CRT, Critical Race Theory, has become one of the most heated debates in education. K-12 education has been placed under a microscope in search of traces of CRT in school. It is yet another instance of politics creeping into our schools. The search of every content area, every lesson and every classroom wall for signs of CRT related topics being taught or discussed in class is aimed at maintaining the status quo in America.
Have we forgotten that your children and mine have open access to the world? They see the news, videos, they hear us discuss issues, and they likewise have their own discussions. They are not living in bubbles, nor are they blindfolded 24 hours every day. Whether we talk about what happens in society at home or in school, OUR kids have access to it.
If your child saw a viral video of George Floyd’s killing or a TikTok video and it was confusing to them in some way, how would or did you address it? Do you ignore them, when you must be aware that their peers have also seen these things, and are talking about it amongst themselves? A loving parent, wanting the best for their child, would want to address this and provide answers, even if you don’t have an immediate answer.
The next question pertains to how these answers are provided. Are you honest, without taking everything you see as an attack on you personally? Or do you whitewash it and blame the victim? What DO you teach your children? Do you ever tell your child about racism and what it is or what it means to them? OR do you say to him or her that you are not racist and there is no such thing in this country? If this is how you teach values to your child, do you model these virtues to them?
The fact that, if you’re white, and you or your children do not have any non-white friends, you must know that being non-racist is untrue. If every person of color with whom you are ‘friendly’ has to match a certain set of criteria, like the ‘good ones’ or they are ‘different’, ‘not like the others’, then this is evidence of bias. As adults, we must realize that it isn’t always what you say that convinces a child one way or another. Often, it isn’t always what you do, either. One thing is certain, though, and that is that they watch you and are listening.
CRT is life and it cannot be avoided in the 21st Century, whether at home or in school. Thanks to technology and the television and print news, it will be impossible to escape the conversation about race or racism. Every adult, white and black, will have explain ‘white privilege’ to their child, before graduating high school. If we don’t discuss these things and put them in contexts of different realities and life experiences and circumstances. Never should we forget that our answers and responses to children’s inquiries WILL be fact-checked-not only in school. Gone are the days when children are seen but not heard or will they sit down and shut up.
Children are inherently non-prejudiced individuals; they have preferences, likes and dislikes. That is it. All of the divisiveness in society between races, political parties and the like are learned. They are taught…..from all of us. To avoid certain issues or topics in school or home is ridiculous. If we don’t address these ‘sensitive’ issues in controlled safe spaces, they will most likely be covered in environments less reliable or objective.
That is what is required of anyone who wishes to engage their children in non-judgmental fact sharing. Objectivity. A parent and a school’s job is to teach children HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Every child can be reasoned with and can accept truths, as long as it is presented in developmentally-appropriate ways. Truth nonetheless.
Opponents of CRT in school settings are frightened that the world may uncover the acts of the past that harmed others unnecessarily and unjustly. The problem with that is that unless WE were ‘there’ at the time of these injustices, we are free from guilt and fear. What we should feel is compassion, empathy, and a determination to see that not any hint of that past is contaminating the present and won’t carry on into the future.
Denying a truth is detrimental to everyone, because no one heals, learns or changes anything. What Critical Race Theory does is it opens up our eyes and broadens out perspectives by examining the past and through that lens, connects it with the present. It helps us learn that, unless we undergo radical change and acceptance, there will always be an identifiable negatively-charged connection between the past and present. It helps us better understand how we got here, to this point in society. It helps guide our way into the future. The past should result in lessons learned, clarity achieved and human beings evolving without immaculate perceptions which were generated in the past.
Opponents of CRT are infected by white fragility; they are extremely frightened at what will take place should America’s children awaken to discover that people of color have NEVER been guilty of committing wrongs against whites or society. They will discover that they have been lied to and terribly misled and will be able to positively identify the lengths they have gone to do so. And keep it that way. Some knowingly and others unaware of how their consciousness has been manipulated for generations by greed and wide exposure to propaganda.
White and black children will hold every one of you and us accountable for the past. Yea, we are not guilty of any happenings of the past. We weren’t there. However, to continue to benefit from the spirit of the ignorance and fear of those in the past, without regard for the messages from our innermost voices, that warn us of the unfairness, if undeserving, is a real problem.
Either we are a part of the solution, or we are part of the problem. To remain silent and/or throw out bogus rhetoric[which is historically false and unprovable] as a defense against equity IS the past rearing its dirty head. We ARE then as guilty as those before us who framed an inequitable social structure. CRT calls on every actor of today to face their roles in perpetuating an inhumanely conceived and operationalized system, based solely on fear…not so much race.
If black people were so desperately needed for creating wealth for the white citizens of this country, and we persist on shutting them out today, we all lose. There was so much genius displayed by black people in our most dark past. Just because these people were considered ‘property’, all ownership and credit was stolen, misappropriated— claimed by white people. And it was totally legal.
There is no substantial harm to be done to anyone when, not ‘if’, full truths are uncovered. It’s all in your head. If there is so much fear of black people obtaining access to your previously exclusive spaces in business and pleasure, who perhaps may ‘shame’ you by their feats of excellence, then raise your own competencies. It won’t make sense to work harder to keep them out; you must work harder to hold on to where you are.
CRT asks us all to rise on our own merits, abilities and talents and navigate life without cheating. That is over. For every white person whom you see as being genius in their endeavors, even in as imperfect as social structures and those making decisions within them, there is still incredible genius being displayed every day by people of color. That should be a ‘no-brainer’, because how else can you explain the fact that 1) the population continues to make it out alive, despite all the arrows thrown at them over the years, and 2) which group has single-handed-ly influenced mainstream culture more than black people? And this isn’t the only group, but the most influential throughout society. In contrast, why are so many black and brown children placed in special education programs at school? Why are their schools ALWAYS less resourced that those schools in white neighborhoods? Why are roadways so much in disrepair in their communities? Why are housing valuations rise so much less than whites owning the exact same type of structure with the same features? Is CRT irrelevant? Follow the logic of how systems were set up.
Even as systems supported segregation, racism, discrimination and incarceration, and neighborhoods were abandoned, the people themselves villainized, it is that which originated within their culture that you took into your ‘mainstream’ world. Language, hair, skin tone, body image, music, dance, cuisine, technology, math, medicine[you will have to research this, if you are brave enough to uncover truths never told],fashion- the sneaker obsession, hoodies, sagging pants, braids, nail creations, boxer shorts, …………. And yet you always use the excuse that you were ‘afraid’ of them, you don’t like them, they are beneath you. If true, and white skin represents purity, goodness, yada, yada, yada, …never again should a white girl go and get a sun tan[turning her or your skin brown or bronzed], get lip injections, butt implants, face lifts[because everyone knows that’black don’t crack’]nor should be spoken the words and phrases:” don’t go there” “thirsty” “bro” “lit” “you go girl[boy]” “hot mess” “chillin'” “clubbing””spillin’ the tea” “fleek” “paper” “all that” “my ride”.……That’s contradictory to the essence of your cause, unless you see that the aim was/is to take everything away from black people, appropriate it, claim it, own it and call it yours well deserved? All of this only because they did not have to work for free anymore.
Never should your children be in their room, car, or their headphones listening to rap music or try to rap themselves. Not one current or past dances, less a few, like ‘twerking’, should you permit your daughters or sons to do. Never should your daughters wear big hoop earrings. You get the picture.
I get the picture quite clearly. You’re confused and afraid and somewhat resentful. So your best defense is to oppose any real evidence-based history, and you pick apart every topic you find frightening. Education is not political; it is personal. Besides, educators very well are aware that what they teach in the classroom will not jeopardize what’s taught in the home. They simply are there to teach children how to think. It can continue to be your job, your choice, to tell and teach them what to think from fragmented information. Listen, we have all been hoodwinked by the system for years. Hard to believe but true.
Haven’t you ever heard children complain that what they learn in school, they’ll never again use or need in life. If you feel the same, then let it go. There are too many more concerns in life than that. If you think they will use it in life, then brace yourself. You’ve got some difficult questions coming your way and it behooves you to be prepared and have verifiable facts behind your responses. They surely will! Just sayin’! Don’t shoot the messenger, because the message is true! Just grow up! Your/our children will, with or without us.