As Palmer Report pointed out previously, critical race theory (“CRT”) has become the battle cry of Republicans. Like most of their code words, the fight against CRT shows that Republicans are ignorant about how things really work. It is yet another fear tactic to secure the support of voters who live in fear of anyone “different.” So far, six states have passed bills banning CRT from schools: Iowa, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. The states in this list are not all that surprising. What is surprising is how people just take what they have heard and run with it without bothering to research.
Jonathan Chism is an assistant professor of history at the University of Houston. His take on opposition to CRT is quoted by NBC News: “Many that are condemning critical race theory haven’t read it or studied it intensely. This is largely predicated on fear: the fear of losing power and influence and privilege. The larger issue that this is all stemming from is a desire to deny the truth about America, about racism.” He is absolutely right, and groups are now coming out in opposition to these ridiculous laws, pointing out that Republicans, once again, do not even know what they are talking about.
According to the Washington Post, the American Federation of Teachers (“AFT”) has taken up the fight. Randi Weingarten, president of the organization, said that lawmakers are “waging a culture campaign.” Making Republicans and their followers looks even more clueless, Weingarten pointed out that this curriculum is not even taught in elementary, middle, and high schools but is only taught in law schools and colleges. She put it most accurately when she said that “culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination” as CRT. They are using it to stoke fear—something they do best—and to keep teachers from teaching the true history of this country. Suddenly, it is “radical” to talk about slavery and Jim Crow. They certainly cannot discuss indigenous history, which included stolen lands, lest they be promoting racism. How about we acknowledge our past, learn from it, and move forward? That would be too much like doing the right thing.
Weingarten shared with WaPo that the AFT is “preparing for litigation” on the issue, and they will not be fighting alone. Groups across the nation are gearing up to battle these ridiculous laws that seek to hide the truth from children, leaving them to grow up ignorant to their own pasts. Things are going to get heated as Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”) will be entering the fray. Coalitions are being built, beginning in Florida, as SPLC representatives believe that Florida is “particularly insidious” in the laws it has passed.
Republicans can pretend systematic racism does not exist, but they cannot peddle that nonsense to everyone else. This country was built on racism; we need to acknowledge that and find a way to move past our dark legacy. Director Antoine Fuqua who is making Emancipation with Will Smith, said it best: “We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years