Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Kathy Shaidle has a bit of fun with the Africentric curriculum devised by the Toronto school board.

Shaidle helpfully explains why the proper word is now "Africentric" rather than "Afrocentric," or at least this is the proper usage for the time being. She then moves on to give us some glimpses into what an Africentric approach to math and science looks like in Toronto schools. She offers, for example, a sample Africentric class project, circa 2008.
Children were assigned the following question: “Why is President-Elect Obama’s win important to science?” Yes, Canadian children. (And this plan was presumably put together before Obama slashed NASA’s budget.)

But it gets better, if — imitating our leftist friends — we redefine “better” to mean something closer to “cringe-inducingly horrific.” Because the next photo depicts two black children obediently printing out the following answer, presumably at their teacher’s prompting:
“I think it’s important to science because it shows that black people are just as smart as white people.”
If being elected president means you’re “smart,” surely that proves George Bush is twice as smart as Obama, right?


Man, this “African math” is too hard for my poor white brain!

Another slide shows the following text, again written in a child’s hand:
“I think Mr. James Watsons [sic] shouldn’t have won the Nobel Prize because this man was a racist.…This man said that black people don’t have the intelligences [sic] that white people do but at the end of the day who is are [sic] President? And what colour is he?
Again, Barack Obama isn’t “are” president here in Canada, but I guess in the TDSB’s eyes, he are — I mean, is — the universal, Nobel Prize-winning President of Black People International Incorporated, so whatever.

This flaky curriculum is ostensibly designed to appeal to the city’s “at-risk youth,” none of whom ever seem to be Jewish or Japanese, but all of whom — at least if our newspaper’s depressingly frequent murder reports are to be believed — are “aspiring rap artists.” (Notice that they’re never “aspiring brain surgeons.”)
One sure-fire way to make certain that most black kids continue to aspire to be rap artists rather than brain surgeons is to convince them that the African perspective on math and science, whatever that may be, is just as worth learning as the European perspective. The great scientific advances of the last four centuries, dare I say it, received very little impetus from African contributors. Indeed, children of African descent might take a lesson from children of Asian descent. Asians are very successful in the math/sciences and they've achieved that success, not by insisting on teaching their young "Japacentric" math but by following the trail blazed by the great thinkers produced by Europe.

I hope that the assumption of the Toronto School Board isn't that that trail would just be too arduous for young black students to tread.

Alexander Cockburn, Almost There

John Fund remembers the erstwhile far-left radical Alexander Cockburn whose gradual metamorphosis into a conservative was cut short by cancer last Saturday. Here's part of Fund's column:
[O]ver the years he mellowed, even as he sometimes denied it. He became an American citizen in 2009. That same year he became a columnist for the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles, a platform he used to rail against American imperalism, big-business corruption, and imbecilic leftists. A conservative would have agreed with large parts of most of his columns. He was a passionate defender of gun rights and believed a well-armed society was a bulwark against anyone who wanted to control a population.

He became a true heretic to the Left in 2007 when he declared that supporters of global warming were promoting a fraud: Their “pied piper,” he said, was a “hypocritical mountebank” named Al Gore. (Cockburn was an enthusiastic supporter of Ralph Nader against Gore in 2000.)

My last meeting with Alex came in 2009, when he showed up in New York at the Heartland Institute’s conference featuring dozens of global-warming skeptics. We stepped outside of the conference for a long chat. He cheerfully recounted all the places where he had been denounced for his global-warming views. “They hate me because I tell the truth: The environmental Left wants to deindustrialize America so they can exercise political power and control people’s lifestyles,” he told me.

“I’ve felt like the object of a witch hunt,” he said as he described how the Left treated him after he dissented from the global-warming “consensus.” “One former Sierra Club board member suggested I should be criminally prosecuted.”

Cockburn was at the conference collecting material for his forthcoming book A Short History of Fear, in which he planned to explore the link between fear-mongering and climate-catastrophe proponents. “No one on the left is comfortable talking about science,” he told me. “They don’t feel they can easily get their arms around it, so they don’t think about it much. As a result, they are prone to any peddler of ideas that reinforce their preexisting prejudices.”

I asked him how he felt hanging around with so many people who had more conservative viewpoints than he did. “It’s been good fun and I’ve learned a lot,” he told me. “I think what they are saying on this and several other topics is looking better and better.”
Too bad the 71 year-old Cockburn didn't live to make his transition complete.