California English teacher says grammar is a form of ‘white supremacy’

by Jacob Fuller

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 


A California teacher claims to be fighting “white supremacy” by being “inclusive of all kinds of ways we use the language,” in her classroom.

Marta Shaffer, who is a tenured English teacher at Oroville High School, called the traditional ways that English is taught “B.S.” and says she teaches her students that the overemphasized way grammar is taught is racist.

“The writers of these tests were made up almost entirely of White people … and they still are,” she said of the SAT and IQ bell curve, which she also claims are racist, an ideology that stems from the larger Critical Race Theory (CRT) movement.

She said in a recent TikTok video that she was worried she could be “part of the problem,” of “white supremacy.”

As an educator, I am constantly worried if I’m 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,” she continued. “Well, let’s look at how we write essays [where we] start with an introduction that includes a thesis, always cite your sources, use transition words like ‘however’ and ‘therefore.’ These are all made-up rules. They were created by Westerners in power. Which got me thinking, what if I started my school year with a unit honoring how we talk rather than teaching students how to write properly?

The teacher created a series of videos where she praised students’ academic essays for including “AAVE” language – African-American Vernacular English.

In another video the teacher included details about how she prompts students to explore the “codes” they use to talk to friends or family, saying it is “just as important, if not more than important,” than a boss’s expectations on how their employee communicates.

She said, “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.'”

Shaffer admitted that she sometimes felt like a “cringe white lady” when “teaching students of color” about linguistics.

“Did I worry I was being a White savior? Absolutely. Was it uncomfortable? Definitely. But a lot of my students come here, and they’re uncomfortable with the white mainstream culture of public school life. So I think it’s good for them to see their teacher deal with linguistic discomfort, too,” she said.

Activism on the part of teachers has been widely reported, particularly since teachings related (CRT) have exploded. Parents nationwide have been pushing back against CRT in various forms, including in Texas, Virginia, and other states where parents have rallied and run for school board seats to ensure that their children’s curriculum was free of such teachings.

Heritage Foundation President Dr. Kevin Roberts wrote about the tenants of CRT in a commentary titled, “Creative Destruction and the Conservative Movement.”

“It is clearer than ever: American institutions are in decay, and something needs to be done about them if we are going to save this country,” Roberts wrote. “The good news is that Americans still value competent leadership.”