Last week, an inflammatory Top 10 list in an article flagrantly and falsely accused Texas of being “The Most (Overtly) Racist State in America.” The list was published by a non-profit education organization called Empathy Educates. One of this group’s partners is 1960s domestic terrorist-turned-radical but now retired University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers.
He was billed in the highest regard as a university scholar, although Breitbart News has reported that the roots of the Common Core resonate from ideas generated by the “radical community organizer” Ayers.
Interestingly, that defamatory Top 10 list traced back to the relatively obscure Atlanta Black Star, according to cutestat.com. It’s an outlet that comes with a manifesto to change the world. Its goal on how to change the world may best be illustrated by the fact that it slapped a 2014 date onto an 2012 article and called it new news, which, in turn, Empathy Educates blasted out under its own finely crafted new title: “The Top 10 Most (Overtly) Racist States in America.”
The Atlanta Black Star version of the article, “Top 10 Most Racist States in America,” mentioned that the story emanated from a “website run by a group of independent cyber-geography researchers” that found an alleged spike in racist tweets “during and after President Obama’s 2012 re-election.”
That group was the Floating Sheep in a research blog post on November 8, 2012. The original incarnation of this data was “Mapping Racist Tweets in Response to President Obama’s Re-election.” Floating Sheep tracks tweets. Apparently, it claimed to have longitudinally databased 2012 post-voting presidential election tweets and created a corresponding map to pinpoint the precise location of these allegedly racist social media communiqués.
Also, according to this version of the article, Floating Sheep geo-coded tweets through a system called DOLLY that cleverly continued the sheep theme. DOLLY stood for “Data on Local Life and You;” however, it appears poor DOLLY has met her cyber-maker because the source data that the Floating Sheep folks used is no longer on Knights News Challenge, to which it was ostensibly submitted – a site that claimed to ascribe to “transformational ideas that promote quality journalism” and where they believe “democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.”
The Floating Sheep article also credited Jezebel: the Home of the Happy Shiny Ladies as its original story source point. Jezebel is a celebrity story-driven site that boasts for its readers who post comments the how-to’s of getting noticed by the editorial staff. Those “examples of tweets chronicled byJezebel” mentioned in the story also dead ended somewhere in the cloud.
Also in the Floating Sheep version of the article, the “Location Quotients (L.Q.) for Post Election Racist Tweets” actually placed Texas way down in the bad word list at a meager 1.3 tweets and a mediocre 25th place, which, in reality, is a very good thing and clearly displayed that Texas is not the rabid racist that Empathy Educates insisted upon. Actually, the District of Columbia came in 22nd. Oregon was 21st, Illinois was in 18th place, and Arkansas, home to former President Bill Clinton and former Governor Mike “Rebrand Common Core” Huckabee, came in at 13th place.
However, it turned out that the whole repurposed story that Empathy Educates ran with to allege racism was based on a whopping 395 tweets across 50 states during the period of November 1-7, 2012, according Floating Sheep. “Footnote 1” defined a racist tweet as one that contained both the use of the “n word” or worse as well as “Obama,” “reelected,” or
The Atlanta Black Star article was the version that was picked up by Empathy Educates and spread from there. It was also, in part, influenced by a March 2014 report about Ku Klux Klan activity in America. That part of the story came from PolicyMic. They sourced their data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a watchdog organization that monitors hate groups.
Interestingly, the Atlanta Black Star included a disclaimer into its story about the very data it used from SPLC. This read: “the process was not scientificnor can it be claimed that it gives the most accurate ranking of racism by state.”
This brings us full circle to Empathy Educates, which ran the two-year-old story last week. This is a self-described “caring community” where they “communicate fully and frequently” and “offer a place to ponder, to peruse, to pursue, to gather, and to glean all that may be interesting, invigorating, intriguing, inspirational, and instructive.”
On its site, Empathy Educates boasts its “conversations, collaborations, commonweal and their call” as areas of expertise. Among their conversations are questioning if drivers discriminate against minorities at crosswalks, claims of 21st-century public school segregation, allegations that school dress codes teach girls to feel ashamed, and many more accusations of societal racism that they will heal within the wrapper of their brand of “empathy.”
The nebulously credentialed Betsy Angert is one of the two lead partners of the organization. She is called an Empathy Advocate, and her latter day Age of Aquarius musings read as if still awaiting the 1987 Harmonic Convergence.
“We welcome one and all to energize empathy,” it says on the website, also claiming to work towards “global harmony” as “solutionaries,” while they “engage, exchange, seek, and find shared enlightenment” and “outrospection” through “caring and cognizant collaborations” to “build a world of cooperation through this collaboration.”
It’s a troubling picture chock full of meaningless, euphemistic words that have been strung together into the illusion of a sentence that co-opts the actual meaning of the word “empathy,” which, by definition, requires an individual to have walked in another’s shoes to feel his or her pain. Unfortunately, empathy has become a 21st-century go-to word in an education community filled with “empathetic learning,” also known as “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL). In fact, SEL is called the “new smart,” according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website. You see, it’s no longer about what you know, it’s about what you feel.
This philosophy is rooted in “Emotional Intelligence,” the 1995 pop culture book by Daniel Goleman which leapfrogged IQ to EQ. Today, Goleman is theCASEL co-founder, and according to The Huffington Post, SEL is interwoven into the Common Core framework, which the article suggests presents challenges.
As Breitbart Texas reported, Linda Darling-Hammond, who has played a major behind-the-scenes role in the creation of the Common Core State Standards testing and CSCOPE, sits on the CASEL advisory board.
Ultimately, empathy may have very little to do with Ayers’s or any of the other partners’ participation in Empathy Educates. It is filled with the harder left wing of the education reform movement, including Bob George, the National Director of Save Our Schools (SOS).
This is about an agenda. On July 27-28, the affiliated BATS (Badass Teachers Association) will march on Washington, D.C., in the name of education. Leading that charge will be Mark Naison, BAT’s co-founder and Fordham University professor whose humble beginnings go back to theradical SDS, Ayers and the Weather Underground. Some months ago, progressive education icon Diane Ravitch was pitching Naison as a NYgubernatorial write-in candidate. Ravitch is also good friends with Darling-Hammond and Ayers; she isaffiliated with Empathy Educates.
These are only some of the activist educrats connected to Empathy Educates, the very same organization that puts out a latter-day message that they’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony; yet they also hurled cutting untruths about Texans because, in the end, the misinformation that became disinformation was held together by one great truth – the empaths don’t like Texas Tea.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.