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Last Friday Black members of the Mississippi Senate walked out and withheld votes as their state passed a bill to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Mississippi schools are not teaching CRT. As a matter of fact, CRT is largely not taught in any K-12 school system. Yet red states across the country have attempted to erase any discussion – academic or not – pertaining to race.
Officially coined in the late 1980s, Critical Race Theory explores American society on a systemic level. By examining how Caucasian-created systems affected the quality of life of non-whites, CRT educates above all else.
Banning Books is Autocratic
Foretelling book-turned-movie Farenheit 451 explored a society where books are banned. In conservative states, art is beginning to imitate life. Mississippi is only the latest to effectively cease any classroom discussion of our nation’s history toward Black people.
“This bill is not morally right,” said Democratic Sen. Barbara Blackmon of Canton during the debate over the legislation. Mississippi’s Senate Bill, like most opponents of CRT, does not define or mention it explicitly. Instead, the bill would forbid teaching “that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.”
While conservative legislators aim to block anything that may provoke introspection, the truth itself remains.
Critical Race Theory is America’s dirty mirror.
The truth is slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Era did in fact occur. We kept the receipts. And each propelled some and prevented others from the “American Dream.” Nevertheless, the mere mention of it polarizes many who would rather play make-believe with a reality citizens face every day.
Republicans have leaned into “culture wars” so heavily that President Biden now openly asks what they actually stand for. Hopeful conservative candidates now campaign on mask mandates and CRT with the same vigor as they once did tax reform and limited government. Newly elected Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin went as far as to ban CRT – which again does not exist – on his first day in office.
As the cracks in our democracy widen, much like voting rights, the fight for visibility continues.
The teaching of history has nothing to do with teaching that one race is superior to another. Even the strictest CRT analysis does not come close to saying, as the Trumplicans claim, that “white people are inherently racist.” . CRT is an examination of societal organization that has built into its governing structure in every profession a racial component. Such as black football players receiving less brain damage compensation because the very standards of brain function are set lower for black people. Medical texts today contain racialized definitions of lung capacity and other race based starting points for evaluation due to racism soaked early medical studies that have never been changed. Or real estate appraisal textbooks today still using terms linked to white flight or “black working class” neighborhoods to value property. CRT and history never deals with the inherent inborn characteristics of a race. That is all made up to agitate for votes and assuage the guilt of white parents whose own grandparents were in the streets cursing and spitting on small black children just for going to school. They don’t want to be remined so they claim their own children may be upset or disturbed if the truth came out. Resilience is not something you are born with, it must be developed by facing challenges big and small. Trying to protect their children from the truths of history will not help them grow. Figuratively burning books will not help them learn. These racist laws being foisting on children based on nothing but lies about what we teach, will only harm their own children. Is that worth it just not to be reminded of who your family was and how they acted toward little children?
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