freedoms for more people of every ethnic, racial, and religious background then at any time in the history of civilization. The list goes on.
As if the blatant bias presented at this conference were not enough there was the unmistaken air of group think mentality throughout the conference. Maybe innocuous to a suspecting adult but infinitely damaging to impressionable young minds.
Group think manifests itself in many ways. It reinforces the inherent morality of the group by sending the message that what the group is doing is in everybody's best interests thus creating the illusion that they are right no matter what the evidence says.
Group think creates 'out group' stereotypes. Racist! Homophobe! Sexist! Religious nut! These labels are employed against "outsiders' and serve as a tool of intimidation for any dissenters within the group. These were all on display in Augusta last week in the name of Civil Rights.
I can remember when the civil rights movement represented the epitome of the struggle for dignity and freedom for all Americans. The costs in lives and suffering in attaining these fundamental rights were a testament to the righteousness of the movement and to the strengthening of our national character.
Unfortunately, there are those among us who would shamelessly exploit the virtues of the movement to further their personal and political agendas.
As a 20-year veteran of high school teaching I find it disturbing, to say the least, that so many fine young people should be subjected to such bias perpetrated by adults in education.
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