Fears over critical race theory in schools are real

In a recent Tribune-Star editorial, readers were advised that school boards “and teachers find themselves under siege from conservative activists attempting to have anything resembling critical race theory (CRT) banned from K-12 classrooms.”

Perhaps those who comprise this newspaper’s editorial board should remove their political blinders. Plenty of parents on both sides of the ideological aisle have been outspoken over attempts to implement CRT in their children’s schools. Politico, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, published a lengthy report last month chronicling the discontent of parents across the political spectrum who are concerned about what’s happening in our public schools, and recent efforts to add (CRT) to curricula.

Politico: “On the national level, Democrats have insisted that the brush fires over critical race theory — which has become a political punching bag even for unrelated equity initiatives — are largely the work of right-wing activists who willfully misrepresent what it means, and they blame Fox News for fanning parents’ anger.

“But those Democrats appear to be underestimating parents’ anger in places where critical race theory is top of mind. Objections to new equity plans are not the sole province of conservatives but extend to many moderate and independent voters, according to Politico interviews with school board members, political operatives and activists in Democratic and left-leaning communities including the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; New York’s Westchester County; Maricopa County covering Phoenix, Ariz.; and suburban Detroit.”

By interviewing administrators and parents from various areas, Politico put the lie to the left-wing narrative that only conservatives are outraged over CRT.

One parent from Detroit told Politico she became aware of CRT because her daughter had begun insisting the police should be defunded and that looting during Black Lives Matter protests was justified.

The mother said she has always voted Democrat, but that ship has sailed, describing her “woke” daughter’s views as radical. She and other parents organized a group to confront the local school board about CRT.

Some of the most compelling remarks have come from black parents, such as Keisha King in Duval County, Florida: “Telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist …That is not teaching the truth, unless you believe that whites are better than blacks.”

Bion Bartning became involved in the debate over (CRT) after his daughter’s New York City elementary school began implementing changes that included telling students in a video to “check each other’s words and actions” for bias.

“That’s the opposite of what you want to tell a 6-year-old,” Bartning, who is of mixed race, said in an interview. “I grew up with very liberal values and believing in the goal where we judge each other by our character and not by the color of our skin.”

According to Politico, parents are especially irate that their complaints are being dismissed as merely not wanting students to learn about racism. This runs counter to the objective reporting, which has found that few on the left or right are objecting to CRT because they’d prefer students not learn about slavery or the history of racial conflict in the U.S.

Indeed. It’s vitally important that students be made aware of America’s history of slavery, racial turmoil, and the heroic Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. No decent person would think otherwise.

What does concern parents, are the radical beliefs of CRT zealots such as Bettina Love, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Ibram X. Kendi who peddle a militant brand of CRT. Miss Love wants to abolish our constitutional system, and the classical liberalism which undergirds it, replacing it with a society built on radically different “goals and ideals.”

Kendi insists America is a hopelessly racist country and our institutions are devised to perpetuate white oppression. Anyone who challenges his view is proving their own racism.

Ty Smith went viral for asking, “How do I have two medical degrees if I’m sitting here oppressed? ... How’d I get where I am today if some white man kept me down?”

Professor John McWhorter dismisses CRT as a “flawed new religion.” He characterizes Ta-Nehisi Coates as a “preacher” and his writings “sermons.” Likens Ibram Kendi’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center to a “divinity school.” Woke reading groups are “Sunday schools.” White praise of woke black writers is “genuflecting.” The Elect themselves are “parishioners,” with a distinct “Church Lady air.” From a woke perspective, privilege is an “original sin.” Books such as Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility serve to usher in “Judgment Day.” Skeptics such as McWhorter are deemed “witches.”

In McWhorter’s view, religious fundamentalists and the woke share a similar psychology. Both insist their followers suspend disbelief, stop asking “real” questions, cease to reason, and “simply have faith.”

— Reggie McConnell, Terre Haute

The Tribune-Star is committed to publishing a diversity of opinions from readers. Email us at opinion@tribstar.com.

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