Watch out, anti critical race theorists are threatening our education

Here’s something that might surprise you: parents are actually complaining about teachers doing too good of a job teaching students the accurate history of America, which describes the critical race theory (CRT) debate. The theory is simply a framework that has somehow led to a panic as parents claim that their children will be “ashamed of being white” or “hate this country” if they learn about the past and present racism that has taken place in America. 

CRT is a way of looking at how the laws embedded in our society can explain the subordinate status of people of color and why they are still facing inequality today. Regardless of whether or not you believe in this theory, the reality is it is only taught in graduate level schooling. The fact that parents are complaining about this being taught to their elementary level children is completely absurd, unless their 10 year old is somehow enrolled in law school. 

The truth is, students in elementary and middle school are simply being taught historical events such as the Constitution or slavery — the framework of the CRT theory. For example, at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, the phrase “all men are created equal” only applied to rich, property-owning white men. However, parents are enraged over their kids learning about that fact, saying things like “the western culture and values in founding documents are being called evil and racist,” “these lessons have intent to make our children feel disgust towards our nation,” and even “this country isn’t a racist country, we elected Obama as our President.”

Learning about the history of this country is supposed to make students feel uncomfortable. Instead of sugar-coating the brutal pasts that people of color lived through, we should be confronting those valid feelings of discomfort that some may be feeling. A lot of the racial ignorance that still occurs today is a direct result of people not being educated enough about the history and culture of different races. So why are we distorting the truth behind our history — the most powerful weapon to combat racism — to please those who are already privileged because of their race? 

The anti-CRT movement has led to hundreds of book bans across the country within the last year. Since January of 2021, 42 states have already taken action to limit how teachers can discuss race. In April of 2022, Florida governor signed the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” which prevents teachers from talking about how people can be privileged or oppressed because of their race. Simarlarly, a bill was proposed in Maryland, prohibiting lessons regarding “discriminatory concepts” that may lead individuals to become uncomfortable due to their race. 

To make matters worse, during a training session under Governor Ron DeSantis’ Civics Literacy Excellence Program last June, teachers in Florida were told to downplay the horrors of slavery — in other words, lie to students. DeSantis is blatantly manipulating the truth behind history lessons to push forward his own conservative ideologies that will brainwash students into believing a fairytale about America’s racist past, directly contributing to one of the reasons racism is still prevalent in our country today. 

The limitations being imposed on teachers to avoid talking about race may prevent white students from feeling uncomfortable, but what about the feelings of other students? People of color never got the choice to decide when they felt ready to talk about their race. African American kids in elementary school don’t get that choice when they have to learn how to conduct themselves in front of police to stay alive. I, along with all the other Asian Americans living in this country, didn’t get that choice when people of our race were being brutally beaten and murdered during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Education is our one, powerful tool to combat racism, and this country is allowing that to be taken away from us. It’s time that we stop going to unreasonably great lengths to prioritize the comfort of racially privileged people, and start considering the feelings of other races that America also promised to protect.