You’ve probably been living under a slimy rock if you haven’t heard of the newest American culture war: The argument over whether or not to teach Critical Race Theory. If you aren’t familiar with the topic, as many people who are protesting it don’t seem to be, take a look at this definition from a recent Education Weekly article:
“Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that racism is a social construct, and that it is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others. A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.”
The 1619 Project offers a lot of great viewpoints on our history and if you take the time to really invest in becoming a more educated and thoughtful person, you may become pretty angry at the gaps in your own education. Let’s look at an example of how white washed our history was/is by exploring a Washington Post Magazine article about a Confederate re-enactor which includes some very interesting passages from the main subject of the article’s Junior High School textbook:
“We’re not claiming bad things never happened,” he finally said, after pocketing his rescue inhaler, “but it wasn’t all whippings and killings, either.” This echoed a lesson from the eighth grade, page 401, about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The 1852 abolitionist novel “described scenes of horrible cruelty which were supposed to have grown out of slavery,” the textbook says. “Southern people knew that the [novel] gave a false picture. A Richmond magazine said that it was wicked for Mrs. Stowe to use her imagination in such a bad way.”
With most able-bodied white men off fighting, the authors wrote, “the Negroes could easily have run away.” Yet they “remained loyal to their white mistresses even after President Lincoln promised in his Emancipation Proclamation that the slaves would be freed.” The historic decree — which isn’t discussed anywhere else in the book — was issued after 21 months of war. Frank said he will argue to his “dying breath” that it was conceived as an appeal to anti-slavery sentiment in the European public, to discourage England and France from recognizing the Confederacy.
This year was the 100 year anniversary of Tulsa race massacre. Not until we were much older did your Lady Yokels learn of this massacre, and not until this very year did we learn that Black houses and businesses were destroyed by airplanes using incendiary devices! How is it acceptable that this information was withheld (because people made deliberate decisions to keep this incident and other important events out of our classrooms) and how can we allow it to continue? We’ve allowed generations of Americans to grow up with half truths and a perception of a rose-colored past…and it shows! The All Lives Matter folks aren’t all acting out of menace and racism, they literally do not know the history of their country because the systemic racism in this country hid it from them. To everyone’s detriment!
These anti-critical race theorists would like you to believe that teaching the truth about American history is going to make white children feel bad about themselves and to that we say:
First of all, if young people of color have to experience racism, and unfortunately they still do, then white children can learn about the origins of it. There’s a great book by a former West Point historian, Ty Seidule, called “Robert E Lee and Me.” Not only does the author explore his own past of growing up in Virginia and learning to worship Robert E. Lee, he also comes to the conclusion that the Lost Cause narrative led not only to the continued oppression of black people, but also left the white people ignorant of their own country’s history. One of the best arguments the author makes for whites learning the truth about our history is the cotton candy analogy.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable. But it’s worse to avert your eyes and not deal with it. We can deal with it. We Americans aren’t made out of cotton candy. We defeated the Germans and liberated the concentration camps. We put an end to chattel slavery. You know, we can deal with the harsh truth of the past and get better. But if we don’t deal with it, we’re going to continue to be abused by the past, rather than be able to use the past to make a more just and equal society.
We can take the truth, we should demand the truth, and we need to make sure our children learn the truth. The reason we need to be aware of this today is because the ones who believe we are made of cotton candy will try to take over the school board next year. Just look at what is happening across the river in Virginia. We all need to keep in mind the points made in this Slate article about not allowing this topic to become the next culture war in these here parts. The noodley appendage is already freaking out and getting people riled up over this topic. And why is it that these people always insist in showing us just how important it is to have these topics taught in school?
Let’s all continue to educate ourselves and insist on a proper education for our children, so maybe just maybe we can honestly reckon with our past and allow ourselves to make some real progress in this country. Then, and only then, will this be a country in which everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We can’t let these people take us backwards.
We will leave you will this video of our current Chief of Staff answering a very ignorant question from sleaze ball Congressman (come on Florida!) Matt Gaetz: