Re: letter of Diana Thorn, “How Is This a Good Thing” (July 30)
The writer and, sadly, the National Education Association conflate Critical Race Theory and systemic racism. I can understand her continued confusion. The mislabeling by the NEA is disappointing, to say the least. CRT teaches that racism has been codified in the U.S. legal system since the birth of our country. Systemic racism refers to countless instances of racial injustice that have occurred throughout our history.
Examples of Critical Race Theory: 1) Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution declared that slaves will be counted as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of giving slave owning states more representation in Congress … with the implied caveat that they were not “whole” human beings. 2) In the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the Supreme Court ruled (in a 7-2 vote) that no slave or former slave could ever become a U.S. citizen.
Examples of systemic racism: 1) In 1960, Ruby Bridges was the first Black student to integrate a public elementary school in New Orleans. This innocent 6-year-old girl was cursed at and spat upon. Bridgesrecounts her experience in her book Ruby Bridges Goes to School — My True Story. There is now a movement in Tennessee to ban this book because it makes white racists look bad. But, that angry mob was racist and they were bad. Teaching that lesson should be age appropriate, but it should be taught and not cancelled. 2) George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer for being suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill while Black.
Although the Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal”, many of the signers of that document owned slaves. The “all men” in this historical context clearly refers to white, male property owners. The Civil War was “against slavery”, but only one side wanted to abolish slavery. The other side wanted to maintain and perpetuate it as the linchpin of their entire economy. They were willing to sacrifice 300,000 Confederate lives to that end. The 14th Amendment promises “equal protection of the laws”, but this promise has never come to fruition. Ask the grieving families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others.
Nothing in Critical Race Theory teaches anyone to hate themselves, others, or their country. Simply put, it teaches our complete and unabridged history. Sometimes, the truth may be uncomfortable, but it’s still the truth. Faux patriotism, however, does nothing to help us “form a more perfect union” or to educate our children and grandchildren.