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Rutgers University’s English department has declared that correct grammar puts some students at a disadvantage and changes will now be made to address “social justice” and “critical grammar.”
Standards in English instruction will be adjusted now that proper grammar has been deemed racist by the public university, according to an email from Rebecca Walkowitz, a professor of English and chairwoman of the English Department at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
(Source: Fox News)
Former Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain slammed the move in a recent Fox News appearance, explaining how Black Lives Matter supporters and activists are essentially pushing for “lowered standards” for black students who should be given “special treatment.”
In order to “stand with and respond” to the Black Lives Matter movement, changes will be made to the Graduate Writing Program, as the Rutgers English department will introduce “workshops on social justice and writing,” according to an email titled “Department actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.”
Walkowitz explained that the department would be “increasing focus on graduate student life,” and “incorporating ‘critical grammar’ into our pedagogy,” essentially de-emphasizing traditional grammar rules.
The change was announced as a “way to contribute to the eradication of systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color” and the emphasis is to be on providing a more inclusive writing experience, with a “critical grammar” approach focusing more on the “variety” of the English language rather than the structure.
“This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” Walkowitz said.
“Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them [with] regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents,” she added.
“The idea that expecting a student to write in grammatically correct sentences is indicative of racial bias is asinine,” speech pathologist Leonydus Johnson told the Washington Free Beacon, slamming the announced change as “insulting, patronizing, and in itself, extremely racist.”
“It’s like these people believe that being non-white is an inherent handicap or learning disability…. That’s racism. It has become very clear to me that those who claim to be ‘anti-racist’ are often the most racist people in this country,” the libertarian activist added.
Swain told Fox News host Laura Ingraham this week that students used to have to “do the work” once admitted to universities but now want an excuse.
“So to me, it is so demeaning that these black young people today who are more privileged, that have not really had to go through any real systemic racism, they are complaining the loudest. And they are getting cheated out of a quality education,” Swain said.
“I can tell you that starting with the election of President Obama, we saw the racism on campus increase, but the racism was taking a new form…when they talk about antiracism, what they are really doing is promoting racism.,” she said, adding that students not required to learn standard English “are not going to be prepared to function the way they should in our society.”
“No wonder they are angry. No wonder they are trying to burn down everything,” she added.
The Rutgers email from Walkowitz noted that more reading on the subjects of “systemic discrimination” as well as racism, sexism and homophobia will be provided by the department to upper-level writing classes.
An internship titled “Decolonizing the Writing Center” to “make the writing centers more linguistically diverse” is currently being offered by the Rutgers English department, which in 2012 launched a Committee on Bias Awareness and Prevention.
That committee met in June amid protests across the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and members “agreed that the committee needs to move from a role emphasizing ‘awareness and prevention’ towards a role emphasizing ‘culture change,'” Walkowitz explained in the email which was sent to faculty, staff and students.
Initiatives that came from that meeting included a recommendation that all fall 2020 English instructors attend at least one workshop on “how to have an anti-racist classroom,” according to the email. The committee will also reportedly be “organizing two teach-ins focused on Black Lives Matter, ‘anti-racism,’ police brutality, and prison reform” while also “launching a web page to provide access to events, resources, and affiliated groups,”
A summer session on “responsive teaching” is being sponsored by the Diversity and Equity Steering Committee at Rutgers which was formed in January 2020. The workshops aim at equipping teachers on discussing the “disproportionate impacts of covid-19; state power; racism; violence; white supremacy; protest and resistance; and justice.”
Another workshop will address “the ways in which educational institutions reproduce the racism and inequality of American society,” according to the email.
Other programs noted by Walkowitz included programming about “art and protest” and a required “how to have an anti-racist classroom” workshop for all teachers. Reading for Rutgers Day 2021 will “address issues of anti-black racism and social justice” and in graduate studies, “we will develop plans for and prioritize course proposals that seek to foster greater understanding of the longer historical arc of racial injustice.”
Many other race-themed, pro-BLM and cultural diversity initiatives were listed by Walkowitz in her lengthy email which comes at a time when the global coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented education processes and as many universities have become a hotbed of anti-American activism.
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