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Mindlessly pledging allegiance to the United States of Wokeness
Dennis Wyatt 2022
Dennis Wyatt

Rest assured that Marta Shaffer will never be called a “grammar Nazi.”

If you are old enough to remember classrooms where cutting edge tech was defined by a film projector that broke down half the time or an electric pencil sharpener, you know what it means.

Today before explaining the term, you’ll be accused of offending people since no one should mention the word “Nazi” unless, of course, it is to verbally stone someone to death you disagree with.

But I digress.

“Grammar Nazi”, for those who are unenlightened refers to someone that habitually criticizes and/or corrects language usage.

The odds are it was a term coined by someone the U.S. Census would classify as white or is a lackey of white culture.

Is that enough of a concession to the origin of the term to offend those who all-but-stand like robots facing the proverbial wall and mindlessly pledge their allegiance to the United States of Wokeness?

So, who is Marta Shaffer and why is that of any concern?

Let’s start with the “who” unless doing so might upset the sensibilities of those that believe such a structured approach is putting the masses in chains.

Shaffer is an English teacher at Oroville High in Oroville, the county seat of Butte County in Northern California where 19,893 people reside.

She took to TikTok awhile back to lash out against the State of California school system that dictates the basic framework of all curriculum taught in local public school districts.

The following is what she posted in a video on her personal TikTok account that has since been taken down:

“An as educator I’m constantly worried that I am part of the problem. What do I mean by that? Well, public education is an institution that upholds lots of problematic systems in our  society like white supremacy and misogyny and colonization etc.

“In my role as an educator I try to undermine that BS in my classroom as much as I possibly can. I teach high school English and hoo the white supremacy runs deep. What do I mean by that?  

“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.” 

Yes, they are “all made up rules” as she contends. That’s no different than traffic rules although many seem to think directives such as stopping at stop sign is an arbitrary rule.

Come to think of it, why should red octagon signs commonly found where two roads meet say “stop” in the United States? Why not “alto” or “pare” or even “tua”?

Why are we forced to subject ourselves to the language of colonization when approaching red octagon signs in this country? Why shouldn’t they be a version of Spanish or even Swahili?

Speaking of languages rules that are oppressive as well as dead, why describe an eight-sided sign as an octagon. You can’t get more western or engage in misogyny that is as deep as the roots of Latin.

Shaffer might dismiss such questions as playing to white supremacy.

Certainly, Shaffer knows the oppressive origins of the language she is teaching in her classroom especially if she is an English teacher and by chance somewhere along the way may have been forced to read “Beowulf”.

For those who have never to read “Beowulf”, it  is the longest epic poem in Old English. That’s the language spoken and written in Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman Conquest . if you try to read it today without being translated into English, it reads what most  today would view as gibberish.

It is also an example of cultural genocide, definitely a woke concept Shaffer might identify with.

There might be a chance in one of her classes is someone who can trace the bulk of their roots back to 1095 in a land now called Scotland.

How oppressive is it for Shaffer — or anyone for that matter — to ask such a student “how are you” which is arbitrary because it was devised somewhere along the line by the dominant culture?

In doing so it’s just another nail in the student’s ethnic identity given the language of 11th century of the place we arbitrarily call Scotland was known as Scottish Gaelic.

Why use the arbitrary words “how are you” which were devised by an oppressive society that enslaved Scotland? The English have all but obliviated Scottish Gaelic from the face of the earth.

Shaffer risks being politically incorrect in the world she revolves in if when she is asking such a student about how they are doing if she doesn’t say “conas ata tu”.

“Conas ata tu” is Scottish Gaelic for “how are you”.

All languages — not just English — are constantly evolving.

English has incorporated the vocabulary of many languages and continues to do so. Because of that — at least in part — it has involved into one of the  most spoken languages in the world. It can also be called a “democratic language” in terms of the freedom that it is routinely changed and modified.

As an example, the online dictionary Wiktionary has 578,707 headwords, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary has only 470,000, and the Oxford English Dictionary lists just  273,000 headwords. 

The most “arbitrary” dictionary that most people use — assuming it is still in fashion for students in Shaffer’s  Oroville High class to use a dictionary — is the rigid Oxford version . It has the highest bar for adding new words.

The go-with-the-flow dictionary is Wiktionary.

Commas, as lawyers can tell you, have consequences.

So does not communicating clearly. It’s an art, by the way, that we never really have completely mastered.

We live in  world where the proverbial Tower of Babel keeps expanding in ways that wouldn’t have been imagined when ancient men (and some women) of various colors and ethnicities took to creating languages to bring the human race out of the wilderness and into the era that birthed civilizations.

Those “made up rules” being taught daily in public schools whether it is English, science, health, PE, health classes and such are the glue that helps hold us together.

Schools, long accused of existing for indoctrination of societal norms in all corners of the globe long before the 21st century rolled around, provide basic tools that allow us to live together, communicate, and — as pie-in-the-sky as it might sound — help create a better world for all.