Lion of the Blogosphere

Is the Palmer Method racist?


The photo from the book shows a classroom of only white girls learning to write. Perhaps the Palmer Method was dropped because of its racist origins and its lack of applicability to more diverse classrooms?

Is it a coincidence that the Palmer Method was replaced by the Zaner-Bloser Method in the 1950s, the same decade that Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was decided? I think not.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Books

25 Responses

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  1. Is the Palmer method racist? Yes.

    Anything that returns unequal results between whites and NAMs is, by Prog definition, racist. And since any test or endeavor of any kind (other than purely athletic) ultimately rests on IQ, any test or endeavor will produce unequal results, and therefore, by definition, everything is racist.


    December 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    • The new standard is that anything that doesn’t give blacks the upper hand is racist. Think of the NBA as the point of measure for black representation in White institutions.


      December 30, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    • You are insufficiently cynical. Is it useful that the Palmer method be racist? If so, reasons will be found.

      (Generalize suitably.)


      December 30, 2014 at 6:26 PM

  2. Another IA house republican is in trouble in the news. Steve Scalise is a pretty pale IA though, blue eyes and light brown hair. I think his face looks more like a rural highland French farmer type. I can see him leading some fat heritage breed cows to pasture with the French Alps soaring in the background.

    Like Paul Krugman, biking in rural France is one of my favorite vacations.


    December 30, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    • That sounds very SWPL. Proles would just get in their car (or RV if they are rich proles) and drive to an amusement park.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    • Lot, if you want to have a good time, try the Trier to Koblenz bike trip. There are lots of bike rental options, and there are services that will transport your luggage every day if you want to travel “heavy.” If you have more time, start your trip in Saarlouis. You will bike through an agricultural delta, but I found that interesting, too.


      December 30, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    • Relatively speaking, the American Bourgeoisie is prolish all around, in the eyes of old world Whites who view them with contempt and condescension. Krugman uses his trips to Europe as a focal point of SWPL superiority. Could you imagine an European shopping at Wholefoods and then boasting this activity as his supremacy among his cohorts?


      December 30, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      • Younger european SWPLs appear to enjoy holding forth about their trips to, or stays in, Brooklyn.


        December 30, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      • according to this ‘mer’cans spend only 6.6% of their income on food. it can’t be that food is that much cheaper or ‘mer’cans are that much richer. and what % do ‘mer’cans spend on healthcare? connection?

        World Moustache Champion

        December 30, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      • World Moustache Champion,

        You have no idea how expensive food is in Europe. I saw whole chickens advertised in Greece for 2.42 Euros per kilo. That’s the cheapest chicken. There are 2.2 kilos in a pound and, with the exchange rate, whole chickens were around $7 per pound.

        In the US, whole chickens are around $1.62 a pound. $3.00 a pound at Whole Foods.


        December 31, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      • a better comparison would be % spent by median income households? as incomes are more spread out in the US?

        if the average American ate as healthfully as the average S European, he’d spend much much more than 6.6% of his income on food.

        maybe eating out wasn’t included. Americans eat out a lot. but the Japanese even more.

        World Moustache Champion

        December 31, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      • In Europe, fast food is significantly more expensive, and food overall is more expensive, which is a good thing that curbs the gluttonous and voracious eaters from bloating themselves.


        January 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      • Younger european SWPLs appear to enjoy holding forth about their trips to, or stays in, Brooklyn.

        SWPL Brooklyn, with its cobblestones and non-prole row houses, is what captivates them. I can’t imagine anything here in the states that is on par with the grand cities of Europe. It’s like a New Yorker enjoying his trips in a lesser city with similar amenities.


        January 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

  3. I’ve looked at samples of both type styles and can’t find much difference between them.

    I found my son’s handwriting book from Catholic school, and was reminded that penmenship lessons have traditionally been used to reinforce other teaching. Thus the handwriting samples the children were to copy reinforced Christian and Catholic teaching.


    December 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM

  4. Maybe this was some kind of secretarial school. Even in ye olden days if there was gender separation it was usually side to side in the same classroom, unless it was a religious school.

    slithy toves

    December 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

  5. Women in old pictures always look so drab and mousy. Maybe it’s true women are getting more beautiful with each generation.

    slithy toves

    December 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    • Women are the reason humans still have bad personalities, and men are the reason humans are still ugly.

      There is no strong selection pressure in these qualities/gender match ups.


      December 30, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      • that’s true according to a study from canuckistan which i can’t find. the only people, men or women, grouped into beauty quartiles who had significantly fewer children were the f-ugly men iirc.

        World Moustache Champion

        December 30, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    • Women are getting more fat on average though. That’s what counts – not what the top 20% of women look and how it has changed over time.

      The average broad from the 50’s was atleast thin. Not so with today’s lizards.


      December 30, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      • thin? not by today’s standards.

        it’s a paradox. the average woman has become fatter, yet the standard of beauty has become thinner, fitter, and much less curvaceous. could be because more women and gay men are selecting models and actresses.

        but a more likely explanation is that exercise wasn’t popular. look at that famous scene where Gable takes his shirt off. no hair and he looks like a girly man. when Greek god bodies became more common in men and women they naturally became the new standard.

        World Moustache Champion

        December 30, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    • Pre-implants. Though 538 says that 1 in 26 women have implants (which seems low to me).


      December 30, 2014 at 6:02 PM

  6. Not sure if serious, but a segregated classroom has nothing to do with the writing method used.

    Also, are you on vacation this week? You seem to be posting a lot lately.


    December 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM

  7. I’ve seen photos from the same period, of classrooms with boys and/or blacks learning Palmer — so it wasn’t being learned/used by white females only. However … during the late 19th and early-to-mid-20th centuries in the southern USA, it was fairly common for local school boards to adopt differing cursive methods for white schools versus black schools in the district. (E.g., during Palmer Method’s peak in the early 20th century, there were school districts where the white kids learned Palmer and the black kids learned some competing publisher’s cursive that had some differently formed capitals, sometimes also differently formed lower-case letters and/or different prescribed size/slant/proportions/spacing … or, even more often in the south, the white schools were the only ones that HAD handwriting textbooks: while the white kids were being extensively drilled in Palmer for an hour a day or so, what the _black_ kids. were being drilled into was instead conformity with the particular quirks of the individual handwriting of their classroom teacher. The result (in districts where this was common) was that — for decades on end of so-called “separate but equal” education — it was possible to know at sight whether a letter, an employment application, a voter-registration form, etc., had been written by a white or a black. Obviously (and repellently), this must have been convenient for certain people.


    December 30, 2014 at 6:52 PM

  8. Re: “Is it a coincidence that the Palmer Method was replaced by the Zaner-Bloser Method in the 1950s, the same decade that Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was decided? I think not.” —
    Fact: The dates at which a given Palmer-using school or district changed to Zaner-Bloser range all the way from the 1930s (various Midwestern public school systems) to1996 (the few remaining Palmer Method schools — by then, mostly private and VERY small — as this was the year that the Palmer Company finally folded after a long and steady decline in its market share) … but most of the Palmer-to-Z-B defections (by teachers, schools, districts, and state boards of education) were between 1940 and 1958 and occurred because Z-B had decided (on teacher request) to precede cursive with printing (Palmer stuck to cursive-only till sometime in the 1980s, in the fewer and fewer schools where it remained the official method). Both companies — Palmer and Z-B — had gotten their start at the very end of the nineteenth century: and both forms of cursive are indeed very similar (the founders of both companies had been brought up on Spencerian script and were each trying to simplify it somewhat). The Palmer company had made its fortune (the founder, Austin Norman Palmer, died a millionaire some years before the Depression) _not_ via separatism at all — on the contrary, he wanted _all_ Americans to use one handwriting method (his, of course) because he thought that this was essential for removing differences among Americans. (Bluntly put: he wanted all Americans to write alike because he thought this would make all Americans feel alike, think alike, and even _move_ alike.) Palmer therefore poured millions into immense marketing and school-visiting campaigns that presented Palmer Method as an essential of up-to-date intelligence and alertness, of economic/industrial competence through group conformity, and (above all) of hundred-percent-Americanism. (For much more on this — and on the perennial politicization/etc. of handwriting instruction — I refer you to HANDWRITING IN AMERICA: A CULTURAL HISTORY by Tamara Plakins Thornton.)


    December 30, 2014 at 7:44 PM

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