By Veronika Kyrylenko
First in the nation, all California high-school students, starting with the class of 2030, will be required to take a course on so-called ethnic studies, which is arguably nothing but critical race theory (CRT), alongside the traditionally required English, math, and science classes required to graduate, per a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday.
Assembly Bill 101 reads:
This bill would add the completion of a one-semester course in ethnic studies, meeting specified requirements, to the graduation requirements commencing with pupils graduating in the 2029–30 school year, including for pupils enrolled in a charter school.
“It’s been a long wait,” said Medina. “I think schools are ready now to make curriculum that is more equitable and more reflective of social justice.”
Medina added that without the ethnic studies, students cannot have a “full understanding of the history of our state and nation without the inclusion of the contributions and struggles of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.”
At its core, the field of ethnic studies is the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity, with an emphasis on the experiences of people of color in the United States.
The document further explains that the term “person/people of color” (POC), is “meant to be inclusive among non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism.” This means that California educators designate all “non-white people” as “victims of racism.” Victims at the hands of whom? Naturally, the “white people.”
In addition to such non-white groups “traditionally” considered “disadvantaged,” the lesson plans would add to the list such ethnic groups as Jews, Armenian Americans, Arab Americans, and Sikh Americans.
The field openly declares that there are “various power structures and forms of oppression that continue to have social, emotional, cultural, economic, and political impacts” that the ethnic studies “critically grapple.”
The “studies” aim at even deeper division and an endless fragmentation of society that goes beyond the “POCs” vs the “whites.” The board emphasizes that ethnic studies also focus on “intersectionality,” which, they claim, “recognizes that people have different overlapping identities, for example, a transgender Latina or a Jewish African American.” Its is stated that intersecting identities shape individuals’ experiences of “racism and bigotry.”
In reality, though, the core of “intersectionality” is, as British writer Douglas Murray put it, “an invitation to spend the rest of our lives attempting to work out each and every identity and vulnerability claim in ourselves and others.”
To better understand how implementation of intersectionality looks in practice, The New American offers the following example:
Consider an exercise forced on third-grade children, typically aged eight or nine, in one of the wealthiest school districts in the nation, Silicon Valley’s Cupertino Union School District. The confused children were ordered to “deconstruct” their racial, gender, religious, family structure, and sexual identities. After that, they were told to create an “identity map” and rank themselves based on the “power and privilege” received from the “intersection” of their various “identities.” “A white, cisgender man, who is able-bodied, heterosexual, considered handsome and speaks English has more privilege than a Black transgender woman,” offered the school materials in an example of how to understand the results.
While the model curriculum proclaims the studies help “bring students and communities together,” the assumption that non-white people living in modern America are subjects of systemic racial discrimination, while white people are perpetrators of such discrimination, lays a foundation of mutual mistrust and social division. As argued by some, while the indoctrinated generation sees others through the racial lens and is preoccupied with imaginary interracial conflicts, those who impose that divisive concept reap the benefits of such a fragmented society, which is arguably easier to manipulate and control.
The Orange County Register reports that the reactions to the bill signed by Newsom were as emotional as they were mixed.
Board of Education members praised the legislation. Among them is Corey Jackson, a Riverside County Board of Education member and a member of the Riverside County Alliance of Black Elected Officials, who said, “The majority of our social problems are happening because people don’t know their own true history or the true history of each other.”
Jackson urged the schools not to wait until 2030 to implement the ethnic studies into curriculum.
On the other hand, California conservatives were outraged. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay), shared on Twitter that “Gavin Newsom has signed a bill to make CRT a high school graduation requirement, two years after saying the draft ethnic studies curriculum would ‘never see the light of day.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, initiative director for the Amcha Initiative, an anti-Semitism watchdog group, indicated that “This is a dark day for Jewish students in California and the dozens of other states that historically follow California’s lead,” per the outlet.
Some California school districts have already made ethnic studies a graduation requirement on their own.
Back in September 2020, Riverside Unified School District officially made the course a mandatory graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2025.
Per The Register, the San Francisco and San Diego unified school districts already require ethnic studies to graduate and, starting next year, Fresno Unified will as well.
This June, the Hayward Unified School District in the Bay Area voted unanimously to approve the ethnic studies program for all grades, starting in preschool — making it a “graduation requirement” by next year.