“Everything from China is tainted with Communism (and lead)”

Socialism Studies – funniest Jon Stewart clip yet. “We should not be teaching American children about our enemy. It’s brainwashing.” The lady is actually arguing that teaching Mandarin to middle school children can turn them into communists. No, I ‘m serious. She actually says this. Don’t be drinking any liquids as you watch.

There is little more depressing than the inbred American far right. I mean, can anyone really be this stupid? It’s just scary to think Chinese people in China are watching this and thinking these morons are representative of the US. Well, I guess they are, but only of a (hopefully) small sliver.

Oh, and in a very unexpected twist, this post on teaching Mandarin actually gets in a healthy reference to ABBA and even a few notes of Dancing Queen. Jon Stewart rocks.

Update: More video here.

Lots of posts about this over here.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Obviously, these people opposing this program haven’t thought things through very well. There’s nothing to lose and much to gain from learning a foreign language.
Nevertheless, I’m not entirely comfortable with some of the forms of “academic exchange” promoted in chinese studies. For example, something like a Confucius Institute is left completely sealed off from and unaccountable to the broader academic institution of which it is a part. I have had the “unique fortune” of talking with some Confucius Institute teachers and have generally found them to be more interested in presenting a particular image of China than in any academic study of China. This general orientation, combined with the complete unaccountability of such institutions, leaves me quite doubtful as to their overall value, particularly in schools that already have a mandarin and chinese studies program.

June 10, 2010 @ 3:02 am | Comment

Kevin, there’s an interesting article about just this issue over here. In it, there are two Chens with two widely divergent opinions of the Confucius Institute’s study plans. One of them, Kai Chen, is an outspoken critic of the CCP, and he sees the lessons as implying Chinese superiority over Americans. I’m willing to believe this, but have to know a little more about it.It’s certainly very possible. But what I hate are the inane claims that studying Chinese is an embrace of communism. Make their study plans accountable. But don’t give up teaching Mandarin over John Bircher hysterics.

June 10, 2010 @ 5:38 am | Comment

“and he sees the lessons as implying Chinese superiority over Americans”
Funnily enough, reading the comments one gets in the various Chinese subject related fora, the implication I get is that the Chinese are superior to everyone. Wife tells me that westerners are considered dumb by many Chinese (along the lines of the Irish in the UK or Poles in the US…that sort of thing…).

Not, of course, that this is a Chinese peculiarity – seems everyone is superior to anyone else 🙂 My daughters are lucky – they have Western and Eastern superiority – surely 2 superiorities make them uber-superior!

June 10, 2010 @ 7:55 am | Comment

I agree that hysterics shouldn’t get in the way of education, and I am not really sure about some of the claims that people make about the content (“superiority,” “socialism,” etc.)- anyone opposing this would need to be a bit more specific to be taken seriously.
But essentially I don’t see any reason to oppose it. I think that the important thing to do is not to push back against these programs, but rather to supplement them. If there isn’t coverage of historical events or controversial topics, these should be addressed in other classroom settings.

June 10, 2010 @ 8:19 am | Comment

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt”-Abraham Lincoln

Americans need to take this advice to heart. So tired of people overestimating the worth of their uninformed opinions. Thank goodness we have a program like the Daily Show to put people in their place. They should have asked the lady for her definition of “communism” and an explanation of how China today fits that definition. I would have enjoyed the resulting dumbfounded stare.

June 10, 2010 @ 9:36 am | Comment

They should have asked the lady for her definition of “communism” and an explanation of how China today fits that definition

Not China – Red China. (People still actually say that?!)

June 10, 2010 @ 9:40 am | Comment

…I know…

Unfortunately our politics continue to be held hostage by the boomers (no offense to boomers out there, but for every one of you that fought for Civil Rights, cringed at Mcarthyism, and helped get us out of Vietnam, there was another one that felt the completely opposite way…at least those nice intelligent kids at the end of the Daily Show piece may be a hint of light at the end of the tunnel…)

June 10, 2010 @ 9:57 am | Comment

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