Media

Karel | May 26, 2021

On another level: the dangers in Gender Theory

We discuss aspects of gender theory, trying to understand why the advocacy for this phenomenon is spearheaded by a tiny, yet vulgar and threatening group who are intent on dying on the hill of the fallacy that transgender women are biological women. The article also looks at the complex biology that accompanies being female, not necessarily a blessing.

We have written numerous articles about the implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools in South Africa.

CRT is one consequence of the current social justice movement. It is usually presented as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI or, as I prefer, DIE) training. 

Dr James Lindsay, creator of the New Discourses website which aims to educate about the scourge of this industry, says that equity is a rebranding of socialism – an administered economy that makes outcomes equal. Diversity and Inclusion are tools used to install political officers (in the school context ‘consultants’) to censor and remove dissidents. ‘In other words, the Woke Marxist DEI industry is a racket designed to install commissars for its ideology.’

The principle is that blacks (and other chosen minority groups) are perpetual victims and whites are perpetual oppressors. In these circumstances, society has to be completely changed so that the power resides with the oppressed. In summary, it is ‘transformation’ through racism.

The indoctrination is commonly accompanied by bullying and condemnation if a child doesn’t share this method of creating a tolerant society. However, it is in reality a political movement the aim of which is to change the power dynamics to achieve a Marxist society.

You would be forgiven for thinking this indoctrination was inappropriate in schools, particularly because all the other political systems are not taught. It’s inappropriate because it teaches adherence to a belief system that many parents are opposed to.

Now Gender Theory, another branch of the social justice paradigm, is starting to be implemented in schools. This theory is altogether on a level of magnitude more fact-resistant, irrational, emotional and potentially damaging than race theory.

Three conditions

There are three conditions at issue here: ‘gender dysphoria’ is a condition in which an individual feels that they do not identify with their sex. A ‘transgender’ person is someone whose gender identity is different from their sex. A ‘gender non-conforming’ person is someone whose appearance or behaviour does not align with what one might expect from a member of their sex.

Transitioning can be done in one of two ways. ‘Social transitioning’ occurs when a person chooses to present themselves as a member of the opposite sex. This may be through aesthetic changes such as clothing and hairstyles, and could also include going by a different name and using different pronouns. Generally social transitioning is reversible. A medical transition is the use of medical interventions such as puberty blockers, hormone treatment and surgery to alter the body. Some types of medical transitions, such as puberty blockers, are reversible, whereas surgery is generally permanent. Even with reversible treatment, a transitioning person may suffer permanent side-effects.

You will likely have heard about the ‘transgender movement’ in the US and the UK. It is extremely aggressive; it hounds people who disagree with it. It has led to people, particularly in academia, resigning or being fired for their non-transgender-conforming views.

The most perturbing issue in dispute currently is the insistence by transgender activists that transgender women (men who transition to women) are women in the biological sense. There is no such hysteria, however, about women who transition to men. Why this is so is not often discussed.

The most famous celebrity that the transgender movement tried to cancel is JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. They discovered that it’s very difficult to cancel the very rich. She was very supportive of transgender women, but refused to accept that they are biological women.

False claim

Those critical of transgender women being considered biological women, usually are not opposed to the right to live life as their preferred gender, but will not accept refutation of biological sex so as to include transgender women. Many transgender women activists and journalists recognise and are angry about the false claim that transgender women are biological women. They express concern about the shrill bullying and anti-scientific assertion that sex is ‘assigned’ at birth. 

Whether there are biological explanations for the transgender phenomenon, it does not alter that men are biological men and women are biological women. There are very rare cases of hermaphroditism, the condition of having both male and female reproductive organs, but this doesn’t derogate from the argument. There is some evidence that some transgender people’s brains display a tendency that results in a clash between what a person feels his or her sex to be and the biology with which they are born.  

The ‘assignation’ at birth of sex is risible. Sex is determined in utero; it’s not as if as a child is born and some mysterious process happens which decides and certifies the sex the baby shall have. This is the gender theory equivalent of creationism – that the earth came into being 6 000 years ago despite incontrovertible science that the earth came into existence over 3 billion years ago.

The consequence of this assault on the status of biological women is that it threatens to undo over a century’s fight for women’s rights. Much of what women have had to fight for has its roots in women’s physiology.

Here’s some sobering advice for biological women and transgender women – women can’t have it all. Biological women have a very small window in which to marry and have children. This doesn’t mean that women can’t chose not to marry, or not to have children, or delay having them. Choices can be made but compared to biological men, women draw the short straw.

Women are able to bear children from puberty to the age of 35 relatively safely. Obviously the safety depends on access to the right medical facilities, or on cultural norms that may require teenagers or even children to marry and have children, which may be severely damaging if not fatal to the girls’ health.

Pregnancy

Assuming one lives in a First World context, women can bear children safely for about 20 years. After 35 the risks attendant on pregnancy and the ability to fall pregnant deteriorate dramatically; so too does the chance of the baby having abnormalities rise.

But what is a profound distinction of biological women is roughly 40 years of monthly menstruation, which can inhibit normal activity for being embarrassing, painful, likely to trigger migraines and messy, particularly for poor girls and women who don’t have easy access to feminine hygiene products.

The hormonal consequences for women are inexorably tied to the social consequences of their relationships with men and the options that they do or, mostly, don’t have in life. This informs women’s rights.

Then as all of this is coming to an end, menopause kicks in with its own discomforts and disruption. Getting over that is usually wonderful for women, only to realise that the ravages of age start to appear with disturbing frequency.

Obviously all of this represents the common experience; experiences may differ. However, all of this is what makes women biological women. Transgender women deserve respect for their choices and the way they live their life. But they are not biological women and to insist they are diminishes what women deal with just by virtue of being women.

And if your children are taught, at the age of six, that they can change their sex, protest it. Sex and gender are way too sensitive and complex issues to raise with young children. Age-appropriate education and the buy-in of parents is crucial. It is not up to teachers and consultants to inculcate their views which are false.

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend

Wash, rinse, repeat: the curious case of the Milnerton High ‘racist’

Caiden dissects the alleged racism at Milnerton High, explores the inconsistencies and comments on the inevitable insertion of diversity consultants which usually results in a non racist school becoming racist.
facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
pinterest sharing button
linkedin sharing button
reddit sharing button
whatsapp sharing button
 

It’s not racist until it’s racist

There is an ugly phenomenon in our education space, just as in broader society, in which allegations of racism are being made on the assumption that behaviour is racist. This is before the evidence is in.

There is something surreal about the high pitched denunciation of apparent racism that percolates in our public space.

The response to the alleged racist urinating incident at Stellenbosch University was loud, outraged, sometimes racist. It was a disgusting act, but the fact that the victim was black doesn’t mean that it was racist.

This juvenile behaviour, unfortunately, is not uncommon at universities, even the Ivy League institutions. My colleague exposed us to this world here.

The commentariat, usually comprised of the privileged elite which includes university students, go out into the public square, spewing outrage. The outrage festers because social media is suited to charges of outrage and intolerance.

The urinating incident was revolting. The perpetrator deserves any punishment the university may impose on him. What I don’t know is, and I don’t know if the commentariat knows, was the incident racist? 

The commentariat holds that the fact that it happened to a black student, ipso facto, made it racist. If there was no intention to be racist and the student could as easily have done it to a white student, it’s not racist.

What is particularly egregious is that one prank by a student, most likely drunk out of his skull, reflects ‘institutional’ or ‘systemic’ racism. 

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, questioned why we are rightly outraged over the ‘pissing incident’ but asks where is the outrage over the 2,818 children under the age of five who have died of malnutrition in SA hospitals in the past three years? ‘Where is the campus outrage at a time when we literally put flames to the bodies of black people from other African countries? There is something deeply disturbing about student activism at present. It is so inwardly focused, transient and blissfully disconnected from the broader politics of racial resentment in the country and the world. In other words, a poverty of thinking that results from a narrow education that has little in its knapsack other than reactionary behaviour.’

James Myburgh in an article on Politicsweb entitled ‘The Two Weeks Hate and Tony Leon’ describes it thus: ‘In South Africa there is a ritual, best described as the Two Weeks Hate*, in which some person or institution becomes the focus of intense uncontrollable rage, first on Twitter, and then across the local and sometimes even international media. This developed into its current form about five years ago and the general pattern, and the High Priests responsible for its execution, are all familiar by now.’

The upshot is that the go-to position (even for Prof.Jansen), when the act of a white person has been publicly declared racist before evidence finds the alleged perpetrator to be (or not) a racist, puts the finding ahead of an examination of the facts. As a consequence, innocent lives that may be damaged, students leave their universities and jobs may be lost.

The South African Human Rights Commission has found after investigation that many cases of alleged racism, reveal that the accused have not committed racist acts. But the damage has already been done.

Prof. Jansen says ‘Now that some of the smoke of protest has cleared around an outrageously racist act in a men’s residence at Stellenbosch University (SU), it is time for deeper reflection. The facts of the case are undisputed. A white student urinated on the laptop and other possessions of a black student. However, the public incense, sometimes disguised as commentary, was all over the place. Let’s take a closer look.’

He then goes on to say that this incident is a distraction from bigger issues . On process he says ‘even a simple decision by the senate to teach a core module that requires all students to engage with issues of race, identity, culture and politics has remained in a cycle of perpetual piloting status.’

I am not convinced about “teaching” students not to be racist will resolve the problem. Prof. Jansen is correct, however, when he says racist attitudes will mostly come from a home environment. The home environment is not in the purview of the accusers or the university. For that reason it may be very difficult to change the attitudes of studdents.

In reality we will never rid society of racism. In the same way that we won’t rid society of gender-based violence, rape and murder. The best we can hope for is to lessen it or minimise it.

Attitudes are very difficult to change. What schools and universities can achieve, however, is the inculcation of behaviour that is moderate and respectful whatever a student’s beliefs are. But don’t expect to change attitudes. Attitudes change with time and exposure to different environments and different people, and because of the inculcation of good behaviour.

Many of the cases of alleged racism investigated by the South African Human rights Council find that the alleged perpetrators have not committed racist acts. But the damage has already been done.

An article in The Citizen was headed ‘Racism remains SA’s most stubborn problem, as SAHRC sees spike in complaints’. Racism is an issue in this country, but is not by any stretch South Africa’s most stubborn problem. The hysterical hyperbole of the press doesn’t help.

“Abortion” for children

Children's authors have decided that children who are too young must be exposed to realities of abortion as if it's just the opposite of pregnancy. It's scary.

Gender Theory, another branch of the social justice paradigm, is starting to be implemented in schools. This theory is altogether on a level of magnitude more fact-resistant, irrational, emotive and potentially damaging than race theory.

I wrote about this in an article titled On another level: the dangers in Gender Theory on 16 May 2022.

Picture story

However, nothing prepared me for coming across a child’s picture story book for children under the age of 13.

It is titled Whats an Abortion, Anyway? The author describes it as a “Resource for young people who are curious about abortion or know someone who’s had one”.

The author assumes that children reading the book or having it read to them have a basic understanding of how pregnancy occurs; a rather naïve assumption.

The book has colourful, simple illustrations including a cute brown puppy-dog. It’s hard-cover, with a pretty front cover.

The back cover blurb states: ‘“What’s an Abortion, Anyway?” is a medically accurate, non-judgmental, and gender-inclusive resource for young folks about abortion care.

‘In this book, you’ll learn about what an abortion is, some of the reasons people have abortions, and a few of the ways people might feel about their abortions.’

The book shows that what it says is a gender-inclusive issue is, in fact, medically inaccurate.

The guide to parents on the inside cover states: ‘Abortion can be a difficult topic to broach among adults, let alone children. As abortion doulas, we know how important it is to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to have intentional, compassionate, and nonjudgmental conversations about abortion care with the young people in their lives. To our knowledge, there are currently no published books in the US that use the word “abortion” for children under the age of 13. Parents, caretakers, and providers need and deserve a nonjudgmental, gender-inclusive, and medically accurate resource to use in discussions with children about abortion.

‘Our intention is for this book to be a starting point – just one initial resource for parents, caretakers, and those wanting to talk to the young people in their lives about abortion care. As you’ll discover in the book’s text, the language used is devoid of gender or a traditional narrative arc due to the expansive, complex nature of abortion care. To use a traditional narrative arc would be to erase the millions of individual stories and reasons that people seek abortion care. It is important to us that this book does not perpetuate the ideology that there are “good” reasons or “bad” reasons to have an abortion.’

Doula

According to her biography the author, ‘Carly Manes (she/her)’ ‘is a white, queer, Jewish full-spectrum doula from New York. She has always believed that young people deserve transparency when it comes to information about their sexual health and bodies. Carly has been a practising abortion doula for over six years, supporting more than 2,000 individuals during their in-clinic procedures. She loves the beach, chicken tenders, and her communities. She lives with her partner Mo and their playful pitbull Mickey.’

A doula is a professional labour assistant who provides physical and emotional support to prospective parents during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. A doula is not a healthcare professional.

I had never heard of an abortion doula but apparently the “profession” does exist; not a bad idea in and of itself.

The illustrator ‘Mar (they/them),’ is a ‘brown genderqueer cultural worker and full-spectrum doula.’

The two, under the name Emulsify, create art that helps them ‘heal, learn, advocate, and imagine new worlds. They believe all art is powerful and political.’ Mar lives in Brooklyn with ‘their’ wife and spends ‘a lot of time creating while snuggling their pups’. Through ‘their’ work, M has made incredible friendships, learned from brilliant peers, and found ‘their’ home.’

It’s all very affirming and fluffy, but I don’t believe that something as potentially negatively life-changing as abortion is a matter for a deceptive-looking story book. Abortion falls within that greater subject of sex, and together with religion, should be entirely in the hands of the parents and discussed at a suitable age or in an appropriate set of circumstances.

The introduction for parents, who are going to read the book to children, notes that ‘Folk of all different gender identities get pregnant which means that folk have abortions.’ This is nonsense.

Honour everyone who has abortions

Manes says her aim is to honour everyone who has abortions and ‘challenges the mainstream cisgender assumptions that only women have abortions.’ As Prager U’s Will Witt says, ‘try to explain that sentence to a 5 year old!’

There you have the essence of the controversy about gender theory: identities other than biological women are ‘folk’ who ‘have abortions’. People have been cancelled, blocked, and lost jobs because they express the biological truth that women, and only women, are biological women.

Not according to the authors. They say: ‘When a person gets pregnant, some people have an abortion’.

‘An abortion is when someone decides to stop growing their pregnancy.’ Stop growing their pregnancy? As Charlie Brown would say: Good grief!

‘There are many different ways that people who are pregnant can have an abortion. Some people see a doctor who does a special procedure to remove the pregnancy from inside a person’s body. Other people take medicine to stop the pregnancy from growing bigger.

‘Abortions are very safe and millions of people have abortions every year all around the world.’

Let’s just have a look at that last flippant and ignorant remark.

World Health Organisation statistics show that 45% of induced abortions are unsafe. Some 13.2% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions. The author obviously caters to an indulged, protected first-world audience; the trials and tribulations of the second and third worlds don’t enter her mind.

‘People have abortions for different reasons: some people have abortions because they like their family exactly as it is. Some have abortions because they can’t take care of a new baby right now. Some have abortions because doctors say pregnancy can make you sick. No matter the reason everyone should be able to make this decision for themselves.’

Roe v Wade generation

This reflects the attitude of a Roe v Wade generation, where the physical and emotional stresses of considering and then having an abortion are regarded as no more traumatic than a dose of ‘flu.

‘People have many different feelings before, during, and after their abortion. Some people want to talk about it and some don’t. Some people feel happy or calm. Some feel sad or lonely. Many people feel all these things at the same time. No matter how someone feels about their abortion they deserve to be treated with love and respect.

‘We can never really know what it is like to be someone else.’

Essentially they almost make abortion seem like a cool flip side of the pregnancy coin.

Abortion and the decision-making leading to it are usually extremely difficult and emotionally draining. While a partner, male or female, may be involved in the decision whether to have an abortion or not, only a woman (or girl) can have an abortion.

This is not an issue to discuss with a child unless a child asks about it, or is at an appropriate age to deal with and understand the issue. It is not subject matter for a child’s story book.

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend


Rants professionally to rail against the illiberalism of everything. Broke out of 17 years in law to pursue my classical music passion and run the Joburg Philharmonic, but had to work with musicians. Working with composer Karl Jenkins was a treat. Used to camping in the middle of nowhere. Have 2 sons for whom no girl is good enough, says mom.

American antiracism is social justice status quo in South Africa’s private schools

UCT professors Nicoli Natrass and Jeremy Seekings warn us how American antiracism, as opposed to South African non-racialism , dominates UCT's transformation and social justice agenda. The same applies in South Africa private schools.

On 14 June The Daily Maverick published an article titled ‘South African non-racialism or American antiracism? UCT muddles through muddied waters’ by UCT professors Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings.

The authors discuss the ideological difference between contemporary American antiracism and South African non-racialism and explain that the former has come to dominate the university’s transformation and social justice agenda.

The authors explain, with reference to the work of ‘the American guru of “antiracist training”’, Robin DiAngelo (author of White Fragility), that ‘American antiracism does not simply mean being anti or against racism’. Instead, it requires an ‘essentialist apartheid understanding of “race”’ and rejection of ‘colour-blindness’, leading the authors to conclude that ‘Contemporary American antiracism entails a rejection of non-racialism’.

Warnings

The Institute of Race Relations has over the past two years sounded warnings about this new and illiberal idea of social justice.

We have argued that antiracism has become the default position when it comes to matters of social justice in private schools. In investigating this we have read school anti-discrimination policies, codes of conduct, and antiracism statements adopted by schools and organisations like the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA); conducted numerous interviews with concerned principals, teachers, and parents; and engaged with reading material recommended by school antiracist consultants and transformation committees.

Despite this, we have been derided by some commentators for creating unnecessary panic about an apparently non-existent phenomenon. We have been accused of importing American right-wing talking points and been told by critics that we just don’t ‘get it’. At every turn we have countered the critics with reasoned arguments citing examples proving our case.

It was reassuring therefore, to read the article by Nattrass and Seekings who are among very few academics (Professor David Benatar is another) who have been willing to criticise antiracism and its grip on tertiary institutions in South Africa, particularly at UCT.

Features inherent to antiracism

The authors highlight a number of features inherent in antiracism which they see as undermining efforts to advance social justice – features that, the IRR has argued, are present to varying degrees in private schools countrywide.

Our primary concern with antiracism ideology is its rejection of non-racialism in favour of race consciousness.

Antiracist ideology, explain Nattrass and Seekings, ‘frames all disadvantages experienced by “black” people as the result of “systemic racism”, meaning the institutional and cultural promotion of “white supremacy”’.

Once this worldview is accepted, achieving social justice becomes a matter of ‘dismantling systems’ associated with ‘whiteness’. Not only is this empirically spurious but it results in a profound scepticism of anything associated with white people.

The idea plays out in schools in concerning ways including school policies asserting that ‘whiteness’ is synonymous with the oppression of black people, that white pupils need to feel guilty and apologise for their ‘white privilege’, and that white pupils be required to acknowledge that they are necessarily racist because they are white.

It is unsurprising given this focus on race that we have seen the adoption of what Nattrass and Seekings call ‘DiAngelo-style “affinity groups”’ in schools. These affinity groups are racially exclusive and serve different purposes depending on what colour skin you have.

Nattrass and Seekings discuss affinity groups for white people, formed ‘as part of a broader effort to “decentre whiteness”. We at the IRR are aware of affinity groups in schools reserved for black people, the purpose of which, as one school explains, is to create a space for students where they can be safe from the oppressive nature of white spaces.

Rejection of colour blindness

In a significant number of private schools, particularly those affiliated with ISASA, there is an outright rejection of Martin Luther King Jnr -style ‘colour-blindness’. In fact, some schools have even included expressions of colour-blindness on official lists containing examples of racist speech, effectively prohibiting constitutionally protected speech.

A second although no less pressing concern is the way in which antiracist advocates promote their race essentialist ideas.

Nattrass and Seekings describe how antiracism initiatives at UCT are being pushed ‘as a matter of ideological (or religious) conversion rather than critical engagement’. This too is the case in private schools where pupils and staff are regularly required to attend mandatory antiracist or so-called diversity, equity and inclusion training sessions where any criticism of antiracism is quickly stifled with unchecked moral certainty.

American antiracism, as the IRR along with Nattrass and Seekings have argued, leads to tribalism and the muffling of viewpoint diversity. The IRR believes that social justice depends on the affirmation of the constitutionally enshrined values of non-racialism and freedom of opinion. As such, we will continue to criticise antiracist ideology as and when it is foisted upon the youth of South Africa.

Article: Walkout at Milton Academy

When high-school students can’t tolerate hearing the name of a book title, we know there’s a problem in education. This happened in America, but it's happening in South Africa.

One of us, Harvey Silverglate, recently got “cancelled,” in a sense, for publicly mentioning a notorious term, often used as a slur. In one of those great ironies that characterize our historical moment, the impugned utterance was contained in a lecture on the importance of free speech in academia.

The situation unfolded on April 27th at Milton Academy, a prestigious private high school in Massachusetts. A student group, the Public Issues Board, had sponsored a multi-day series of panels and lectures on subjects of the students’ choosing. Silverglate was invited to give a talk on free speech and academic freedom, a subject in which he specializes.

Milton Academy Campus / Youtube

Approximately two-thirds of the way into the lecture, Silverglate held up before the audience two books. One was entitled The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses, which Silverglate co-authored in 1998. The book focused largely on the struggles to protect free speech in higher education. The other book was authored by a Harvard Law School professor, Randall Kennedy (the co-author of this article). The title of that book is Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, published in 2002 and recently updated.

As soon as Silverglate pronounced the name of Kennedy’s book, an audible murmur was heard from the audience. Silverglate tried to explain why it was essential that he pronounce the actual title of the book, rather than the frequent substitution, “the n-word.” He intended to point out that if one followed the fashionable rule that the infamous n-word could never be appropriately uttered in full under any circumstances, one would have to leave gaps in the writings and performances of, among others, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, Mark Twain, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce. But amidst the clamor, a substantial part of the audience walked out, although a few students did remain after the lecture to discuss or debate points with Silverglate.

Though we come from different perspectives, we have collaborated on this essay because of what the walk-out tells us about the dangers that free speech and academic freedom face even in purportedly sophisticated, broad-minded, intellectually adventurous settings. The articulation of “nigger” did not arise out of the blue. It arose in the context of a high-school program focused on freedom of expression featuring remarks by a speaker who had been invited no doubt because of his reputation as a free speech “absolutist.” If controversial opinions regarding what words and ideas may be aired are ruled out of place at a free-speech assembly at Milton Academy, we know that we have entered a perilous cultural moment in which debate is overwhelmed by unquestioning persecutions of perceived heresies.

We probably would have let this matter rest, were it not for the fact that days after Silverglate’s address, the Public Issues Board sent out an email to the entire student body, apologizing for Silverglate’s purported infraction. “As members of the Milton community,” read the email, “we know not to use the ‘n-word’ due to its repugnant history and connotation. Thus, it was shocking and uncomfortable to hear the word voiced multiple times by Mr. Silverglate.”

One student forwarded that email to Silverglate, who in turn, on May 23rd, sent an email to Milton’s head of the upper school, David Ball. Silverglate requested of Mr. Ball that he be allowed to circulate to the entire student body his response to the disapproval expressed by his hosts, and his defense of having quoted the full and accurate title of Kennedy’s book. When no response was forthcoming, Silverglate sent Mr. Ball a reminder on June 10th. It is now August, and, as of this writing, still there has been no response.

The lessons taught by this sad tale are sobering. One is that it is apparently acceptable for students to signal their disagreement with a speaker by walking out of an assembly rather than subjecting his or her ideas to the testing that vigorous dialogue allows. We know that practices from higher education have permeated the K-12 world, and that today a third of college students believe that it is sometimes or always acceptable to shout down speakers, or to try to prevent them from speaking on campus. Another 13 percent believe that is it sometimes or always acceptable to block other students from attending a campus speech.

Another lesson is that the educational authorities at a storied academic institution are so afraid of offending the sensibilities of censors that they would rather discourteously ignore a guest speaker’s request to respond to a mistaken charge than permit the airing of a full debate. What happened at Milton is hardly an attractive display of diversity, inclusion, or equity.

American county shows 582% increase in gender non-conforming students - there's a problem

Montgomery County Schools in Maryland saw a 582% increase in reported gender non-conforming students over 2 years. We don't think this is something to be sanguine about. This suggests a deeply disturbing development in the promotion of non-binary gender identity politics involving children. Read the article and see what you think.

Maryland’s largest public school district saw a 582% increase the number of students identifying as gender nonconforming in just two years, according to internal data posted to an educator’s Twitter page.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) gathered this data from forms school counselors fill out when students approach them to talk about gender identity issues. Because the numbers rely on self-reporting, the near-sevenfold increase from 2019 to 2022 could indicate a massive increase in the number of gender-diverse students, an environment that encourages those students to be more open with counselors or both.

 

The data — which is not publicly available to parents or taxpayers — was posted to Twitter on Oct. 6 when educator Elicia Eberhart-Bliss shared an image of a slide show presented at a meeting of the district’s “Pride ALLiance.”

During the 2019-2020 school year, a total of 35 students reported gender nonconformity to a counselor, including four elementary students, 19 middle school students and 12 high schoolers. During the 2021-2022 school year the total number of students reporting gender nonconformity spiked to 239, including 18 elementary students, 129 middle schoolers and 92 high schoolers.

 

The data state that 423 students filled out the form with a counselor, and 45% of those students are considered “non-binary.” The data were collected across 84 schools, including 20 elementary schools.

 

Christopher Cram, the spokesman for MCPS, told the Daily Caller that a “full accounting” of LGBTQ+ students is “impossible,” as the data can only be compiled on students who fill out forms with the district.

“A full accounting of students who may identify as LGBTQ+ or gender nonconforming is impossible to know,” Cram said. “This information is covered by privacy rules and is only collected if a student offers that information to a counselor. Therefore a percentage ‘of’ or ‘rise’ cannot be determined to be considered accurate in any way.”

 

According to MCPS guidelines for dealing with students who identify as gender nonconforming, kids have a “right” to keep their in-school gender identities private. The form used to collect data on which students identify as gender nonconforming states that parents can be involved only “if the student states that [the parents] are aware of and supportive of the student’s gender identity.” (RELATED: Maryland Schoo’s Guidelines Claim Kids Have A ‘Right’ To Keep In-School Gender Identities Private)

 

Bethany Mandel, a conservative activist and parent in the Montgomery County area, told the Caller that the data show an “explosion” of gender-confused children.

 

“This isn’t data that the outside world has seen before; it was accidentally shared and is incredibly illuminating,” Mandel said. “There is a clear explosion of gender-confused children year-over-year, and it’s clear the majority of those are legitimately children, middle school and below. This isn’t just a Montgomery County problem, it’s nationwide; we were just able to get a glimpse of the data here.”

Colin Wright, an evolutionary biologist and journalist, argued in an August Substack post that the definition of “transgender” was edited in recent years to be synonymous with people who are gender nonconforming, leading to a spike in transgender-identifying people.

 

If a girl gravitates toward trucks and cars as a child, she is considered “gender nonconforming” and “transgender,” even if she shows no signs of gender dysphoria, according to Wright’s analysis. This expanded definition is used by prestigious medical institutions and activism hubs including the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Planned Parenthood.

“It is urgent that we all fully understand that the definition of transgenderism used by our most highly regarded scientific, medical, and human rights institutions now literally encompasses common gender nonconformity, and this is the main reason so many children are now claiming to be transgender,” Wright wrote.

 

The costs of identity politics at St Stithians

Martin Humphries, who had to defend his daughter over accusations of racism which weren't proven, estimates the considerable costs that parents of St Stithians have to pay for the school to indulge in the processes of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that produce none of those high ideals. This article originally appeared in the Daily Friend.

In an article ‘Why I am suing St Stithians over false allegations of racism’, I provided an overview of the legal action that I have instituted against St. Stithians College and three of its officials.

I explained that I am suing for the costs of defending my daughter against false, unfounded, and defamatory allegations of racism when, after a protracted four-phase battle during 2020, the independent chair of the appeal ruled in her favour and dismissed the findings of guilt and sanctions imposed.

This begs the question that if I win, who will pay me? My claim is against St. Stithians and the officials in their personal capacities. All four parties acted with intent and negligence, in my opinion.

In the unlikely event that I lose, St. Stithians’ costs will consist of mostly legal fees and management time. But if I win, it will likely cost St. Stithians over R500 000 with the caveat that if the Court rules against the officials, then they will have to pay personally.

You may ask if R500 000 would be the total cost to St. Stithians, or should I say, the fee-paying parents, of the identity politics at St. Stithians? Well, no, so let me do a small case study.

Costs to St Stithians 2020

In the period 31 May 2020 to mid-July 2020, St. Stithians must have spent a small fortune directly on legal fees and indirectly on management time and costs.

Stakeholders in the greater school community will remember the many announcements between 31 May 2020 on Twitter (@ststithians) and 18 July 2020 in an open letter from the Rector, Mrs Celeste Gilardi, who wrote as follows:

“Student Disciplinaries.On the 31st of May, the school was made aware of disturbing video footage being widely shared on a number of social media platforms. The videos featured College students whose behaviour brought the name of the school into disrepute. Our immediate response, on the 1st of June, was to send a letter to our community and then to initiate a formal investigation based on our Code of Conduct. The investigations indicated that a disciplinary process was warranted and charges were drawn up. Disciplinary hearings have been held and sanctions have been issued. We must bear in mind, that as these proceedings involve minors, we are legally obliged to maintain the confidentiality of the students involved. The sanctions have been accepted by the students, although one student has asked for leave to appeal.” [my bold emphasis]

That one student was my daughter.

Mrs Gilardi’s letter went on to state:  

“Throughout this process we have relied upon the expert assistance of well-respected lawyer Mrs Shamima Gabie (sic) from Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc, and Adv Hamilton Maenetje SC, who also drew up the terms of reference for the disciplinary process.”

Mrs Gilardi also took the opportunity to talk about changes to St. Stithians’ established governance standards:

“As per our Governance requirements we will be reviewing a number of College policies including the codes of conduct for staff, parents and students. The review of our code of conduct for students in actual fact began last year and a second draft will be ready to be shared with all our stakeholders within the next two weeks.”

In the period of my daughter’s Appeal between 23 June (outcome of the disciplinary hearing) and 5 October (outcome of the Appeal), another small fortune must have been spent on legal fees and management time.

But whatever the Appeal would have cost if the process were simply allowed to continue in the normal manner, can easily be quadrupled given the fact that St. Stithians and its officials maliciously launched a second wave of attacks on my daughter. That Appeal must have cost St. Stithians’ parents at least a few hundred thousand Rand in direct and indirect costs.

Allegations against staff

In the same open letter of 18 July 2020, Mrs Gilardi wrote:

“On 18th June, the Girls’ College instructed attorneys Cheadle Thomson & Haysom Inc. to assist with an investigation into various allegations made against staff as shared by the group of alumni in their memorandum to the College. The attorneys determined that only allegations that were contained in the official memorandum provided to the College ought to be investigated. Further to that, the anonymous submissions would not be considered as staff members could not be expected to be confronted with accusations devoid of all the details that they would need in order to defend themselves. Those who made anonymous submissions were invited to share their evidence with the attorneys in a confidential manner, but this opportunity was not taken up by any of the alumni.

In respect of these allegations where the student appended her name, the attorneys have been able to reach out to the alumni and are engaging with them. The attorneys are in the process of determining the next steps, once they have considered all the evidence.”

The outcome of those investigations, with no teachers being found guilty, was announced in an open letter dated 15 October 2020 signed by Mrs Gilardi and others:

“Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc Attorneys findings were that further investigations of these matters were unnecessary in light of the assessment of each complaint. They did however recommend appropriate training for all staff to assist them to understand the nuances and the need for racial sensitivity and the complexity that diversity brings to the classroom and to the College. In the absence of such training, staff will continue to demonstrate unconscious attitudes, reactions, stereotypes and behaviour that is devoid of any understanding of racial experiences and the profound effect that this brings to an educational experience. Training by a specialist in this fieldwill assist staff to….” [my bold emphasis]

So in effect, none of the accused teachers were guilty of racism, but all teachers and staff were deemed to be practising racists.

Never let a good opportunity go to waste

The legal investigation and report (which parents paid for but were not allowed to see) seem to have been great feedstock for the rest of the identity politicians to jump on the bandwagon and take a large slice of the tuition fees being paid in good faith by parents.

In reading Mrs Gilardi’s letter of 15 October a bit further:

“We initiated discussions about race and racism, with a focus on racial and diversity literacy for all our staff members across the different levels of our schooling. Our current students have also had the opportunity to engage and share their lived experiences, with an intent to develop a programme that will support and give room for all voices to be heard at all times in safe spaces.”

“As a College we are aware that the workshops and conversations held once off will not make a difference, and have therefore structured an Action Plan for 2021 that will continue to support the work of social change in every school…”

“Futhermore (sic), we have formulated Transformation Task Force Groups that have all stakeholders represented for the advancement of organizational (sic) change at all levels. These are: 1. Curriculum Transformation 2. Staff Transformation 3. Discipline and Mediation 4. Student Care 5. Accountability and Transparency”

“The Transformation Office, which is located in the Girls’ School Admin Building has an open-door policy…”

“Attached is a full report on all the work that has been done to date in all our schools and Campus departments.”

The ‘full report’ attached to Mrs Gilardi’s letter is an 11-page ‘Transformation Report 2020’. It is available on the college website (here). In my opinion, this report:

• Supports several new or amended roles for directors, chairs, consultants, and lawyers;

• Enforces new, foreign ideologies about race, gender, and sex, complete with new roles, consultants, unknown risks and costs;

• Translates into 1000’s of hours per annum of people’s time including leadership, teachers, lawyers, and consultants;

• Translates into a significant proportion of students’ time being spent on identity politics, from pre-prep to grade 12;

• Makes no mention of any cost-benefit analysis, SWOT analysis, a review of risks and rewards, an impact assessment or any other leadership and governance mechanism to properly consider the needs, interests, concerns, and expectations of “one and all” (the St. Stithians motto);

• Contains no selection criteria or vetting standards, including background checks, for the people appointed to deal with such delicate and often intimate matters;

• Ignores scrutiny of appointed companies and institutional partners, whose staff should come under additional direct scrutiny, with comprehensive guarantees;

• Assumes no vested interests or conflicts of interest;

• Contains no unique or clear performance metrics;

• Ignores dispute resolution processes for any unexpected challenges or outcomes;

• Ignores the possibility of creating or driving division in the community;

• Ignores the identification and quantification of any direct, indirect, tangible, or intangible costs;

• Promotes redesigning internationally accepted curricula and standards towards unknown outcomes; and

• Supports labelling and segregating teachers and students and transforming the campus into a re-education camp.

Some questions about 2020

Why did the college leadership capitulate so easily to mostly unfounded claims about racism from mostly unidentified alumni? Why, in the few cases where an accuser was identified, did their accusations come to naught (per the secret legal report)? Why were only students found guilty (by management) and when challenged, were St. Stithians’ findings overturned upon independent review?

Simultaneously, new and unknown ideologies about race, gender, and sex, were forced upon teachers and students? Why?

These actions shamefully suggest that St. Stithians management are free from scrutiny and are allowed to violate the rights of students and parents with impunity. And at great cost. And what about the teachers – were they all in support of these identity politics, or did they simply lay low out of fear for their jobs? And where were the governance officials?

Summary of tangible costs

Let me try to estimate some of the costs for 2020, already incurred and presumably paid:

• Managements and teachers’ time – direct and indirect costs, very likely thousands of hours including senior members of staff duly spent on non-teaching time;

• Legal fees – direct costs, much higher than in prior years;

• Consultants’ fees – direct costs, most likely zero in prior years;

• I estimate R24 000 000 – R36 000 000 via an easy method of applying a small percentage of staff’s time against the estimated salary bill (which will be the largest cost item against estimated revenue). Add a few million for the increased legal and consulting costs, plus other small but directly related costs. Hopefully it’s not higher than this, but I will be surprised if it’s much lower.

So, let’s estimate that R30 000 000 was spent in 2020 on direct and indirect costs, and probably every year since. Plus, let’s budget R500 000 for the direct costs of the current matter between me and St. Stithians.

This excludes items such as:

• Loss of revenue: some students left the school after 2020 due to the identity politics of that year. I know of at least one, but let’s not ascribe a monetary value to this by assuming that a replacement student was immediately onboarded with the same fee structure;

• Loss of staff: some excellent staff left the school due to the same identity politics (I know of at least one) but how do we put a value to this destruction? I won’t try to ascribe a monetary value although I believe it’s significant.

Are St. Stithians parents – past, present, and future – happy with the possibility of your college forking out over R30 000 000 for identity politics in 2020 alone, some of which may still have to be paid? With at least a similar amount as recurring expenditure.

The bad news for the school, however, is that there may be more costs coming. I know someone who is taking legal advice on claims including criminal charges against St. Stithians and some of its officials.

Even further bad news is that it’s possible that other parents, students, and even teachers may bring claims against St. Stithians and its officials.

I hear anecdotally, from several sources, that the ongoing identity politics interventions are not being well received by many teachers, students, and parents. Most are just too scared to say anything at this time for fear of retaliation. It is possible that not everything I’m hearing is correct, but if the anecdotes prove to be true, then the cost estimates in this case study are rather low.

Identity Politics Litigation Fund

Consequently, it may be a good idea for the college to proactively build a contingency fund for legal action pertaining to poor or unintended outcomes of their untested and possibly malevolent ideologies.

Perhaps an initial R5 000 000 plus say R5 000 000 per annum for so long as the institution continues to indulge in identity politics. This amount excludes the perhaps more significant risks associated with St Stithians’ new focus on gender and sex ideologies.

And hey, if I’m mostly wrong, then the money in this proposed fund could perhaps be used to pay towards the sustenance and educational costs of several hundred children living in far less privileged environments.

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR.

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend

 

Why I am suing St Stithians over false allegations of racism

Martin Humphries describes having to defend his daughter against allegations of racism at a private school that has implemented the contentious approach of Critical Race Theory and anti-racism. This article first appeared in the Daily Friend.

There have been numerous articles and posts in recent times about identity politics, some of them about accusations of racism at schools and colleges in South Africa.

Stories are being told about unfortunate cases at various institutions, including St John’s College in Johannesburg, Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal, St Mary’s DSG in Pretoria, Herschel Girls School in Cape Town, and my daughter’s former college in Sandton, St Stithians.

There appears to be a common thread: a handful of activists and their yay-sayers who are hell bent on seeking and amplifying division and cancellation*. These activists are allowed to flourish and are perhaps even encouraged by those in charge. This is not only destructive for any innocent victims, but it is also not what the institutions themselves, or the country, need right now.

It is also very expensive. Yet it seems these schools have lots of spare cash for consultants and lawyers in helping to drive the activists’ agenda and narrative.

I believe there are many innocent victims out there, including students, parents, and teachers, who want to tell their stories but who are too scared to do so for fear of further reprisal. Or perhaps it’s because it takes time and energy to fight back. Either way, it’s not going to help our children if parents sit back while standards of leadership and governance are allowed to decline.

I am a father whose daughter was in Grade 12 at St Stithians College in 2020. I am now suing St Stithians and three of its officials, and, if I succeed, it’s going to cost college management a lot of time and money.

Summons has been issued in the Randburg Regional Court against St Stithians College, Dr Sally James (Head of Girls’ College), Ms Leanne Horwitz (Head of Diversity and Transformation, Girls’ College) and Mrs Ntombi Langa-Royds (former Deputy Chair, now Chair of Council).

Background

What follows is a summary of the case and public record.

For broad context, St Stithians and its officials had a legal duty not to infringe or impair my daughter’s right to a basic education, and to act in her best interests. However, on 31 May 2020, Dr James made false, unfounded, and defamatory allegations against my daughter.

On 1 June, Ms Horwitz was appointed as ‘Chief Investigator’. Interviews and discussions were held with my daughter, while I was prohibited from attending.

On 5 June my daughter was issued with a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing on 12 June. She was charged with ‘Racism, racist conduct or other offensive behaviour’ and with ‘Dissemination of a WhatsApp communication with an (sic) alleged racist content’.

On 12 June my daughter pleaded not guilty to all charges at the disciplinary hearing chaired by Mrs Langa-Royds, who proceeded to find my daughter guilty on both charges and recommended the following sanctions:

  • A written warning valid for 6 months with expulsion for any offences of a similar nature; and
  • A ‘Restoration and Reflection Task’ of purchasing and reading ‘Waking up White: and finding myself in a story of race’ by Debby Irving, followed by a two-page essay.

My daughter maintained her innocence throughout and appealed against the findings and sanctions.

Advocate Ngwako Hamilton Maenetje SC was appointed by St Stithians to chair the appeal process. Despite the appeal having been noted, St Stithians and Dr James proceeded to implement the sanctions.

On 5 October 2020 Adv. Maenetje SC ruled against St Stithians, Dr James, Ms Horwitz and Mrs Langa-Royds, and dismissed both the finding of guilt and the sanctions imposed upon my daughter.

Intentional conduct

St Stithians, Dr James, Ms Horwitz and Mrs Langa-Royds intentionally and deliberately failed to act in my daughter’s best interests; they failed to properly investigate the veracity and origin of the false allegations and acted with undue haste in their quest to prosecute her.

It appears that this was due to pressure from certain groups within and without the St Stithians community (which they referred to as the ‘greater school community’) and in the context of the ‘Black Lives Matter Movement’. Dr James, in her capacity of Head of the Girls’ College, decided to make an example of my daughter and to punish her in an attempt to quell the pressure from mainly black students and negative publicity on social media targeting several white students and teachers.

Ms Horwitz, as Chief Investigator for St Stithians, persisted with the prosecution of my daughter without having conducted a reasonable and proper investigation and without having investigated the origin of the allegations.

Mrs Langa-Royds, chair of the disciplinary hearing, found my daughter guilty on all charges, despite finding that she could not determine whether my daughter disseminated the alleged WhatsApp communication with the alleged racist content. Mrs Langa-Royds nonetheless found her guilty of racism, racist conduct or other offensive behaviour.

Negligence

St Stithians management failed to consider the damage and devastating consequences for my daughter of being found guilty of serious charges of racism.

St Stithians management failed further in their duties to my daughter when they opposed the appeal brought by her, at which they introduced a large volume of documents, most of which had not been introduced at the initial disciplinary hearing and were therefore irrelevant to the appeal process.

My daughter was denied legal representation during the investigative, disciplinary and appeal processes and was represented where possible by me, her father.

Claim

I had to prepare to be able to assist my daughter properly and spent many hours preparing for defending her against the conduct of St Stithians and its officials.

I set out the time I had had to spend, as well as the relevant costs attendant thereon, in an invoice to St Stithians.

It is for payment of this invoice that I am now suing St Stithians and its relevant managers. St Stithians in turn is suing me for outstanding fees for the year in question; I am defending this claim strenuously. If I win both matters, it will likely cost St Stithians over R500 000.

The college’s management may have felt under pressure to be seen to be dealing with several allegations of racism. However, they were obliged to thoroughly investigate any allegations being made. In the current climate, being falsely accused and found guilty of racism can destroy a child’s schooling and prospects.

This may be hard on management, but they are obliged to manage these fraught scenarios fairly and professionally.

*cancellation is the ostracism of someone from media, social media or in person, for doing or saying something that is contrary to the view held by those promoting the cancellation.

[Image: https://www.stithian.com/girls-college/news/category/girls-college/]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend

Press release: Fish Hoek High ‘social justice’ saga: we told you so – IRR

The FSU, a division of the Institute of Race Relations, issued a press release about the Fish Hoek High School debacle over the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion intervention initiated by the Western Cape Education Department to conscientise 800 pupils about their racial biases. It didn't end well and parents were outraged.

Media contact
Sara Gon
FSU SA Director
083 555 7952

Email: info@freespeech.org.za

Fish Hoek High ‘social justice’ saga: we told you so – IRR  

On 4 July 2022 the Free Speech Union of South Africa (FSU SA) addressed a letter to the MEC for Education in the Western Cape, Mr David Maynier, copied to the Shadow Minister of Education for the DA, Mr Baxolile Nodada.

The FSU SA warned about the potentially detrimental effects on social cohesion and free speech of social justice initiatives at schools. The program used to achieve this purpose is referred to as Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

We expressed concern that strictures on free speech were increasingly being experienced in schools where Critical Race Theory and Critical Gender Theory were being inserted into curricula. 

CRT’s premise is that white-on-black racism is the normal state of affairs. As such, anything to do with ‘whiteness’ should be identified and ‘dismantled’. Therefore, schools seeking social justice must teach students to focus on the immutable characteristic of a person’s skin colour only. 

The FSU SA supports schools being proactive in tackling discrimination. Creating school environments free of discrimination and where all members of a school feel a sense of belonging should be a priority.

We stated that ‘the FSU has come to understand that this hyper-racialism is routinely taught to schoolchildren of all ages by external consultants and teachers, and is reflected in recommended readings’.  As a consequence, race relations are bound to suffer and often found do. 

We appealed to the ‘Western Cape Education Department specifically and the Democratic Alliance generally to reconsider any use of DEI to sensitise students. There are more appropriate ways to deal with incidents of racism et al when they occur. Children are remarkably able in managing their socialisation to good effect without the intrusion of well-meaning adults’.

On 12 July we addressed another letter to the WCED, noting, with reference to our original letter, that Fish Hoek High School was being subjected to the same DEI processes due to allegations of racism.

Ms Kelly Mauchline, Mr Maynier’s spokesperson, said she would bring our letter to his attention. We heard nothing further.

Then four months later, on 3 November 2022, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) issued a press release alleging that pupils at Fish Hoek High were so traumatised by a ‘diversity course’ on racism and faith, that they had to receive counselling. The press release is summarised below. The nature of the alleged circumstances are not unusual.

 

About 800 pupils had to attend the session where they were told that ‘only white people can be racist’.

 

Three officials and six psychologists from the WCED presented this ‘course’. Teachers were not allowed into the session. 

 

The presenter was Asanda Ngoasheng, a well-known DEI consultant, but she is controversial. Her biography makes no mention of her being a psychologist. The approach used by many DEI consultants is to berate children on the grounds of their “whiteness”, this being assumed to amount to eternal culpability for the sins of previous generations and for which there is no forgiveness.

A pupil who managed to leave the session told a teacher what was happening. The teacher returned with her, but was ordered to leave the hall.

 

The WCED ordered this intervention because earlier this year, in teaching the setwork, Fiela se Kind, a teacher used a word – we have not managed to clarify with certainty what it was – that resulted in some pupils complaining. As a consequence, the WCED charged her with misconduct. She was found not guilty.

 

Regarding the subsequent intervention, the principal was unhappy about holding the session so close to exam time, but was given no choice.

 

It appears that the WCED has adopted a very illiberal approach to dealing with allegations of racism at schools, despite the FSU SA communicating its misgivings.

The FSU SA believes that the processes that the WCED is applying are completely antithetical to the DA’s classically liberal policies.

There are other ways of tackling these issues without ruining the confidence of pupils and dividing them on the grounds of race.

The FSU SA welcomes Mr Maynier’s commitment to a “review” of the WCED’s approach – which is precisely what was recommended in its letters to the department in recent months. Such a review is now a matter of urgency.

 

Media enquiries:

Sara Gon, Director Tel: 083 555 7952 Email: info@freespeech.org.za;

Caiden Lang, Researcher Tel: 072 239 6145 Email: caiden@irr.org.za

Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za;

 

Capture by committee

A description by Martin Humphries of how wokeness became embedded at St Stithians which saw his daughter wrongfully charged with racism.

The article appears on Martin's Newsletter his substack here.

 

How woke language distorts the world

Peter Boghossian writes on how the woke use ordinary words and fills them with new ideological context. So words with a set meaning come to mean something else entirely - an ordinary meaning and then an activist meaning.

This article was originally published by sp¡ked on 8 November 2022 - read here.

24 days to capture St Stithians

In part 5 of Martin Humphries series on wokeness at St Stithians College, he uncovers the truth about what happened at the school in June 2020, he discusses bringing the perpetrators and accessories to account, and trying to stop the ongoing damage that is being done to children and teachers.

Part 5 can be found in full on Martin's substack, Martin's Newsletter here.

DBE sets unattainable gender identity goals

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is going full Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) by formulating a policy based on the gender identity politics that have bedevilled schooling in the United States and Britain according to Sara Gon

The DBE is seeking to implement the praxis of Critical Gender Theory which evolved in American academia. This approach is highly contentious, subject to dispute and criticism.

‘Consultations are currently under way after which ‘a formal public engagement process is scheduled to take place’ on the ‘Guidelines for the socio-educational Inclusion of diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) in schools’. (Our underlining). The Guidelines will be published for public comment during 2023.

The note about this issue on the DBE’s website seeks that utopian ideal (unattainable goal) of eliminating gender discrimination in the same way that the woke seek to ‘eliminate’ racism or gender-based violence. They pretend that unacceptable attitudes and human behaviour can be entirely eradicated from society.

‘The focus of the discussions is the elimination of gender discrimination in all spheres of society and creating a socially conducive and welcoming environment in schools.’ No small ambition that.

Apparently, the document ‘includes pertinent questions about inclusion of sexually and gender diverse children pertaining to school admission; curriculum; co-curricular programmes; uniforms; and ablution facilities’.

All of these issues, particularly those pertaining to exclusion in admissions and the changing of curricula, suggest that these are not “guidelines”. As described, these issues suggest a rather more obligatory requirement to be met by school administration.

The Department says that it is probing relevant response mechanisms to ensure the constitutional obligation for socio-educational inclusion of sexual minorities in respect of school governance and School Governing Bodies (SGBs) across Provincial Education Departments.

What constitutional obligation is the minister talking about? There is nothing in Section 29: Education that provides for such an obligation. The only pertinent section can be:

9(3). Equality

The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

There is no requirement for the DBE to create ‘response mechanisms’ to make sure that no discrimination takes place.

One does not argue against children being educated about issues of gender and race, and  promoting tolerance. But a whole programme to remedy the problems that children with gender dysphoria or identity have, is bizarre.

Religion, belief and culture

It may also conflict with the right to religion, belief, and culture.

To address gender discrimination, the DBE should instruct school management and teachers about the constitutional provision. Schools should acknowledge that the Constitution applies even if they hold a personal objection, religious or otherwise. Staff are expected to treat children without discrimination irrespective of their personal views.

The DBE can create a module in Life Orientation to explain the phenomena, and also explain that whatever attitudes or beliefs children may have, they are expected to behave tolerantly towards other children. Any bad behaviour will result in disciplinary action being taken. The DBE should warn of the same vis-a-vis the teachers. Schools should be expected to use psychologists to assist in supporting a child.

No one, however virtuous, can hope to eliminate gender, racial, or religious discrimination. You can try, and in some cases succeed, but there are too many factors that shape attitudes in the wider society, not just the school.

Attitudes are very difficult to change. What society has to strive for is teaching tolerance and decent behaviour despite any thoughts a child may have about another child. It is only through changing behaviour that attitudes will change. Unless the DBE’s intention is to indoctrinate children.

But is it the DBE’s intention to apply critical gender theory to advance the National Democratic Revolution? ‘The document provides International and Regional Frameworks that create an enabling environment for the United Nations (UN); the African Union (AU); and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States to include diversity and inclusion in education and training. Constitutional and Education Policy mandates that protect children of diverse sexual and gender identities are also stipulated. The focus of the document is on how the education system supports schools to create safe and caring environments for all children to receive teaching and learning without discrimination or prejudice’.

In other words, Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (underpinned by Critical Race Theory and Critical Gender Theory) are going to be forced on our schools. I say this is indoctrination, because these are political theories, and there is no intention to teach alternative political theories. The idea is to teach children what to think, irrespective of what anyone else, including parents, may say.

The DBE’s extensive proposal is bizarre because in the grand scheme of schooling in South Africa, prejudice is a problem that affects a relatively small number of children. Teachers and administrators can be trained to manage a problem if it arises. If the school doesn’t resolve it, then the parents can approach the relevant provincial education departments.

Ablution facilities are the obvious area where the most resistance will be met.

Children, particularly teenage girls going through puberty, are likely to be very uncomfortable with unisex toilets. They need privacy, and they need to be away from the sort of inappropriate behaviour teenage boys often indulge in.

Dire straits

Educational infrastructure is in dire straits. Many schools don’t even have proper toilets, which has been a huge bone of contention, educational and legal, for many years.

The DBE is likely to face resistance for both reasons. Is it going to require better resourced schools to use after-tax school fees to create such facilities? These are intended to be only guidelines after all. 

‘Many stereotypes exist about how boys and girls should look, speak and behave,’ explained Mr Likho Bottoman, Director for Social Cohesion and Equity in Education.

‘Early learning environments are important places to help children feel safe and accepted, whilst being encouraged to reach their full potential as every child has a gender identity, along with their personal understanding of how they perceive themselves. In addition, there is increased inequality in schools perpetuated by racism; xenophobia; gender stereotypes; harmful gender norms; and discrimination and related intolerances, including against vulnerable populations such as the LGBTQI+ communities. The Directorate has been conducting its first leg of stakeholder consultations on the Draft Protocol for the Elimination of Unfair Discrimination in Schools and Guidelines for the socio-educational inclusion of diverse SOGIESC. Diversity, in all its forms, should be embraced and entrenched by all actors of society in the ethos of every school community.’

Mr Bottoman’s assertions require supporting evidence, and they deserve to be challenged, but they give the flavour of what the DBE has in mind.

An article by the Freedom Front Plus’s Dr. Wynand Boshoff in Politicsweb provides more detail which exacerbates our concerns. Dr. Boshoff asked questions in Parliament over a two-month period to get information about the guidelines. He has seen a hard copy of the document.

Dr. Boshoff addresses the following matters:

1.         Children who want to undergo medical procedures to prevent puberty or change their gender should, according to the document, have the right to decide to do so from twelve years of age – without consent from their parents. And schools are meant to help make this possible.

2.         These guidelines are not applicable to Early Childhood Development (ECD) because ECD centres are already participating in a purpose-  made intervention programme called “Gender Responsive Pedagogy for Early Childhood Education” (GRP4ECE), which follows a play-based learning approach. Learning materials amounting to R20 million were funded by the ETDP SETA in 2022.

3.         Groups created to help formulate policy comprise the “Social Inclusion in Education Working Group”. They are a group of like-minded organisations to which the DBE reached out, because the Department’s own ability is limited.

4.         ‘The DBE has previously attempted to incorporate civil society organisations representing family values in the working group. However, this approach to group composition proved to be a challenge due to extreme differences in opinion. As such, the DBE has opted to openly engage with civil society organisations representing family values separately, as their voice is valuable and essential in addressing discrimination and oppression of children from a family values perspective. These engagements have already begun.’ There were 27 groups involved: 3 were from government; 1 was “conservative” and the remaining 23 were either left-leaning legal centres or gay, lesbian or transgender groups of one kind or another.

The Minister is obliged to consider extreme differences of opinion. If the best that the department could do was consult with organisations that supported its views, it must expect pushback when the full document is published, and public participation begins.

[Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend

Not seeing colour is not racist

The woke insist that 'I don't see colour' or 'I am colourblind' are actually expressions of racism in that you ignore a fundamental feature of a person. We don't agree. We believe they are positive terms that merely reflect that a person's colour is not the basis upon which a person is judged.

The point of language, to the best of my understanding, is to create shared intentions between the communicators involved. When I speak or write, what I genuinely want is for you to understand the idea I have in my head the same way I understand it. I want to get my idea into your head, and I want the shape and texture of that idea—its meaning—to be the same as what I have.’ – Dr. James Lindsay, author, cultural critic and mathematician.

Lindsay goes on to say that words that are frequently used in respect of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) arguably are for the greater good and to be striven for such as : diversityinclusionequityantiracism, and justice. Others we would oppose like racism, sexism, misogyny, hate and white supremacy. According to Lindsay, however,  none of these ten terms mean what we know them to mean when they’re used in the context of CSJ – even critical and social justice aren’t used to mean what most of us think they mean. 

One of these words or terms is ‘colour blindness’ or ‘I don’t see colour’. The term traditionally means that race is not a factor in the way in which we respond to people or regard people. It’s not intended as insulting or racist. It means to show tolerance and a regard of people as equals. Colour blindness has not been seen as indicative of being racist or unduly hurting people. Until recently, that is.

Heather McGhee inWhy saying “I don’t see race at all” just makes racism worse reflected the CSJ movement’s view that ‘color blindness is a form of racial denial that took one of the aspirations of the civil rights movement — that individuals would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” — and stripped it from any consideration of power, hierarchy or structure’. 

According to the movement, “I don’t see colour” is to say one is blind to the racism people face. This definition by the movement has amended the common understanding of the words.

Typically, a 2015 article in The Atlantic said: ‘Many sociologists, though, are extremely critical of color blindness as an ideology. They argue that as the mechanisms that reproduce racial inequality have become more covert and obscure than they were during the era of open, legal segregation, the language of explicit racism has given way to a discourse of color blindness. But they fear that the refusal to take public note of race actually allows people to ignore manifestations of persistent discrimination’.

In the course of some research, colleague Caiden Lang came across a few school disciplinary codes and procedures which refer to the term “I don’t see colour” as being listed as a specific example of unfair discrimination on the grounds of race. 

The Free Speech Union of South Africa wrote letters to a few schools in mid-October 2022 pointing out that proscribing the use of the term did not comply with the limitations placed on free speech by the Constitution or by the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.

Further, the prohibition on the term denies the opportunity for robust debate at school. We requested each school to consider removing the exemplar for the above reasons. 

One response was that the pupils wanted the inclusion of the term because it was hurtful to them. The cynic in me suggests that most pupils will never have heard the term used or if they had, their instinct wouldn’t have been to be hurt by it. They would probably consider the utterer an idiot. I would suggest that any sense of hurt from the term can only have come from being taught by the CSJ movement that the term is  offensive and hurtful.

Most if not all of CSJ language is imported wholesale from American academia and progressives.

Another school agreed with our points and said the example would be removed, but to date has not removed it. A third school did not reply.

In an article written in anticipation of two American Supreme Court decisions about striking down race-based affirmative action in college admissions, Coleman Hughes notes that these cases have ‘reignited the long-running national debate over color-blindness‘. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Hughes is a black writer, podcaster and opinion columnist who specialises in issues related to race, public policy and applied ethics. Hughes has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Quillette, The City Journal and The Spectator. He was a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. He has appeared on TV shows, and with amongst others Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Glenn Loury and Jordan Peterson. He has a BA in philosophy from Columbia University and is a professional jazz musician. The Washington Post in 2018 called Hughes ‘an undergraduate at Columbia University but already a thinker to be reckoned with’. In September 2020, Stéphanie Chayet, writing in the French newspaper Le Monde, identified Hughes as one of four “anti-conformists of anti-racism” along with Glenn Loury, Thomas Chatterton Williams and John McWhorter.

Hughes says that “color-blindness” is neither racist nor backward. ‘Properly understood, it is the belief that we should strive to treat people without regard to race in our personal lives and in our public policy’. 

Only after the Civil Rights Movement achieved its greatest victories was colour-blindness abandoned by progressives.

Hughes says these activist-scholars have written a false history of colour-blindness in order to delegitimise it. 

‘To paint color-blindness as a reactionary or racist idea—rather than a key goal of the Civil Rights Movement—requires ignoring the historical record’.  

Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Anti-Racist, argues that ‘the most threatening racist movement is not the alt right’s unlikely drive for a White ethno-state but the regular American’s drive for a “race-neutral” one’.

Robin DiAngelo, in White Fragility, describes the color-blind strategy as: ‘pretend that we don’t see race, and racism will end’. 

Hughes correctly calls this argument ‘no more than a cheap language trick’. He says we do see race; we can’t not. He acknowledges that race can influence how we’re treated and how we treat others. ‘But to interpret “color-blind” so literally is to misunderstand it—perhaps intentionally’.

Hughes compares the expression “colour-blind” to “warm-hearted”: it uses a physical metaphor to encapsulate an abstract idea. It endorses striving to treat people without regard to race, publicly or privately. 

Hughes argues that ‘not only is class a better proxy for true disadvantage, but class-based policies also avoid the core problem with race-based ones: to discriminate in favor of some races, you must discriminate against others’. 

For Hughes, ‘color-blindness is the best principle with which to govern a multiracial democracy. It is the best way to lower the temperature of racial conflict in the long run. It is the best way to fight the kind of racism that really matters. And it is the best way to orient your own attitude toward this nefarious concept we call race’. Hughes’ full article can be read here.

Lindsay suggests that one reason for the woke use of words we know, understand and use is deliberately deceptive: initiated audiences will be left to understand that the concepts that the CSJ movement are ‘as we have always known them’.

‘Language is, in some sense, then, a set of conventions for what various words (and sounds and inflections and so on) mean, and the people who speak the same language can generally assume that from one person to the next, there is some agreement upon those meanings. 

‘This ambiguity creates space for people who would manipulate us with language through deliberate or deceptive misuses of words that generate the wrong intention in the hearer that creates an advantage for the speaker.’

[Photo: John Giustina/GETTY IMAGES]

© South African Institute of Race Relations | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions