It can be exhausting at times to keep track of what cultural issue of the week is being completely misunderstood, misconstrued, and irrationally outraged against.
The latest cultural boogeyman? Something called “Critical Race Theory”.
What is it? To be honest – I’m not qualified to explain it to you completely and accurately. All I know is that it’s an academic concept that’s more than 40 years old. It’s something that PhD candidates research and write about – studying the intersection of law, economic, sociology, literature, etc to find connections between all of them that lead to built-in disadvantages for parts of our society that may not be as in-your-face obvious as segregated water fountains or discriminatory lending practices.
Opponents of Critical Race Theory don’t even know what they are opposing! Let’s take Senator Tim Scott for example. Recently he stated “America is not a racist country”.
He, and many others, would like everyone to think that there are no limitations in this county. That any obstacles to success are solely due to one’s lack of work ethic and determination. Senator Tim Scott points to his own success as an example.
Why then why would there need to be “Opportunity Zones” – a program he LOVES to tout? By definition, Opportunity Zones are a program “to spur economic growth and job creation in low-income communities.”
Senator Scott also touted the Trump Administration’s prison and sentencing reform with the “First Step Act”. And guess which group of American citizens are most caught up with incarceration?
Don’t we think it’s worth studying and teaching about how minority communities become economically distressed? Can’t we research and converse about how black Americans come to be so disproportionately put behind bars?
Many states have already gone ahead and introduced legislation restricting teaching about race. South Carolina is among them.
Our state superintendent of education, Molly Spearman, came out with a pretty strong statement recently. “The Critical Race Theory (CRT) ideology has no place in South Carolina schools and classrooms”.
She further swears that we will “not be hindered by any ideologies or agendas that seek to distract us”.
Seems to me that that Superintendent Spearman, who is normally rational, has gotten swept up in forming defensive opinions based on misperceptions and fear.
We have absolutely NO ISSUE with teaching about the Holocaust in our schools and the role of nationalistic fervor that swept Germany after WWI that led to it. In fact it’s part of Germany’s school curriculum. Although even there, I have to point out the right wing of Germany’s political spectrum is pushing hard against it – using many of the same reason points as we see being brought up against Critical Race Theory. That teaching about the Holocost “distracts” from learning about the Germany’s greatness and uniqueness in the world.
Many like to think of slavery as being from another time – an ancient history that has little to do with today. But my friends, we are not so far removed. I recently read the following mind-blowing fact:
Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery, was alive at the same time as both Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. She was born before slave-owner Thomas Jefferson died and lived past the birth of President Ronald Regan. You don’t think that the forceable enslavement of such a large number of people did not have impacts on our society today? A tragedy of that magnitude carries through generations, and it indeed needs to be studied, understood, taught, and then dealt with.
Representative John McCravy, during the midst of the George Floyd racial awareness movement last year wrote:
“Those who despise America, our institutions, and yes, our heritage, usually share one thing in common—they don’t know or don’t care about our history.”Rep. John McCravy on Facebook, June 27, 2020
OK – so let’s examine the history of the Greenwood Confederate Monument:
In the dedication of this monument in 1903, the Honorable Judge William T. Gary spoke the following in front of a crowd:
““We know that Christian civilization has successfully penetrated the jungles of Africa, and the descendants of many of the savages who were transported to the South have been taught to know God. We know that the highest type of Anglo-Saxon manhood and of Anglo-Saxon civilization may be found in the states of the South”Index Journal
Did Rep McCravy make any mention of THIS part of history in his passionate defense of a monument raised in honor of the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race? No he did not.
Maybe Rep McCravy should be counted among those who despise America then? Those are his words, not mine.
Or perhaps, we should be more aware of the actual historical context in which events and monuments are cast and not just merely accept that what we’ve traditionally been taught – or just as importantly, NOT taught – as the final say on the truth of history. And it seems to me that is exactly what Critical Race Theory is all about. We just shouldn’t be so damn fragile to honestly face it!
That’s it for this week. Once again, I implore you to register to vote and then cast that ballot so we can move on from nonsensical fears like this and get to real work for the people of America.