Innocent is a neutral word. It shows a lack of class awareness.”  

The above quote says a lot about the current cultural divide in North Carolina and across the country regarding the teaching of gender ideology and sexuality to young school children. North Carolina is one of many states introducing Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation to ban such topics from the curriculum in early grades.  

Supporters of the bill argue that it’s wholly inappropriate for such topics to be introduced to children at such a young age, in part spoiling childhood innocence. But to opponents of such bills, childhood innocence itself is problematic. 

In her book “Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution,” author Ji Li Jiang recounts her childhood in China at the dawn of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In one passage, she describes the time she and her friend An Yi joined a mob of communist revolutionaries in destroying the signs of businesses in their community that failed to sufficiently display pro-revolutionary language.  

“’Here’s another one. The Innocent Child Toy Shop,’ An Yi exclaimed. ‘Innocent is a neutral word. It shows a lack of class awareness. What should we change it to? How about the Red Child Toy Shop?’” 

At even a young age, Jiang and her friends understood that to be innocent would show a lack of revolutionary spirit. One must be well aware of the concept of class status and choose sides.  

There’s no room for childhood innocence when there’s a revolution to wage.  

Jiang and millions of other Chinese children joined millions of adults in Chairman Mao’s campaign to destroy the “Four Olds” and usher in a new society.  

“Our beloved Chairman Mao had started the Cultural Revolution in May. Every day since then on the radio we heard about the need to end the evil and pernicious influences of the ‘Four Olds’: old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits,” Jiang wrote. “These remnants of old society interfered with the creation of a modern, socialist society.” 

While history may not be repeating precisely, we’re certainly hearing a lot of it rhyming.  

Children at a very young age must be introduced to the new, modern culture, ideas, and habits, argue today’s “woke” teachers and their allies. Old ideas and habits, like the traditional nuclear family, biological sex, and men not being able to get pregnant, must be smashed and replaced.   

And because the family unit is the strongest vehicle for passing down old ideas, culture, customs, and habits, the bond between parent and child must be severed in order to disrupt the transmission of these “Four Olds.”  

Indeed, perhaps the loudest objection to the Parents’ Bill of Rights is that the bill would “force” teachers to “out” students to their parents if they are experiencing gender or sexuality confusion. One legislator expressed concern that the requirements of the bill would force young people to be “outed to an abusive parent.” 

Notice the positioning of parents as the enemy of their own children, and woke government school employees being the trusted ally. When Jiang discovered her family was considered to be a part of the “wrong” class, she was so ashamed she went to a government office to change her name. The government official was pleased to hear this news, and in response said to her, “tell your parents you’ll follow Chairman Mao, not them.” 

Creating mistrust between children and their own parents is critical to destroying the Four Olds.  

Relatedly, under Mao’s Cultural Revolution, families’ class status was placed into one of two groups: red and black. “Red” families were considered to be revolutionary, while “black” families were enemies of the revolution, and included landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries, criminals, and rightists. Members of these categories were considered “the worst enemies of Communism and the common people,” wrote Jiang.  

The similarities to today should be readily clear, but instead of more economically based categories, identity is used to distinguish the “red” from “black.” Those members of the unfavored identities are compelled to feel guilt and shame, and are identified as perpetrators of the Four Olds. Either confess to your “privilege” and enemy status and join the revolution or face scorn and social ostracization. “Leniency for confession, severity for resistance” was the motto for Mao’s roving Red Guard seeking out class enemies to punish, wrote Jiang.  

Childhood innocence is too neutral, and being neutral is not sufficiently revolutionary. Neutrality also defaults to the status quo of the Four Olds, which is unacceptable for today’s “woke” movement. A Parents’ Bill of Rights is a critical measure to fight against the forces that want to sever the ties and trust between parent and child and subvert the ideas, culture, habits, and customs you would like to instill in the next generation.