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Are Pro-Hamas Professors Creating California’s Ethnic Studies Curriculum?

Are Pro-Hamas Professors Creating California’s Ethnic Studies Curriculum?

A person holds a Palestinian flag as students participate in a "Walkout to fight Genocide and Free Palestine" at Bruin Plaza at University of California–Los Angeles on Oct. 25, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Christian Milord
Christian Milord

11/28/2023

Updated: 12/21/2023

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Commentary
Following the Hamas slaughter of 1,200 Israeli civilians, wounding of over 5,000, and abduction of 240 innocent hostages on Oct. 7, countless professors at universities in California lacked the moral clarity to condemn the medieval barbarism perpetrated by Hamas. Although this onslaught occurred partially due to intelligence and readiness failures, no nation deserves to be ambushed in a Pearl Harbor-type attack merely due to its existence.
Israel’s Oct. 7 called to mind America’s Sept. 11, yet these professors couldn’t muster the spine to denounce a fascist group such as Hamas that terrorized one of our closest allies. However, University of California (UC) President Michael Drake and the UC Regents Chair Richard Leib took the step to denounce in no uncertain terms the genocidal rampage carried out by Hamas, as did some other university leaders.
Meanwhile, the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council (ESFC) failed to repudiate the attack and responded to Mr. Drake’s condemnation in a letter which stated, “In the strongest possible terms, the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council that represents over 300 faculty statewide, rejects recent UC administrative communications that distort and misrepresent the unfolding genocide of Palestinians.” The letter went on to allege Gaza is an “open-air prison” subjected to “ongoing genocidal collective punishment.”
The Council never brought up Hamas or the fact that its charter mandates the annihilation of the Jewish state. It never described the diabolical crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hamas on that infamous day, or the accompanying gruesome celebrations of death and torture displayed by the victimizers. Further, it never mentioned how vulnerable Jewish folks feel in the bullying atmosphere generated by pro-Palestinian rallies accompanied by openly pro-Hamas elements.
UC Regent Jay Sures responded to the ESFC letter in this manner: “There are absolutely no words to describe how appalling and repugnant I found your October 16, 2023 letter. ... Your letter is rife with falsehoods about Israel and seeks to legitimize and defend the horrific savagery of the Hamas massacre.”
Mr. Sures went on to note that the Faculty Council should not be entrusted to shape a one-sided curriculum that glosses over Hamas atrocities. The Council hopes to create an ethnic studies curriculum that will be mandated for public high school students in order to gain admission into the UC system.
Indeed, 10,000 UC stakeholders and 115 groups unaffiliated with UC sent a petition earlier this month to top UC officials urging them to reject any ethnic studies curriculum that injects anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism into its content.
An excerpt of the petition states, “We wholeheartedly agree with the 115 groups that, ‘UC faculty who cannot acknowledge that the Hamas massacre is terrorism and a crime against humanity, and who state that anti-Zionism and the elimination of the Jewish state is a core value of their discipline, must not be trusted to establish state-wide ethnic studies standards for California students.’”
The ESFC wants to seize control over a course that was mandated by law in 2021 in California through Assembly Bill 101, starting in the 2029–30 school year. The curriculum, sometimes called Liberated Ethnic Studies, includes elements of Critical Race Theory, or the fallacious theory that America is mired in systemic racism and all Caucasians are oppressors.
Unfortunately, students would be required to take this unbalanced course in order to be admitted into the UC system. Instead of being liberated, they would be enslaved to a biased history of America similar to that which is spelled out in “A People’s History of the United States,” or “The 1619 Project.” They would be indoctrinated with the cynical belief that minorities in the United States are victims rather than shapers of their own destinies.
Instead of uniting people as it purports to do, Liberated Ethnic Studies would further divide the nation and brainwash impressionable young people. Students would be spoon fed this cream puff, Micky Mouse course that opposes free markets, personal responsibility, merit, and a time-tested rules-based order. Moreover, this course could end up insulting minority students by informing them they can only succeed in life by receiving special favors dictated by bureaucrats in Sacramento.
With an anti-Israel ESFC, is it any wonder that so many pro-Hamas youngsters with dystopian values are protesting on campuses and in the streets of America? They aren’t learning about factual Middle East dynamics that have unfolded over many centuries, nor are they encouraged to think critically and accept intellectual diversity.
If the ESFC can’t differentiate between a vibrant democracy (Israel) and an iron-fisted Hamas death cult that misgoverns the Gaza Strip, something is grotesquely amiss within academia’s ivory tower. Why aren’t students learning that the plight of the Palestinians lies squarely on the shoulders of Hamas, which initiates wars and uses Gazan civilians as cannon fodder both during and after preemptive strikes on Israel?
Currently, most public schools in California are dismally failing according to test scores in core subjects. Would the further dumbing down of state standards with a slanted ethnic studies course contribute to educational decline? It most certainly would.
However, the Alliance For Constructive Ethnic Studies, comprised of 10,000 parents, teachers, and other community members, has created a balanced curriculum that isn’t fixated on identity politics. It discards Marxist propaganda, promotes excellence, and welcomes intellectual diversity. Common sense factual principles are needed more than ever in California’s public education system.
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Christian Milord is an Orange County, California-based educator, mentor, USCG veteran, and writer. He earned his M.S. degree from California State University, Fullerton, where he mentors student groups and is involved with literacy programs. His interests include culture, economics, education, domestic and foreign policy, and military issues. He can be reached at cnvmilord@sbcglobal.net

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