Kristina Wong is a comedian (at least according to Wikipedia), but watching her intentionally lobotomize young Asian girls in the name of “social justice” is about as funny as looking at pictures of Khmer Rouge killing fields. Wong is close to hitting her fundraising goal for Season 2 of her “Radical Cram School” video series, and if it’s anything like Season 1 her intellectual sadism will once again be on joyful display for all. Isn’t mutilating little minds just hilarious?
The first rouge flag that something is wrong is the simple fact such a series exists in the first place. Good ideas—ideas that are true, demonstrable, and consistent with reality—don’t require indoctrination of children. Help cultivate a child’s natural curiosity, teach her to think critically and independently, encourage her to stand against the mob armed only with her own judgment, and she’ll discover for herself which ideas are just and life-affirming, and which are toxic. Only ideologues afraid of being exposed as frauds are so manically obsessed, not with helping children learn how to reach their own conclusions, but with ensuring that they instinctively recognize which conclusions are socially acceptable and which constitute unforgivable heresy. No matter what the ideology, the goal of indoctrinating children is not to nurture their minds, but to prevent them from being able to use them: to short-circuit their potential for “wrongthink.” Radical Cram School takes little girls’ curiosity, trust, nascent sense of identity, and earnest efforts to make sense of the world around them, and attempts to turn them into weapons of intellectual and emotional suicide.
“Hello my young comrades,” Wong begins the series. Before her sit nine school-age girls adorned in yellow sashes with red and blue stripes, eager to please the smiling authority figure into whose hands their trusted parents have placed them. Wong is wearing a sash, too, and for some mysterious reason everyone is sporting yellow berets. Her three-pronged agenda is reminiscent of the brainwashing techniques practiced by creepy cult leaders, but the fact that she’s preying on children makes it all the more pernicious.
1. Stifle Independent Thought, Destroy Individual Identity, and Replace the Sense of Self with Membership in the Group
Independent thought is inimical to ideology—and to social justice in particular—so it’s important that Wong undermines the value of critical thinking in her “students” and replaces it with social pressure centered around belief in a laughably simplistic model of the world. The simplicity of the model is important, because a complex model raises too many questions and invites a child to fire-up the left half of her cerebral cortex. Wong can’t afford to have the logical and analytical portions of the girls’ brains activated and working, and she certainly doesn’t want to strengthen those neural pathways. Like all cult recruiters, Wong is all about the amygdala: fear of social ostracism coupled with a longing for approval and belonging. Unbridled rational thought threatens the emotional rewards of certainty, comfort, and security that ideology can offer.
To reduce the entire complexity, volatility, and fluidity of human social interactions to a single brain-dead, static model may be a tall order, but Wong is up to the challenge. Instead of encouraging the girls to think deeply, ask questions, seek out and consider all relevant information, practice integrating new knowledge into their existing hierarchy of concepts, critically and ruthlessly discarding previous conclusions contradicted by new evidence; instead of helping them strengthen their most crucial means of survival—their reasoning minds—by thorough, rational examination of a topic, Wong introduces a tripartite Venn diagram consisting of the words, “American,” “Female,” and “Asian,” and proceeds to demonstrate that everything fits nicely into this model. It is not for the girls to question why those groups were chosen among the infinite other possibilities, or why there are only three, or why “Asian” is one homogenous block, or why one’s genetics define oneself as opposed to, say, one’s love of swimming, or why people need to be classified into groups in the first place, or how the girls are supposed to delineate the boundaries around their unique selves under a model that includes no concept of “self.”
The intersectional model represented by the Venn diagram is not the only tool Wong uses for discouraging independent thought and erasing the self—such a monumental sabotage cannot be accomplished so easily—but it is the backdrop; the lens through which the rest of her indoctrination can be viewed. And its method of introduction is repeated throughout the rest of the “curriculum.” Every new topic is introduced with the same arbitrary proclamation: here’s a socially acceptable conclusion, and your job is to absorb it without context, question, or analysis. There’s no need to think, young ladies. There’s no need to end up with nine different opinions from nine different individuals, each struggling to use her own blossoming judgment. Your questions and thoughts about these and other issues might be the single most unique thing about you—your mind might be the core of what really and truly defines who you are and differentiates you from the pack—but that’s irrelevant. Thinking is unnecessary, and it’s hard, and the results are unpredictable, so let’s just memorize the three colors, shall we? Those three colors are you. Those three colors are us. Welcome to the Group.
2. Introduce the Great Threat
The goal of indoctrinating anyone is to be able to reliably call upon their devotion later; to be able to make them act how you want; to use them for purposes that free-thinking individuals would rationally refuse. In religious cults, that devotion is to a leader. In the cult of social justice, it is to the Group, governed by the tenets of the ideology. But devotion can be fickle, and people can easily become sidetracked by internal group dynamics, personal aspirations, loyalties, rivalries, and a whole litany of other pesky distractions. Fortunately, there is an age-old solution to this problem: the Great Threat. Sometimes the Great Threat is real; it is the invading army pressing the gates. Often the Great Threat is a lie; it is the rise of witchcraft in Salem. Real or imagined, the Great Threat always serves to unite the group as its members rally around the common cause of defending against or eliminating it.
At Wong’s Radical Cram School, the Great Threat is white men. They are Others; not members of the Group. She begins the very first episode with a smear campaign. “This is my way of figuring out if you’ve been tainted by the patriarchy,” she smirks. Many of the girls have confused looks.
“Patriarchy?” one girl asks. Wong holds up a picture of Harvey Weinstein, waiting for a reaction.
“He just looks creepy,” one girl correctly observes. Yeah, kid, he does. No argument there.
“He looks creepy,” Wong nods. “Why?” Here it comes.
“There’s just, like, this thing about white people that makes me be like—” the girl makes a face to indicate repugnance. Okay, so she’s a child whose parents are probably racists, but this is Wong’s chance to set the record straight. Not all white people are Harvey Weinstein, and it’s not his whiteness that makes him creepy. Right? We agree on that at least, right? Right?
Um, no. Wong lets the comment go with tacit approval. “Does he look like a good guy or a bad guy?”
“Bad guy!” the girls shout in unison. Wong then proceeds to show a picture of another white creep, Woody Allen, who the girls mistake for Dumbledore. Finally, she reveals a picture of Donald Trump, making a face of mock rage as she holds it up for the girls to (predictably) berate. Trump is bad, and both he and the wall are obvious insults to people from Cambodia who came to America legally. Let’s move on; actual discussion on the topic of Donald Trump is never warranted. We’ve learned our lesson, anyway: Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, and Donald Trump are accurate representative samples of white men, who are apparently creepy by virtue of being white. The Others are creepy.
Later, Wong treats the children to an entire puppet show centered around “Donny the bully,” a bigoted Trumpian puppet that mocks Asian names, perpetuates the stereotype that Asians are naturally good at math, and farts. Because learning. During the ensuing discussion with the girls, Wong asks if any of them have experienced behavior like Donny’s first-hand. No one has, but one girl notices that “sometimes people say really weird stuff, like, ‘how do you pronounce it? Ch-ch-ch.’” She looks annoyed. “And it’s just exactly how it looks,” she explains. In an alternate universe, Wong might have pointed out that often people who are unfamiliar with foreign names struggle to understand how to pronounce them. They worry about offending, and so ask out of respect and courtesy just to be sure. It’s not a sign of bigotry or xenophobia.
Except to Wong, it is. “Why do you think bullies do that to people?” she asks. Yes. There are 7,097 languages in the world, not to mention a slew of non-intuitive transliterations, and anyone who struggles with pronunciation is a bully. The Others are bigots and bullies.
As it turns out, up until this point all the “othering” of white men was just an appetizer. For the main course, Wong serves-up some numbers with percentage signs after them and uses the word “statistics,” because to unthinking automatons “statistics” sound erudite and unassailable. She presents the class with boxes of different colors and has them rush to open them. Inside, each one has a partial cookie and a message. “Hispanic women earn 55% of what white men earn,” reads the message inside the brown box. It is accompanied by approximately 55% of a sorry-looking cookie, shoved into a plastic bag. Disappointing, for sure. There is absolutely no discussion of where these numbers come from, what they represent, or the possible reasons behind them. Do they compare people working the same jobs, with the same experience, for the same number of hours and days, at similar companies? We know they don’t, because the purported “wage gap” vanishes when those factors are included. But the girls don’t know that. According to Wong, the only reason that none of the girls gets a full cookie is simple: the Others are to blame.
“Why doesn’t anyone have a full cookie?” Wong asks.
A disappointed girl replies, “because white men always earn more than women.”
To drive the message home, Donny the puppet shows up with a full cookie and lords it over them. “Are you looking for this?” he taunts.
“Oh, looks like Donny got a full cookie” Wong observes.
“Because he’s a white man,” offers one girl. There’s nothing fair about those damned Others. They’re obnoxious and someone should get rid of them, don’t you think?
At this point, the important question for Wong to ask is: is there anything else that can be feasibly blamed on “the patriarchy?” Preferably this would be some misogynistic offense that is not only a complete fabrication, but also for which an Asian woman is actually responsible. It’s a lot to ask, but once again Wong delivers.
Enter Hello Kitty.
“Why doesn’t she have a mouth?” Wong asks, holding up a picture of the cartoon icon.
One girl proudly provides the accepted answer, “the people who created her didn’t want Asian girls to speak up about who they are.”
“Very profound,” nods Wong in approval. Of course, her answer isn’t profound; it’s profoundly misinformed. But Wong won’t correct her, because Wong needs the girls to draw the “right” conclusion, regardless of facts. That’s how indoctrination works. It would be pretty awkward for Wong to have to explain that Hello Kitty wasn’t created by “the patriarchy” to silence Asian women, but by…drum roll…an Asian woman! Designer Yuko Yamaguchi even spoke about why she chose to draw the character without a mouth. She did this intentionally “so that people who look at her can project their own feelings onto her face. Because she has an expressionless face, Hello Kitty looks happy when people are happy and sad when they are sad. For this reason, we thought she shouldn’t be tied to any emotion—and that’s why she doesn’t have a mouth.” It’s a brilliant reason, and infinitely more interesting than the patriarchal conspiracy.
This style of dishonest, manipulative association is repeated throughout the series, reinforced with puppets, cookies, and songs. The message is clear: white men are the Great Threat to the Group; they are the deplorable Others.
3. Teach The Group How to Fight Others
All cults have tools for dealing with Others, but the tools of the social justice warrior are particularly barbaric. This is a consequence of the belief that meaningful communication with Others is impossible by definition. Wong doesn’t start recruiting for Antifa just yet, but she does plant the seeds for this intellectual isolationism during a conversation with one of the girls.
“Does anyone have any other stories about how people don’t understand the circles that you’re in?” she asks. After one girl relates a story about how she wants to be a “boy-girl,” Wong points to the Venn diagram used earlier. “So sometimes we talk about the people at school who don’t understand us sometimes, and that’s because they’re not in the same circles that we’re in. They don’t know our experiences.”
On the surface, this may seem plausible—certainly people with shared experiences have shared context, which can make communication easier—but the suggestion that we can’t have meaningful dialogue with anyone outside our own “circles” is cancerous. It gives us permission to dismiss valid criticism out of hand because it’s coming from the “wrong” circle; it conditions us to abandon efforts to understand people from other circles, and undermines our motivation to explain our own perspective. For disparate groups to get along peacefully in society, they must speak to one another. They must explain, listen, and strive to understand each other in order to negotiate peacefully. When words become impotent, fists and guns will speak.
Wong’s Radical Cram School is a perverted attempt to mutilate the capacity for independent thought in young girls who are just beginning to learn how to exercise it. Its message to them is obvious: You are your Group. The Others are your Group’s enemy. No substantive discussion with the Others is possible. When you fully assimilate this, you will conclude that there is only one tool left available to you for resolving conflict with the Others: brute force. Welcome to Marxism. Now the berets make sense.