By: Roy Douglas Malonson
History is under attack. Most importantly, the attitudes, truths, and progress regarding eradicating racial inequality are under attack, and it all starts with our children. The United States is hell-bent on erasing the truths of the past and removing white people from any type of accountability and wrongdoing through banning Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory by definition is so broad, that many educators where CRT is banned are struggling with what to teach and how to teach it. For those opposed to CRT, they believe that CRT villainizes all white people while portraying Black people as helpless victims. They believe systemic racism in the United States is a conspiracy theory and that it should not be taught that the United States is inherently racist. This is the direct opposite of what CRT is, aside from the belief that racism is embedded in the systems that run the United States.
CRT does not villainize or attribute racism to white people, instead, CRT is the study of how U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race.
Scholars and activists who support CRT are not saying white people today are responsible for the crimes against humanity that white people of the past have committed, but that they have a moral responsibility to use their privilege given to them by the oppression of others to dismantle racism in our country.
Anti-CRT legislation is sweeping the country, here’s an assessment of how far it has gone.
- Eight states (Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, and South Carolina) have passed legislation.
- None of the state bills that have passed even actually mention the words “critical race theory” explicitly, with the exception of Idaho.
- The legislations mostly ban the discussion, training, and/or orientation that the U.S. is inherently racist as well as any discussions about conscious and unconscious bias, privilege, discrimination, and oppression. These parameters also extend beyond race to include gender lectures and discussions.
- State actors in Montana and South Dakota have denounced teaching concepts associated with CRT. The state school boards in Florida, Georgia, Utah, and Oklahoma introduced new guidelines barring CRT-related discussions. Local school boards in Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia also criticized CRT.
- Nearly 20 additional states have introduced or plan to introduce similar legislation.
What’s most ironic is that supporters of the CRT bans (who are mostly white right-wingers) say they believe in facts over feelings, when the entire ban is about omitting facts to coddle to white feelings.
The truth is, teaching the truth about race in America has never been 100% truthful. Even before the CRT bans, many crimes, and atrocities committed against BIPOC, but especially Black people, were altered or not mentioned at all.
There has never been a point in time where teaching the truth about racism in this country has led to the oppression of white people, it hasn’t even led to taking away their privilege or any true progress in equity for all. Whites have never faced any sort of accountability or any moral responsibility to do what’s right for all.
So what is this ban really about? It’s about the hurt feelings of white, rightist, sheep-like snowflakes who are so cowardly that they would rather alter history and change the definition of the TRUTH to whatever fits their racist agenda than live up to the facts of racism like everyone else in this country. It’s also about white leftists or liberals who claim to be progressive in matters of racism but remain silent during crises such as this one because secretly they agree with and feel the same way as the right.
The United States is actively and successfully trying to reverse time to a period where the marginalized have no voice. While we as Black people should fight against these CRT bans which not only affects what our children learn about our history, but what white children learn about what is right and wrong and how they should use their privilege, we cannot depend on or trust these racist education systems and institutions to do the right thing and tell the truth. No, we have to be accountable for our own education and our own children’s future. While the truth is being banned from schools, it should be taught in the home. Our ancestors, scholars, activists have left behind so many memoirs, textbooks, literature, etc. It’s time to study them. It’s time to use them. It’s time to be proactive about our education, our history, and the future of our community. If we don’t no one else will.