Can I Still Travel to the Southern Part of My Beloved California?

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. Please subscribe to never miss an article.

In previous blogs, because of their extreme views with regard to the teaching of the true history of Racism in the U.S., undue animosity towards LQBTQ’s, and sanctioning explicit Threats against parents who are even considering the possibility of Trans-gendering for their children, I’ve railed against going to Red States and doing any business with them. If I’m to be consistent, which is not always a virtue, then I’d have to feel the same about traveling to Southern California.

Politically, the views between the Northern and Southern parts of California have always been strained. Having grown up in San Francisco, but nonetheless having taught at USC in LA for years, I’m generally familiar with both portions of the State. Still, the Monday, August 22nd edition of The San Francisco Chronicle shocked me no less. It featured an article on the front page detailing the fights in Southern California School Districts over “Parental Rights” when it comes to the teaching of “Sensitive Topics” such as the History of Racism and the Rights of LGBTQ’s[i].

It mimics perfectly what’s happening in Red States across the country. Having been “boxed out” of State Government, Conservatives have taken to running for local School Boards where they can exert control over what’s being taught. In the words of one Conservative pastor, the Public Schools are the “devil’s playground.” As such, they have to be carefully monitored by parents. After all, Social-Emotional Learning is just a pretext for teaching Socialist Ideas.

As I’ve written previously, Conservatives have little interest in the day-to-day issues involved with the running of Schools, or Government. Their concern is solely with preventing the teaching of Critical Race Theory, which is not even taught in K-12, but is a perfect Hot-Button Issue and Rallying Cry.

School Board Meetings have often become so bitterly heated such that they’ve had to be closed down.

So once again, if I’m true to my beliefs, then I wouldn’t travel to Southern California as well. But given the fact that good friends and close colleagues live there and we Zoom constantly, that’s completely out of the question.

The point is that the extreme Divisiveness and Polarization that are literally tearing us apart is not only found between Blue and Red States, but within them as well.

[i] Ryan Kost, “’Parental rights’ drive fuels school tensions,” The San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, August 22, 2022, PP. A1 and A4.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo credit: Eric Demarcq/



Professor Emeritus USC

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store