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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Princeton MSM Uses Race Card In Place Of Reasoned Argument

While a purely local issue, this illustrates the liberal debate strategy.

Remember my letter to the editor of the Princeton Packet that questioned whether adding Hindi to the languages curriculum was warranted given its likely increased costs in this era of massive taxes upon the citizens? I had suggested a cost analysis was required before we replace a traditional course while agreeing that there is an obvious benefit of such a course.

Here was my short letter:

To the editor:

While our children would undoubtedly be enriched by becoming fluent (or just learning poco) in Hindi, in this era of massive property taxes that only go up, a marked inability of long-time residents to afford to remain in their homes and the specter of state taxes increasing, this “Nice To Have” proposal to add Hindi to the foreign languages curriculum of our schools must wait for another day.

We respect the valuable addition to our community of those whose home language is Hindi. We also recognize the business relations between America and India that will continue to develop in trade between these free market giants.

The future of all students requires preparation for the high-tech world of the 21st Century. Core subjects already being taught must be the focus of our schools. Pragmatically, we must recognize that the addition of a new subject will either require hiring instructors at more costs or the replacement of established subjects. The need for such a change must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Learning Hindi is not a “Must Have” need. It is merely a “Nice To Have” item for our students of all nationalities. “Nice To Have” programs require scrutiny before implementation and must be shelved given the current state of NJ and local economics.

Here is the Princeton Packet's editorial on the subject. Notice the racist "straw man" they create to blacken a position about which they claim neutrality.

Here was the Packet's neutral review of the opponents of the proposal:

“First, there's the English-only crowd”

“Then there's the schools-are-already-too-expensive mindset”

“This is often accompanied by us-versus-them paranoia.”

“And, finally, there's the throw-them-all-out-and-build-a-wall mentality.”


Note the dismissive descriptions of the proposal's opponents. My letter was the only one published by the paper that disagreed with the Hindi proposal. Yet the Packet describes an apparent slew of letters they never published:

“That this suggestion should evoke this kind of angry, irrational and, yes, racist response reflects a level of intolerance that tears at the very fabric of American society and American ideals.”


My letter was not angry, irrational or racist.

The use of the racist card is cowardly and desperate. The editorial could not summon the courage to dispute any facts or reasoned arguments, so they bludgeon opposition with a phantom racist. I do not doubt that some irate citizen fired off a missive that failed to follow the politically correct guidebook. Some may have been overtly racist.

However, the editors’ opinion shows through the facade in the penultimate paragraph:

“We don't have a strong opinion one way or another about whether Hindi should be taught in the West Windsor-Plainsboro schools — but we think the idea is certainly worthy of consideration, study and public discussion. Maybe, after talking it over, the community will decide it's a good idea. Or maybe it will be deemed too expensive for the moment. Or maybe the district will decide to introduce it as an extracurricular activity, with the possibility of later expanding it into a course.”

That was my very point!

Meanwhile, we never hear about letters in support of the proposal. Can they be characterized in a negative way? Are the proponents using their heightened vote count due to demographics to bully the proposal by a sympathetic but cowed public? Maybe the editors are not overtly stating their opinion but their use of the racist “straw man” and negative connotation in descriptions of the proposal's opponents provide evidence that the Packet editors are in favor of the Hindi language advocates.

One final note: I am actually in favor of teaching "alternative languages". I see more utility in learning some Hindi, Chinese dialect and Arabic given the development of world economies and international relations. These languages are more valuable in my opinion that French or Russian. These alternative languages langauges should be offered by an entrepreneur. Smart parents would be wise to take advantage of such an offer. But it should be voluntary.

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