The California department of education recently released a new model ethnic-studies curriculum, which might soon become mandatory for all high-school students in the state. Deeply influenced by the latest politically correct trends in the academy, the curriculum teaches that Irish and Jewish Americans, being white, have benefitted from “racial privilege.” As for the state’s large Persian Jewish community—a non-European minority group that fled persecution in its homeland and has become part of California’s fabric—it has no place at all, writes Karmel Melamed:
If the California department of education is indeed serious as well as sincere about being inclusive and making California students more sensitive to other ethnic groups in the state and country, then they [should] include the Iranian Jewish experience in facing anti-Semitism in Iran and the painful experiences of anti-Semitism the 850,000 Jews from the Arab and Islamic lands faced in the 20th century. How can you ignore the history of one of the largest Jewish communities living in California within your proposed school curriculum on ethnic studies?
If California’s lawmakers and policymakers are truly open-minded . . . about including all ethnic groups who have suffered in their new educational curriculum, then they cannot leave out the historical suffering of Iran’s Jews who are also proud Californians. I do not speak for all Iranian Jews living in California, but I am certain that if given an opportunity many of them would appear in large numbers for hearings before the State Legislature to voice their concerns about the state’s ethnic-studies model curriculum.
The [supposed] primary purpose of ethnic-studies curricula in public schools is to raise and educated the new generation of citizens to be more sensitive and more inclusive to all ethnic groups living in the state. Therefore, the state department of education has a duty to present [to students the] story of all groups—including the Jews from Iran and the Middle East—in their education for the next generation.