‘I try to undermine that BS in my classroom’: English teacher claims teaching kids ‘how to write properly’ is rooted in white supremacy
A California English teacher recently posted several controversial videos on social media claiming that teaching children “how to write properly” is rooted in white supremacy and vowed to begin the school year with a different approach to teaching linguistics, Fox News Digital reported.
Marta Shaffer, an English teacher at Oroville High School in northern California, posted videos to TikTok claiming that white supremacy culture “runs deep” in public schools.
“What do I mean by that?” Shaffer stated. “Well, let’s look at how we write essays: Start with an introduction that includes a thesis; always cite your sources; use transition words like ‘however’ and ‘therefore.’ They are all made-up rules. They’re arbitrary. They were created by Westerners in power.”
According to Shaffer, the IQ bell curve and the SAT are also problematic and “racist.”
“The writers of these tests were made up almost entirely of white people … and they still are,” she said.
In Shaffer’s social media bio, which she recently deleted, she described herself as an ally to LGBT youth and “another cringey millennial.”
“As an educator, I am constantly worried if I am part of the problem,” stated Shaffer. “Public education is an institution that upholds lots of problematic systems in our society like white supremacy and misogyny and colonization, etc. I try to undermine that B.S. in my classroom as much as I can.”
Shaffer referred to writing rules and proper grammar as the “language of power” and said she would start the school year with a unit “honoring how we talk rather than teaching students how to write properly.”
“We study linguistics and the rules that we actually use to communicate instead of the made-up rules that white supremacy created for when we write papers and stuff, which is what scholars call the ‘language of power,'” Shaffer claimed in another video posted to her TikTok account, which has over 13,000 followers.
Shaffer insisted that she tries to be “inclusive of all kinds of ways we use language.” The teacher noted that she applauds her students for using “AAVE” language, or African-American Vernacular English, in academic essays.
“Just because your teachers, your professors, and your boss may expect you to write and speak in a certain way that may not be natural to you, does not mean that your more natural … languages are not important. They are just as important, if not more important, than the ‘language of respectability,'” said Shaffer.