Homework Assignment – 7th Grade Social Studies

Traveling around the Whitewater corner of the internet this week is a homework assignment from Whitewater Middle School.

I am going to both do this homework assignment AND explain why it is wholly inappropriate for this topic in the schools. I ask you all to bear with my writing style. The last time I wrote a paper was in 1995. The class was Industrial Archaeology at Michigan Tech. The topic was the process and the buildings processing copper from the mines of the Copper Country of Upper Michigan. I write technical papers and lab reports constantly, but not a thesis…. yeah, not so much….

Note to the teacher: This response (homework assignment) is completed by me with respect, love, peace…

The Mascot Issueby Michael Smith (parent to three WWUSD students)

In starting my paper here, I investigated how long mascots were around in the United States. Harvard’s mascot, John Harvard the Pilgrim has been around since 1843.

Maybe there were some from before, but I want to simply make the point that mascots have been around for a couple hundred years minimum (give or take). Only in the last ten years has this push become so prevalent.

Bottom Line Up Front – I want to make the point that mascots are not in the least bit racist. I want to set up for future homework assignments. I also want to make the point that this topic should not be discussed in schools in terms of racism.

I am going to break up my argument into roughly half a dozen sub-categories, and tie them all together at the end.

Ancient History

The history of the world, over the last five thousand years in particular, has a cycle of conqueror after conqueror, war after war. Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans … to name a few.

But the civilization I want to focus on in this sub-category is Israel.

[ As an aside, at this point I want to make you aware that I am not going to be held by the bounds of our schools’ limitations in regards to the discussion of Christianity. The Bible is not only the word of God, but also a historical document, and the source of Wisdom in our world.

I would also note that roughly two-thirds of Americans (a much higher percentage in our state, county, and city) claim to be Christians. So imagine that two of three of your students’ parents adhere to this doctrine despite the restrictions of the schools. ]

The troughs in the history of Israel date back to before Israel was a nation. Adam and Eve broke a covenant. The people of Noah’s time again were acting horribly. The Israelites rejected God with Moses, and thus spent forty years in the desert. The whole book of Judges is this cycle, one after another after another. After King Solomon, Israel again acted horribly and was ultimately exiled to Babylon.

All of the troughs above were the result of disobedience to the Father.

America now stands in this disobedience.

Manifest Destiny

America was founded in greatness. America was founded with a fear of our Creator. The Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

I believe our Founding Fathers were brilliant men. I also believe they were inspired by God our Father. This is the foundation, in my humble opinion, of America’s greatness and the Manifest Destiny.

I do not take lightly the actions of the American government towards the Native Americans. Much as the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, much as the Persians ran over Greece, much as the Native Americans warred among themselves … the nature of conquerors and war is horrible.

But:

Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

I believe this. I have seen it in my life many times.

Psychology

Shaming someone into submission is a form of manipulation. Claiming to be a victim, and offering no Grace is not only sinful, but also a form of manipulation.

And we have seen those clinging to power use these tactics more and more.

1984

Author George Orwell wrote the book 1984 in 1948. His book was prophetic. Twenty years ago, political correctness, to me, was a joke. I see now that political correctness is a means to an end. I will let Orwell explain:

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Orwell discussed doublespeak in 1984. This is where logic and reason are twisted. I see much doublespeak today. I see little difference between doublespeak and talking points. The most effective lie contains some truth. Examples of doublespeak/talking points today:

  • “My body, my choice.”
  • “Tax cut for the wealthy…”

This political correctness coincides with the angry lust for power of those destroying our cities. It also coincides with the breakdown of the family and the drawing away from God the Father.

Putting a bow around this

The argument of the progressives …. that a mascot is racist… this is an easy argument to reject with logic. To refer to something as racist implies knowledge of one’s heart and motives. What did Jesus say about this?

Matthew 7:1-3 NIV

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

I can promise you that I never looked at FSU Football doing the chop with contempt towards Seminoles. Just as I never looked at the Notre Dame leprechaun with contempt towards the Irish. Just as you never looked down at a warhawk as “just a bird”.

I am not going to judge in such a way. That is not my job. I am going to focus on the plank in my own eye. I am going to focus on acting with as much Grace as I can.

Last week, the Whitewater City Council proposed an ordinance to limit parties for UWW students (among other things). It was pointed out to the council that the ordinance allowed for events for some but not for others. It was put into context similar to racism (picking one demographic over another).

Do I believe that the one city council member that voted for the ordinance has something against students? That is simply not my job to judge such a thing.

And Finally … why it is inappropriate for this topic to be discussed in schools

I would ask you, the teacher…. did you discuss the points I made above?

I promise you that the points I made above could have been made by any of several hundred people within Whitewater School District.

This is a failure of the principal and the administration of the district…. that here we are, two weeks into the school year, and the first topic to come up is highly charged and political. It is Orwellian in nature, invoking the judgement of people’s very thoughts. This is imho one of the worst kinds of failures… and to our kids.

As a seventh grade social studies teacher, you have such great topics to discuss with our kids…. from the Magna Carta, to the Founding Fathers, to the Civil War…. I could go on and on and on….

This topic has no place in our society, in our school district, and with our kids.


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