THE BLOG

Do You Emphasize Individualism as Opposed to a More Collective Ideology?

05/18/2006 12:44 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why, then, according to the Seattle Public Schools', you are by definition a cultural racist. Do you have a "future time orientation"? If asked to give a list of great composers, do you give Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart? Do you define one form of English as standard? You racist, you! Shame, shame, shame. Here's the item I'm referring to, from a Seattle Public Schools web page labeled "Definitions of Racism":

Cultural Racism:

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as "other", different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

I should note that of course concluding that great writers or composers must be white would be racist; but identifying a list of great writers or composers that to include only white people may be quite sensible, under naturally contestable but possibly quite reasonable definitions of greatness. As to Standard English, it is surely a great disservice to students not to teach them that there is a certain dialect of American English, associated with educated people of all races, that is seen as Standard, and that children had best learn if they want to get ahead in life.

But beyond these two matters, what about this whole individualism thing, or having a "future time orientation"?