UW-Madison editorial calls to 'decolonize' 'eurocentric, whitewashed, sexist' curriculum

The editorial says that call is part of "a larger agenda that recognizes identity politics and equity."

The UW-Madison student newspaper ran an editorial advocating for the "decolonization" of the curriculum.

The Daily Cardinal at the University of Wisconsin-Madison published an editorial advocating the “decolonization” of the university’s curriculum to achieve “inclusive education.” 

In the February editorial, the board labels the university’s current curriculum as “eurocentric, whitewashed, sexist and heteronormative.” It says that what is taught must be inclusive and encompassing of all intersectionalities, arguing that students’ minds are most formative and malleable during their college years, so they must be exposed to “various cultures, histories, and identities.“ 

The article states that the Editorial Board is striving for “a larger agenda that recognizes identity politics and equity.”

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This will be accomplished through establishing a multicultural curriculum, reforming legislation on education policy, and allowing for “control of personal sexual health.”  Through this, racist tendencies will be lessened and “cultural sensitivity and consciousness” intensified. 

The editorial suggests that Gender and Women Studies courses should be required and included in every degree plan, that sex education must be LGBTQIA+ inclusive, and that the “abstinence-only approach” should not be followed any longer. Historical female and LGBTQIA+ figures must also be included in all curricula. This will allow marginalized groups to “know their own worth.” 

“We need to break down the assumption everyone is heteronormative to the [sic] stop stigma and othering of the LGBTQIA+ community,” reads the editorial.  Not only does the revised curriculum need to be multicultural, but also within the “social justice framework including queerness,” according to the editorial. Moving past the binary and towards gender fluidity is touted by these authors.   

In regards to implementing the proposed LGBTQIA+ material in the classrooms, Evan Karabas, Communications Director of College Republicans of UW-Madison, told Campus Reform, “It is sick that activists are so consumed and obsessed with permanently altering and manipulating a child’s development before the child is even mature enough to understand what is going on.”

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The authors cite several solutions to current “injustices.”  Using each person’s preferred pronouns and “respecting everyone’s identity and experience” will promote a more inclusive learning environment, the editorial board says. Eradicating Columbus Day is another proposed solution to correct the holiday’s “sanitized and violent past.” 

“The ‘multiculturalist approach’ to teaching U.S. history knows that it never teaches about the triumphs and shortcomings of all parties. Its purpose is to emphasize the shortcomings of the colonists while ignoring their accomplishments and coerce students into despising the country and its founders, which is disgusting,” Karabas told Campus Reform

The ability of students to assemble their own degree plan should be the “norm and not an exception,” the editorial asserts. 

Required courses within a major should be eradicated, it adds. The board does not want students to be forced to zero in on one area of study or class type due to their chance of “dissatisfaction” in the future with the career path they chose. 

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“[True education] is a tool that helps maximize potential and empower those who have historically always received the short end of the stick, reads the editorial. “An understanding of real history and gender dynamics will also serve the historically privileged classes well, as they can contribute to a world that could one day be far removed from the toxic status quo.” 

Karabas countered this claim by telling Campus Reform, “Identity politics are used by malicious and dishonest politicians to manipulate Americans into vilifying people who are different from them. That said, the idea that identity politics is something to be sought after in a civil society is obviously foolish.” 

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