Should academic discussions regarding American history be censored in public schools?
Tennessee is the latest state to ban teachers from teaching certain concepts of race and racism, and valuable state funding is at risk if they violate the new measure.
The alleged demon exorcised by the legislature is called Critical Race Theory (CRT). It is a supposedly scary thing that will harm our kids, yet lawmakers can’t tell you what it really is. (When asked, you will probably hear a strawman argument.)
Simply put, “Critical race theory examines social, cultural, and legal issues as they relate to race and racism.” CRT is not a part of the public school curriculum and is usually not studied until law school or in graduate programs!
So, this legislation was written to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Its aim is to control public school teachers’ ability to accurately teach U.S. history and discuss current events.
Can any legislator name a single lesson that is inaccurate or that misleads students about U.S. history?
CRT is not un-American or anti-patriotic. Instead, it encourages students to look at history from the perspective of race, and the role racism played in the formation of our nation, laws, and institutions that still stand.
For example, one cannot teach about slavery, the Constitution, or voting in this country without including racism in the curriculum. One cannot teach about WWI and WWII without including segregation of White and Black soldiers.
This history helps students understand the roots of inequality today and gives them the tools to shape a just future.
As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
We need to teach the truth, even when—and especially when—the truth is uncomfortable.
This new law is self-contradictory and often incomprehensible. It’s vague; therefore, it functions as a scare tactic. No one could possibly comply (or be in violation).
I suspect this law will join the queue of other wasteful, litigated legislation put forth by our lawmakers.
The bill goes into effect July 1.