Listen, you wouldn’t teach advanced calculus to second-graders, would you? Nor would you make metaphysics part of the curriculum for nine-year-olds. Therefore, it makes sense to ban teaching critical race theory (CRT) in grade school.
As we all know, CRT “is an academic study at the undergraduate and graduate level that aims to examine the role of racism in the modern era and the ways it has become woven into the social fabric.” Virtually no grade schools are teaching CRT, but you can’t be too careful. Some overzealous teachers out there, somewhere, might abruptly thrust college-level academics onto their unsuspecting grade-schoolers, so we need legislation to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Yes, a few crazy liberals insist that the movement to ban CRT is a pathetic ploy to rile up White suburbanites over racial fears, and that Republicans have picked this scary term at random in a desperate attempt “to keep the GOP base whipped into a racist frenzy.”
But conservatives insist that they just want to make sure that kids are mature enough to handle some of the, shall we say, more delicate parts of American history. When kids are old enough, they will certainly learn about the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow and Emmett Till and segregation and all that other unpleasant stuff. Am I correct, my conservative friends?
I said, am I right?
OK, I take that silence personally.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Republicans aren’t terribly concerned about the maturity level of kids when it comes to learning about racism. Because in truth, almost half of Republicans are opposed to public schools teaching the history of racism at all. That means their screeching about CRT is really just a clumsy catchall for banning any lessons about racism—as in all, in toto, 100 percent, forever and ever, amen.
The bellicose grandstanding at school board meetings “underscores how a significant portion of Republicans view opposition to critical race theory as part of a general desire to avoid discussions on the history of racism in America altogether.”
You see, conservatives have a long history of denying that bigotry exists—or has ever existed—in America. The reasons for this range from self-serving political maneuvering, to psychologically comforting delusion, to plain and simple White grievance.
But the bottom line is that conservatives have a great deal of “discomfort with the ongoing, expanding conversation on race in the US,” and they want to not just deny racism’s power, but punish anyone who attempts to teach the younger generation such unsettling historical facts.
As many people have pointed out, White conservatives who did horrible things to Black people in the 1960s now want to prevent their grandchildren from learning that they did horrible things to Black people in the 1960s.
But it’s even worse than that. We now have White parents who object to books about Ruby Bridges, on the grounds that learning about the little girl’s struggles will upset their kids. So they are saying that what Ruby Bridges went through in real life is not nearly as traumatizing as their children of the same age merely reading about it.
In fact, White conservative parents believe that such books “make students ‘feel discomfort’ because they’re White.” Yikes—where’s a safe space when you need one?
Overall, about 75 percent of voters “approve of teaching the history of racism in public schools,” meaning that on this topic, Republicans are out of touch with most Americans. But hey, they are out of touch with most Americans on a long list of subjects, so what’s one more disconnect?
In any case, you’ll be happy to know that Republicans are once again striving to win the battle of ideas by presenting calm, logical, principled arguments.
Actually, no—they are going full-on fascist and calling “for books to be burned amid the GOP’s campaign against schools teaching about race.”
Of course, we could teach kids how book burning has a ghastly history and is a harbinger of oppression and totalitarianism. But I’m sure that some parents wouldn’t like that.
Featured image: ‘The Problem We All Live With‘ by Norman Rockwell, 1964