Can anyone tell me what exactly "Critical Race Theory" actually is? Can anyone tell me exactly how teachers of American history have been "indoctrinating students" with "racist" stories that undermine "Patriotism?" I ask because after spending some time in the classroom as a history educator, I am truly at a loss what the fuss is all about in GOP-led States about prohibiting teaching a "race theory." Did slavery exist in America? Yes. Were many of our Founding Fathers and Framers Slave owners? Yes. Was slavery a servitude that subjected African Americans to dehumanized status equal to animals, considered nothing more than "property" a positive and patriotic effort? (See Dred Scot v. Sanford, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/60/393). Why would informing our children and future leaders the ugly truth behind slavery and the efforts to perpetuate racial discrimination via Jim Crow laws be considered "unpatriotic?"
Does the ban on such "theory" also preclude the teaching of the Chinese Exclusion Acts? Should we never mention in schools the tremendous sacrifice the Chinese Americans contributed to the building of the American West's industrial revolution? Would I have been fired for teaching Yick Wo. v. Hopkins in my AP Government classes? Would I have been forbidden to address the Indian Removal Acts, the Trail Tears or the hatred and discrimination embodied in our own government legislation against our indigenous peoples? Is that too "unpatriotic"? Should I have been fired simply for teaching my students about Wounded Knee? I mean, the Battle of Little Big Horn was blown out of proportion in my youth, but come on, our history is rich because of its warts and scars not because we ignore them.
Does the ban also prohibit teachers from discussing the internment of Japanese Americans? Would I have been summarily dismissed for having my class read "Farewell to Manzanar?" Seriously, should we also not be teaching anything about the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act because they may imply America needed to address inherent racism in our society?
All of this reminds me of a critic who wrote about my first book. The critic gave the book a four star rating. His rationale for not giving the book a five star rating? I brought up Iran Contra and Ronald Reagan's admitted involvement. Seems by reminding students of this very flawed presidential policy, I was to be criticized. I guess Republicans that now refuse to learn real history or allow it to be taught is due to their real fear they will be exposed when repeating it? Why else would teaching our history be so "dangerous" as to require legislative bans against doing so, all with the threat of firing educators that do so?
As Theodore Roosevelt once said; "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public." I think he would include excluding real history from our education curricula to be just as morally treasonable. We have a rich history that included the good, the bad and the ugly. By ignoring the bad and the ugly, one can only surmise those that wish to do so have the ulterior motive of allowing those times to be repeated instead of protected from. And this is the entire GOP outlook. Anyone who attacks our "sugar coated" history, is an "Anti-American Socialist, Marxist, Communist". America is on the precipice of serious dangers and one political party seems intent on pushing us collectively over it. Protect America, including all of its scars. Try to have a great week.