BY LINCOLN BROWN.
When I was a kid, the very first, almost undetectable signs of CRT and all the rest were just starting to surface. They were barely seedlings and went unnoticed by everyone. Despite that, at the time schools were still teaching things like math, spelling, history, and English. And you had to do more than fog a mirror to advance and eventually graduate.
While I am no grammarian, at one point in time, I was one of the sharpest knives in the drawer. And that was not due to being a child prodigy. It was due to my 7th and 8th grade English teacher. Woe to you if you did not diagram a sentence properly, left a participle dangling, or ended a sentence with a preposition. This woman had been active in the civil rights movement, and the idea that everyone had the right and, for that matter, responsibility to meet and when possible exceed their potential informed everything she did. We simultaneously loved and feared her. She was black, and she applied the same high standards to everyone who entered her classroom. And when we were not shaking through a lesson on gerunds, we learned about Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Faulkner, Maya Angelou, and a host of other writers. We learned that no matter what, in her classroom, we spoke the King’s English. And from time to time, we had history lessons as well. And there was debate. And there were arguments. We were getting a classical education, and no quarter was given to those who refused to keep up with the lesson.
To this day, I am still ridiculed for refusing to end a sentence with a preposition. I just can’t bring myself to do it.
I am not sure if my teacher is still with us, but wherever she may be, I am sure that she would be appalled by Marta Shaffer, a California teacher. According to Fox News, Shaffer describes herself as “cringey,” and she is apparently as woke as one can get. Of note, she is also whiter than a bottle of liquid paper. Of course. She has taken it upon herself to combat white supremacy by combating grammar. Yes, grammar is racist. Again. I’m pretty sure we’ve been down this road before.
Shaffer maintains that expecting students to use proper grammar and syntax is part of the white supremacy culture. She said so on her TikTok account, because of course she has a TikTok account. Find me a lefty that doesn’t have one. She is a fan of students writing essays using African-American Vernacular English. Shaffer stated:
“We study linguistics and the rules that we actually use to communicate instead of the made-up rules that White supremacy created for when we write papers and stuff, which is what scholars call the ‘language of power…As an educator I am constantly worry (sic) if I’m the problem. What do I mean by that? Well public education is an institution that upholds lots of problematic systems in our society like white supremacy, and misogyny and colonization, etc. Well, let’s look at how we write essays [where we] start with an introduction that includes a thesis, always cite your sources, use transition words like ‘however’ and ‘therefore.’ These are all made-up rules. They were created by Westerners in power. Which got me thinking, what if I started my school year with a unit honoring how we talk rather than teaching students how to write properly.”
She also holds the opinion that SAT scores and IQ curves are racist. But just to cover her bases, she is also concerned about becoming a “white savior.”
If Shaffer is saving anything, it is her ego. The idea that students cannot or should not expand their minds, their skillsets, or even their vocabularies is, well, racist. Shaffer tells herself that she is encouraging her students. What she is doing is ensuring that her students remain uneducated and without the tools to succeed. Woke people, particularly woke white people, need a permanent underclass to justify not only their self-esteem but their very existence.
In my 7th and 8th grade English classes, doing anything but your very best would have gotten you chewed out, and in some cases, a pen flung at your head. I have a feeling my teacher would respond in much the same way to Ms. Shaffer.