Want to know what all the hubbub about critical race theory is all about? These are people who don’t want their children to learn things they are not proud of. They are not proud of racism. It’s disgusting. It is not about “who we are”, to use common political phraseology. Besides, it’s behind us. We have dealt with this part of our history. Let’s move on!
Of course, let’s move on to the study of the founding fathers, whom we are proud, but God forbid, we should mention their messy aspects, such as the fact that a group of them owned slaves. Let’s move on to teaching about the wars we won, rather than the ones we lost. Let’s move on to teaching about the Great Westward Expansion as our country grew from 13 colonies to encompassing a continent, but leave aside the genocide of the people who already lived here and the disturbing truth that it was at least in part of the debates over the expansion of slavery in the Territories which ultimately led to Southern secession, the collapse of American democracy and the Civil War.
Parents in hotspots like Sugar Land, Texas, and Loudoun County, Virginia, are said to not want their children to feel uncomfortable because they are white. Aside from the fact that discomfort is a rather odd criterion for knowing what to teach and what not to teach children, I can’t remember a single case in the 12 years that I attended. public schools where someone worried if the black kids I went to school with felt uncomfortable going to majority white schools.
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But let’s talk about pride for a moment. I am proud to be a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. This is not to say that I have to be proud of the fact that with the Declaration of Independence he laid out in his only book, “Notes on the State of Virginia”, what you might call the founding ideology of the white supremacy: Blacks were inherently inferior to whites and were incapable of being educated, so it was only fitting that they remained chattels belonging to whites. I am also not proud of the fact that during his lifetime Jefferson possessed more than 600 human beings and at his death only released those with the surname Hemings, among which were the children he had fathered with his slave, Sally.
It’s the thing with pride. It’s up to you, so you can choose what you’re proud of. I remember when it was considered extraordinary that the godfather of soul, James Brown, had a hit record with “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”. Released in 1968, it just wasn’t something you would hear black people say to the world, and yet here is James Brown singing these lyrics:
Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
We’re tired of banging our heads on the wall
And work for someone else
We are people, we are like birds and bees
We prefer to die standing
Than to live on my knees
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!
Same thing with the expression “Gay Pride”. In the summer of 1969, when those words echoed through the crowd outside the Stonewall Inn after a police arrest, it was extraordinary to hear them aloud in a public place, let alone in what amounted to a police riot against the people who said it. . By a whim of fate, I was there the night the Stonewall was destroyed. I wrote the cover of Village Voice for the next two days of protests. The words “Gay Pride” and “Gay Power” were scrawled across the boarded up windows of the Stonewall. Until then, being gay was hardly a source of pride. It was not until 1987 that homosexuality was officially withdrawn from the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and it took many more years for sexual acts between adults of the same sex to be decriminalized. . Proud to be a criminal and have a mental illness? Rather, it was the reason many gay and lesbian people chose to stay in the closet and hide their gender identities.
It is not only an irony but a crime that black pride and gay pride are at the root of much of the hysteria about “critical race theory”, particularly in the United States. red where the madness of transgender toilets and racial history really erupted. The attitude of so many shouting threats at school board meetings and protesting outside the homes of principals and school superintendents seems to be that gays and blacks were alright – back when they weren’t. not proud of who they are. Parents protesting seem to want a time when ‘they’ weren’t in front of you with ridiculous demands like teaching the subject of slavery in history classes and allowing LGBT students to form pride and pride clubs. hold hands in the hallways. The arguments on critical race theory reflect the desire of some parents for all of these filthy things to go away. Back to the cheers at football games and the decoration for the ball, they seem to be saying.
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Here is just a problem with that. In places like Sugar Land, Texas, these football games take place on land that was ceded to settlers in the 1820s and 1930s by Stephen F. Austin from a land grant of over 97,000 acres. which it received from Mexico as an agreement for cotton. and sugar cane plantations. If the settlers brought a slave with them, they were given 80 acres for a farm. With two slaves, they got 160 acres, and so on. For his role in helping to colonize the territory of Texas and for leading the Texas Revolution against Mexico, which opposed slavery, the state capital was named in his honor.
Loudoun County, Virginia, one of the wealthiest and fastest growing counties in the country, was also cultivated by slave owners. Ruth Basil, who worked for my grandparents on their farm in Loudoun County in the early 1950s, is the great-granddaughter of slaves and was raised in a log cabin built by her great-granddaughters. parents, having obtained their freedom in 1865, on land which was sold to them by the man who had owned them. Ruth grew up in this log cabin, from where she walked to school each day along the dirt roads that bounded the farm where her great-grandparents were slaves. She was frequently passed on the way to school by yellow school buses which transported white children to the all-white schools they attended. Ruth and her black classmates studied from used textbooks that had been passed on to the separate schools she attended. Loudoun County was part of Virginia’s “massive resistance” program against integration after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, and its schools would remain separate, along with most others in the state, until the mid-1960s.
Massive resistance to school integration in Virginia morphed into massive resistance against critical race theory and was a major factor in the contest for governor of Virginia, won by Republican Glenn Younkin against Democrat Terry McAuliffe earlier this month. The state that used to hide its black students in underfunded, underserved, and out of the way all-black schools is now trying to hide from its students the critical racial facts of those years.
Here’s a new “state of Virginia note”: Opposing Critical Race Theory won’t save you from ugly truths about white supremacy.
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