Friday, December 31, 2010

Multicultural Terrorism

Another review I found at The Textbook League's website involved a supplemental social studies text called The Challenge of Terrorism, a 270 page text which the publisher describes as "a collection of diverse, balanced readings that examine the issues arising from contemporary terrorism."

And that's apparently what it is: A collection of various points of view in regards to terrorism, with at least some attempt for critical-thinking discussions.  This isn't a direct lesson on terrorism, but a collection of essays and speeches from various people.  The collection isn't intended to push a specific view, but to expose different viewpoints.  Even the guy reviewing it admits that.

Unfortunately, the guy reviewing it is Michael Radu, a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (in Philadelphia) and a co-chairman of the Institute's Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism.

His review is entitled: This Book Doesn't Teach What Students Need to Know

And what is it that students need to know, according to Michael Radu?  That multiculturalism is bad and most contemporary terrorism is Islamic.  And because the text is meant to stimulate debate by offering diverse opinions about terrorism, the book is trash.  Either you admit that Muslims are the cause of terrorism, or you're a leftist fool.  There can apparently be no middle ground.
Political Correctness Will Kill Us All
Think I'm joking?  Here's the end of his review:
For instance: How can "multiculturalism," which demands uncritical respect for whatever non-European people do, be squared with what students will read in the article that fills pages 79 through 89? Headlined "Osama bin Laden on the Attacks," the article is an excerpt from a transcript of a conversation in which Osama
Indeed.  We're supposed to imagine that the "multiculturalism" that is being taught in this book and in classrooms across America instructs us to give uncritical respect to whatever non-European people do.  That's right.  I remember being taught that.  As were we all.  And yes, that means that we have to have uncritical respect for Bin Laden's plans against us, because that's what we were all taught.  He's totally got us there.  But of course, that's a joke, because multiculturalism doesn't mean we have to have uncritical respect for people who attack us.  That's absolutely absurd. 

And yet, that's his strongest point against the book.  That's his closing argument.  To insist that multiculturalism means that we have to love Osama Bin Laden, and students instead need to learn to blame Muslims for terrorism.  As a reminder, the purpose of this supplemental textbook was to give diverse points of view.  And that's the exact problem Mr. Radu had with it.

Looks Like a Terrorism, Sounds Like a Terrorist...

Oh, and another problem Radu had with the book?  It suggested that the Oklahoma City Bombing was a terrorist attack.  As he says:
The inclusion of the Oklahoma City bombing underscores the difficulty of defining terrorism, and it reminds us that this term is often used sloppily and promiscuously. The men who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building may have hated the federal government, but is there any evidence to suggest that they were trying to influence the federal government's policies or were trying to achieve some other political or social goal?
Oh, how sloppy and promiscuous.  To even suggest that Timothy McVeigh had a goal in blowing up that building is an offense.  As if we're just to assume he was a madman, and had no other purpose than the destruction of that building and the people inside.  Like he wasn't trying to give a big blackeye to the government, and proclaim victory over it due to the impact he made.  Sounds like a terrorist to me. 

But oh, he's white.  And today's students need to learn that most terrorism is Islamic and multiculturalism is dangerous.  Any other message is bad history.

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