The Villainy of Teachers



We were having a conversation in the teachers’ room and discussing the Chicago teachers’ strike and remarking on how the politicians and the media tried to bully the Chicago teachers with all this talk about how they were harming the interest of their students by having the nerve to walk out on strike and leave the kids without school.  One of the teachers in the room remarked,  “I’m really tired of us teachers being made the villains, of being blamed, being vilified.  I’m really, really tired of being villainized.”

I sympathize.  I recognize the truth there, but I’m not sure I feel so bad about it.  Maybe it’s because, like misery, villainy loves company.  I mean think about it.  We’re actually in fairly good company.   Immigrants are being villainized.  That’s a fairly sizeable group of people.  And a lot of us would have a hard time finding anything to eat without them.

Black people, for centuries, have been villainized.  Young people, especially African American and Latino, are really being villainized, disrespected, arrested and imprisoned in huge numbers.  Native Americans have been villainized for centuries, too.   During World War II Japanese Americans were villainized and incarcerated.

Then there are the public workers and unions — even people who take retirement pay.   In the 1950s, teachers and writers, film makers and union activists, anyone with progressive views or sympathetic to socialist countries were villains.  Back in the 1960s those who protested the Vietnam war or who became activists were villainized.  Feminists have been villainized for years.  So have gays and lesbians.


Looking outside this country, the Filipinos were villainized at the end of the 19th century when they refused to accept U.S. “liberation”.   I can remember when the Koreans were villainized, and then the Vietnamese.   The Chinese were villainized when they were socialist, and now, again, as they are capitalist and threaten U.S. hegemony in Asia, it seems like, once again, they will become the villains.   The Soviets were villainized and the Russians could again earn that status.  During the 1960s and 1970s people around the world who stood up against colonialism and fought in liberation struggles were villainized; guerrillas were villainized; Cuba — villainized for decades.     I can remember in the 1980s when countries in Central America were villainized.  Then came Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan — Muslims, Arabs and South Asians — all villainized.  And what about Palestinians? They’ve got a permanent place on the villain’s list.    Romney’s trying to villainize 47% of the population that are, in his world, slackers.  And I wonder if teachers are on that list, too?   Would that make us villains x 2?

At one time or another the label of villain has been pinned on a major part of humanity.    About the only people who are not villainized are the bankers, the CEOs, the weapons makers, the drone makers, the spies, the Pentagon brass, the big politicians and, of course, the media, which they own.  They are never villains because they define who has those qualities of villainy.

Given the attitude I find among a lot of teachers, the villainy is bound to grow.  There’s no telling how villainous we might become.

And given the determination of the elite to knock teachers out of the way so corporate vultures can feed on the carcass of public education, it’s unlikely that we teachers are going to see any change in status for some time to come.  So we might as well get used to it.


Bruce Neuburger is a public school teacher in California for 26 years.  

Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st  Century
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?
Ben Debney
Guns, Trump and Mental Illness
Pepe Escobar
The NATO-Russia Face Off in Syria
Yoav Litvin
Israeli Occupation for Dummies
Lawrence Davidson
Deep Poverty in America: the On-Going Tradition of Not Caring
Thomas Knapp
War Party’s New Line: Vladimir Putin is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Brandon Jordan
Sowing the Seeds of War in Uruguay
Binoy Kampmark
Imperilled by Unfree Trade: the TPP on Environment and Labor
John McMurtry
The Canadian Elections: Cover-Up and Steal (Again)
Anthony Papa
Coming Home: an Open Letter to 6,000 Soon-to-be-Released Drug War Prisoners From an Ex-Con
Ramzy Baroud
Listen to Syrians: The Media Jackals and the People’s Narrative
Norman Pollack
Heart of Darkness: A Two-Way Street
Gilbert Mercier
Will Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite Militias Defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
John Stanton
Vietnam 2.0 and California Dreamin’ in Ukraine
William John Cox
The Pornography of Hatred