Critical race theory all about political strategy, not education.
“I do not care about critical race theory, or the moral panic politicians have created from it. I do care about appropriately educating the next generation on our history, which includes our history with race. Our current dysfunctional discourse is all the evidence we need to support doing better by our kids.
Our politicians are playing us, and our susceptibility to their manipulation highlights our preexisting bias and fears. Politicians want to be elected, and they need us to be fearful and divided. All you hear is no CRT and most of us, including me until recently, do not even know what CRT is. “Critical Race Theory is an academic legal theory developed in the 1970s” and “because it is a theoretical, analytical framework useful primarily to academic researchers.”
I could not find a single public school system proposing to install CRT into their K-12 curriculum. So why are we all so fired up? How has CRT become the proxy for everything that we fear about open discussions of race?
The simple answer is CRT has been armed as a political strategy and not an educational one. And it is working. Since January 2021, at least 36 states have adopted or introduced laws or polices that restrict teaching about race or racism. In most cases the language is vague, targeting anything deemed to be “inherently divisive.“
One legislator in Wisconsin went as far as adding an addendum to ban teachers from using certain terms such as cultural awareness, equity and social justice. Plus, any parent can bring legal action against a teacher and school administrator leaving them exposed to the financially onerous need to defend themselves in court.
Some question why we need to teach anything about race in our schools. I have come to understand the question. I even understand the jump to protect our children from the threat of, what some call, indoctrination. I blame politicians for getting us fired up for their own benefit, but their efforts also reveal the smoldering embers of our unacknowledged bias. The fear is just not real.
Quality education on race is not divisive, nor is it indoctrination. To not teach about our history with race and the implication on today is to fail to teach the complete history of our nation.
I do not want our children to study our history to make them feel ashamed. I want them to learn our history to make them knowledgeable and aware and prepared to continue to move our nation forward. No one wants children shamed or blamed. Yet, I do want them educated and informed in age-appropriate ways. I want them to know our history (even the parts for which we are not proud) and in the context of our current reality. Don’t we want them enabled to dialogue with others in informed and productive ways?
We have made progress in many areas around race. This latest moral panic that we are calling CRT is setting us back. Our history with other moral panics suggests this politically led mission to block our kids from understanding all of our history will continue. Ironically it will continue because we have not learned from our history. If we had, we would realize that a lack of knowledge and awareness has never served us well.
There is a responsible way to educate the next generation about race. Our kids deserve it, and the promise of our nation is calling us to it.”
Photo credit © [Chris Mayhew] /Cincinnati Enquirer
This article was published by the Cincinnati Enquirer on May 3, 2022. You can find the original link to the article on Dearwhitefriend.com.
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