Critical race theory panic: Surveying the elusive 'national conversation on race'

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  41 comments

By:   Elle Reeve, Samantha Guff and Deborah Brunswick (CNN)

Critical race theory panic: Surveying the elusive 'national conversation on race'
Conservatives are using critical race theory to mean any instruction about the role of race in America, past or present. The message is that such instruction puts White people in danger of being blamed for their ancestors' crimes.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



(CNN)Keziah Ridgeway says she's the only teacher she knows in Philadelphia who teaches critical race theory in public high school -- and she teaches it in her anthropology class, as one framework among many to understand human cultures. But she also teaches African American history, and that's what she thinks the frenzy over critical race theory (CRT) is really about.

"Critical race theory is a lens, right? It's not being taught in schools," Ridgeway says. It's a theory for understanding the interaction of race and the law, and is mostly taught in graduate school, not elementary school. But conservatives are using the phrase to mean any instruction about the role of race in America, past or present. The explicit message is that such instruction puts White people in danger of being blamed for their ancestors' crimes. Its undercurrent is that it could bring attention to the ways that White people today continue to benefit from racism. "Can (CRT) influence the way that some teachers teach? Yeah," Ridgeway says. "But that's a good thing, right? Because race and racism are literally the building blocks of this country. So how can you not talk about it?" What critical race theory is -- and isn't In the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd, Republican politicians have been hyping "critical race theory" as a threat to the impressionable minds of America's children. In more than a dozen states, legislators have proposed bills to ban CRT.

In May, Oklahoma teachers were banned from teaching that "an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive." On September 1, a Texas law goes into effect that bans teaching that "slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States." Read More Ridgeway teaches at an inner-city school where a majority of students are people of color. She says the strongest reaction she gets from kids who take her class is that they feel like they've been lied to by a feel-good version of American history. "I love primary sources, which is what I use a lot in my classroom. Because if a parent comes and says, 'Why are you teaching my kid that Christopher Columbus was a murderer?' I'll just be like, I technically didn't teach them anything. They read his diary." Ominous warnings about the danger of CRT have been circulating from 4chan to Fox News for a year. In the last few months, it has started turning people out. Across the country, school board meetings have gotten heated as parents have protested CRT. Last week, CNN toured the mid-Atlantic to survey the CRT discourse, interviewing Ridgeway in Philadelphia, watching a suburban school board meeting, talking to an anti-CRT activist in Pennsylvania, and watching a local Republican panel at a diner near Baltimore.

'A conflation of issues'


This CNN crew dropped by a school board meeting in Phoenixville, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, to see if someone might show up to talk about CRT. Two did. "We do not want our children to be taught that they are oppressed or they are oppressors by virtue of their color," a White woman said as she addressed the school board, her kids at her side. "These are my babies. Not yours. If you are embarrassed or ashamed of your skin color, that's your issue. Not mine or my children." Half a dozen people clapped. She went on to address the subject of history. "Saying America is wholly racist, and White supremacy are the biggest threats to America, is like saying Big Foot is the biggest threat. It's a lie. 600,000 people died in the Civil War to end racism and slavery. Don't rewrite factual history or indoctrinate. Just present the facts, not storytelling." (She later declined to comment, saying, "I don't like your show.") Keziah Ridgeway teaches African American history at a public high school in a suburb of Philadelphia. She discusses CRT in her anthropology class.

A White man in a suit said, "We did not want our children to be taught that America is systemically racist." (Once the meeting moved on to less nationally relevant matters, CNN waited outside to ask him about his comments. He stood in the window and took a picture of the crew, but when the meeting ended, he left through another exit.) These comments did not go without pushback. "What I'm hearing in these comments is really disturbing on a lot of levels," school board member Christopher Caltagirone said. "I heard a comment that we ended racism with the Civil War." He sounded astonished. "I'm sick and tired of seeing people try to run roughshod over the education system." After the meeting, some teachers and school board members lingered. A couple of teachers said they'd heard the CRT backlash was big in a nearby suburb, Downingtown. Phoenixville had gotten a few comments over the last several weeks, Caltagirone told CNN, but "I wouldn't say it's a majority, and I wouldn't say we've been inundated." He said he'd never seen CRT in the curriculum. "I have no clue what triggered it locally. But I think it's part of the larger movement that we're seeing nationally." "I think it's a knee-jerk reaction to what's gone on in society over the last year," Caltagirone said. "It's a conflation of issues" -- history, critical race theory, equity, diversity and inclusion -- "it's all being put together. And I don't think that's fair." The right is panicking over critical race theory The idea that CRT is being used to teach young White children to hate themselves for being White has circulated in conservative media. In April, Idaho lawmakers debated a bill later signed by the governor that stated critical race theory would "exacerbate and inflame divisions" and banned public schools from teaching that individual people "are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin."

During this debate, Idaho state Rep. Heather Scott relayed the claims of a substitute teacher, who said students had been instructed to read the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott recounted, "She said the message was clear: White people are bad, Black people are innocent victims. And the students were encouraged to believe there was an endless era of Black victimization." (To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, has long been considered a literary classic, and its protagonists are a White lawyer and his precocious daughter.) Ridgeway seemed somewhat amused but mostly exasperated by these claims. Is she teaching children to hate America? "No, I'm teaching children to question America. And that's what makes a good patriot." Is she teaching White kids to hate themselves for being White? "No." Is she teaching Black kids that there's nothing they can do to improve their situation? "Absolutely not."

Because racism exists and they can never fight it, so they should give up? "Absolutely not. I'm creating little free thinkers and resistors and future politicians and lawyers and teachers and change-makers." Idaho moves to ban critical race theory instruction in all public schools, including universities Ridgeway said she thought Pennsylvania's governor would veto any anti-CRT bill the state legislature might pass. (When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Wolf said, "These proposals are harmful political props meant solely to stir up outrage," but did not say whether Wolf would veto.) But even if one such bill became law in her state, she would not change the way she teaches. "I could lose my job. Is that gonna stop me from teaching the truth? Absolutely not." But, Ridgeway said, "I'm concerned about teachers who live in states where they have a Republican governor who is hell-bent on putting these things into law. They could be fined. They could lose their job. They could be suspended. And I think that is so problematic. Can you imagine in Germany, them banning teaching about the Holocaust?"

Parents fight 'indoctrination' at school


With just two days left in the2020 school year, Elana Fishbein says she received an email from her kids' school near Philadelphia saying they would be given lessons about the role of race in American society. She said she reviewed the materials and determined they were racist. While there are some bigots, Fishbein allowed, "American society is not racist." She continued, "Taking a wide brush and painting this country as systemic racist, as, you know, structurally racist -- it's insane." She was particularly upset by the book, A Kids Book About Racism, by Jelani Memory, published in 2019. In the book, Memory says he has a Black dad and a White mom, which makes him mixed -- "or African American, biracial, Black, or a person of color." This offended Fishbein. "There's no mention of the fact that his mother was White," she said. "The White option doesn't exist there. He can be Black, but he cannot be White." People gathered at a diner near Baltimore to listen to a panel held by local Republican groups. The legacy of America's "one-drop rule" has meant a biracial person with a Black ancestor is usually considered Black. Fishbein did not find this persuasive. She said, "But the fact that somebody defines you, doesn't make you what they define you.

The fact that somebody calls me a racist, doesn't make me a racist." Fishbein says she then wrote a letter to the school board and posted it on the school's Facebook page, where she was "literally lynched." CNN suggested perhaps she was just figuratively lynched. "Of course, of course," she said, "very harshly, obviously, calling me racist and bigot and demanding that my post would be removed." She said the post was deleted, and removed from other local school-related Facebook pages, too. "That's when I started really being concerned." Fishbein put her kids in private school. But her interest in the public school curriculum continued. In August, Fishbein created an advocacy group called No Left Turn in Education. Despite the name, she said, "Our goal is to get any kind of indoctrination, any kind of politicization, from our schools. It's not about right and left. It's about right and wrong." An appearance on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show had generated a wave of interest, she said, though she would not say how many people had joined or how much money she'd raised. Though her kids are out of public school now, Fishbein said she didn't want her money, as a taxpayer, "to go to indoctrinate kids that then are going to hate my kids because of the color of their skin, and attack them because of the color of their skin, and blame them that whatever achievement they have, it's because of the color of the skin."

A school district tried to address racism, a group of parents fought back Asked if she was afraid her children would be attacked by Black children, Fishbein said, "No, I didn't say by Black children." When asked who exactly she feared would attack her children, Fishbein said, "What happened in the summer, it twisted the minds of all kids, all kids. My kids can be attacked by antifa kids or BLM kids that are not Black. They're White like my kids. But they're believing -- they were indoctrinated. And they internalize this philosophy." Asked if her children had been beaten up by "antifa kids," Fishbein said, "It's going to happen if we are not going to stop it. But we are going to stop it."

When did race stop mattering?


Near Baltimore, the Howard County Young Republicans rented out half a diner for a panel discussing two topics: schools being shut down amid Covid-19, and critical race theory. It was standing room only, with more than 100 people. The speakers were people of color, and the audience was mostly White. It erupted in applause as the speakers denounced CRT. Maria Vismale, who is Black, said Black people "absolutely" have more opportunities than White people now, citing college scholarships for people of color and corporate diversity initiatives. She said of the corporate world, "If I can compete, if I am able to do the job, then they're going to choose me over a White woman, and definitely a White male, because they're looking for these people to diversify." A recurring theme among conservatives CNN spoke to was their perception that the concept of systemic racism implies individual Black people don't have a shot at becoming rich and successful. "Telling people they can't compete based off skin color does nothing but keep them down," Vismale said. "Rather than tell them they can accomplish anything, like my parents did. Like I'm sure Barack Obama's parents did, like I'm sure so many of the entrepreneurs (did)." More than 100 people gathered at a diner near Baltimore to listen to a panel held by local Republican groups on school Covid-19 shutdowns and critical race theory.

The real problem, Vismale said, was the education system. Vismale's long conversation with CNN at times went in circles about whether an education system that was disadvantageous for poor Black kids counted as systemic racism. "In Baltimore City, students can't read and write," she said. "And to say the issue is because of their skin color is absolutely ridiculous. It's not because of their skin color. It's because they don't have the resources." But why didn't they have the resources? "It's because they have been born into poverty." But why do they have to go to poor-performing schools? Vismale said it was because school administrators were overpaid, and teachers were underpaid. The inner-city schools weren't working, so even if a Black kid is valedictorian, she said, "Realistically, can you compete with your counterparts who clearly have had better circumstances and schools, better input from parents, better local government, politicians, administrators that are not, basically, ... being corrupt? ... Yes, he can do anything. Yes, it will be more difficult for him to do it. But it's not because, 'OK, this man is a Black man.' It's because of the circumstance in which the school system was constructed." Critical race theory is a lens. Here are 11 ways looking through it might refine your understanding of history Schools are funded with property taxes, which means schools in poor neighborhoods have less funding, and on top of that, redlining had restricted where Black people could live -- did that not all add up to systemic racism? Vismale said no.

The diner event drew all kinds, from college kids to senior citizens. There was a contingent of College Republicans from Towson University. One of them, Craig Lewis, admitted he was "not that knowledgeable" about critical race theory. "But it sounds as if -- obviously, this is more of an educated assumption -- that it is, obviously, teaching people, kids about race and racial issues in America's past is very important. I was taught about slavery, Jim Crow, the whole of the history of the United States. But to paint the country as an inherently racist country from its founding, I think is dangerous. And false." When Lewis was reminded that the Constitution's Three-fifths Compromise says slaves shall be counted as 60% of a person, he said, "Of course, and that was applied at an earlier time. That's not the case now, obviously." Asked to square the inclusion of explicitly unequal treatment in the founding documents of America with his claim that America was founded on the principle of equality, Lewis said, "Well yeah. ... It wasn't perfectly written in the Constitution. But the founding of the United States is so that all people under God are created equal." After watching Lewis's interview, his buddy, Sam Jones, the president of Towson College Republicans, wanted a go. "Critical race theory is the idea that's taught to our nation's youth that the way that you're born contributes to the amount of success that you can achieve in this country," Jones said. "Basically, it states that White people are born with everything. And if you're not White, you're born with nothing. And you have a strategic disadvantage in making money and gaining success here." Jones said he had not read any critical race theory books. He could not name any critical race theory scholars. He could not name any critical race theory concepts. Even so, "I think I've summarized critical race theory as a whole pretty well."

Florida bans teaching critical race theory in schools "My point is, it doesn't matter what race you are, it matters how hard you work," Jones said. "I think it has much more to do with the choices you make and the place you live, the people that you surround yourself with, than the color of your skin when you're born." Did race ever matter in American history? Jones said yes. Race mattered a lot during slavery. Jim Crow, too. When did race stop mattering? "I mean, I'm not gonna be able to tell you an exact date of when it stopped mattering," Jones said. But could he give a date range? "I mean, it doesn't notmatter. It definitely matters because there's an implicit bias in all of us. But my point is that the success, the economic, the personal success that you're going to make in this life has nothing to do with the color of your skin." Could he give a decade when that became true? "Probably the 90s." But what specifically? "Living your life." So in the 90s, Black people were living their lives? "Cut that one off," Jones said and walked off-camera and out of the interview. "Our kids are smart, they know what's happening," Ridgeway said. "We do them a disservice by continuing to pretend like critical race theory is the issue. When it's really you just don't want kids to learn the truth. Because not only do they become critical thinkers, but they also become voters." The people who have something to fear, she said, were the politicians. "As this generation gets older, a lot of the people who are making these laws will be voted out of office."


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
She says the strongest reaction she gets from kids who take her class is that they feel like they've been lied to by a feel-good version of American history. "I love primary sources, which is what I use a lot in my classroom. Because if a parent comes and says, 'Why are you teaching my kid that Christopher Columbus was a murderer?' I'll just be like, I technically didn't teach them anything. They read his diary."

-

... "We do not want our children to be taught that they are oppressed or they are oppressors by virtue of their color," a White woman said as she addressed the school board, her kids at her side. "These are my babies. Not yours. If you are embarrassed or ashamed of your skin color, that's your issue. Not mine or my children." Half a dozen people clapped. She went on to address the subject of history. "Saying America is wholly racist, and White supremacy are the biggest threats to America, is like saying Big Foot is the biggest threat. It's a lie. 600,000 people died in the Civil War to end racism and slavery. Don't rewrite factual history or indoctrinate.

-

"What I'm hearing in these comments is really disturbing on a lot of levels," school board member Christopher Caltagirone said. "I heard a comment that we ended racism with the Civil War." He sounded astonished. "I'm sick and tired of seeing people try to run roughshod over the education system."

-

During this debate, Idaho state Rep. Heather Scott relayed the claims of a substitute teacher, who said students had been instructed to read the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott recounted, "She said the message was clear: White people are bad, Black people are innocent victims. And the students were encouraged to believe there was an endless era of Black victimization." (To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, has long been considered a literary classic, and its protagonists are a White lawyer and his precocious daughter.)

-

She was particularly upset by the book, A Kids Book About Racism, by Jelani Memory, published in 2019. In the book, Memory says he has a Black dad and a White mom, which makes him mixed -- "or African American, biracial, Black, or a person of color." This offended Fishbein. "There's no mention of the fact that his mother was White," she said. "The White option doesn't exist there. He can be Black, but he cannot be White." People gathered at a diner near Baltimore to listen to a panel held by local Republican groups. The legacy of America's "one-drop rule" has meant a biracial person with a Black ancestor is usually considered Black. Fishbein did not find this persuasive. She said, "But the fact that somebody defines you, doesn't make you what they define you.

-

A school district tried to address racism, a group of parents fought back Asked if she was afraid her children would be attacked by Black children, Fishbein said, "No, I didn't say by Black children." When asked who exactly she feared would attack her children, Fishbein said, "What happened in the summer, it twisted the minds of all kids, all kids. My kids can be attacked by antifa kids or BLM kids that are not Black. They're White like my kids. But they're believing -- they were indoctrinated. And they internalize this philosophy." Asked if her children had been beaten up by "antifa kids," Fishbein said, "It's going to happen if we are not going to stop it. But we are going to stop it."
 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Expert
1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

512

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  1stwarrior @1.1    3 weeks ago

original

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

But conservatives are using the phrase to mean any instruction about the role of race in America, past or present

Lie.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    3 weeks ago

Professor John McWhorter summed it up:

In other words, the issue here is not whether schoolkids should learn about racism. A certain kind of person loves to stand and breezily say that there are swarms of people out there who don't want kids to know about racism – and they say this with admirable oppositional poise but not a shred of evidence.

Rather, what most of us (as opposed to the Establishment in schools of education) think, and are correct about, is this:

1. Young children should not be taught if white to be guilty and if black to feel a) oppressed and b) wary of white kids around them (and if South Asian to be very, very confused …).

2. Young children should not be taught that the American story is mainly (note I write mainly rather than only, but mainly is just as awful here) one of oppression and racism. Not because it’s unpleasant and because sinister characters want to “hide” it, but because it’s dumb.

It is willfully blind to the complexity inherent to history, not to mention reality itself. Just as resonant a case could be made that America is founded on sexism, or classism – and the cases would be equally simplistic propaganda.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1    3 weeks ago
It is willfully blind to the complexity inherent to history

What kind of complexity is exhibited by a parent who claims that the Civil War ended racism?  Things like that are the reason we need teachers to be more honest. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

ind of complexity is exhibited by a parent who claims that the Civil War ended racism? 

I can spend the rest of my life, and a few lifetimes more, cataloging historically ignorant statements by random Americans. 50 years of progressive pedagogy has done untold damage. Do you think cherry picking a statement from some parent means anything?  I'll focus on criticizing historically ignorant statements in textbooks and award winning series that are being used to indoctrinate kids. That seems more relevant. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
random Americans.

There is no reason to think these "random Americans" don't represent millions and millions of American parents. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2.1.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.3    3 weeks ago
There is no reason to think these "random Americans" don't represent millions and millions of American parents. 

Got it. We can cherry pick any public statement by any random person and just claim it's represents millions and millions of others. 

Have you met many Democrats? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.5  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.4    3 weeks ago

A few years ago you used to try and make affirmative arguments. Now since Trump , all you do is whataboutism. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
2.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.5    3 weeks ago
Now since Trump , all you do is whataboutism. 

What do you want him to do? Promote Republican policy proposals? There have been none for decades. 

 
 
 
arkpdx
Masters Participates
2.1.7  arkpdx  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

There is no reason to think it does. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    3 weeks ago

Fox News' campaign against critical race theory  shows no signs of abetting, as the network mentioned it more than 100 different times in less than a day on Tuesday.

According to  The Daily Beast's Justin Baragona , Fox on Tuesday mentioned critical race theory a whopping 123 times on Tuesday as of 2 p.m. ET.

"Fox News is really going over the top with critical race theory outrage today, largely due to a teachers union saying it will push back against groups targeting teachers with anti-CRT rhetoric," Baragona comments.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
600,000 people died in the Civil War to end racism and slavery. Don't rewrite factual history or indoctrinate.

That is the comment of a white parent speaking out against "critical race theory" at a school board meeting .

If someone boards up their windows to keep a storm out of the house but a ton of water gets in anyway, you don't normally hear the person later say "I fixed the problem when I boarded up the windows." 

Unfortunately the 600,000 that died in the Civil War didnt bring about the end of racism, not even close. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3    3 weeks ago

Thats almost as crazy as the left wing cadre here who thinks Oklahoma made it illegal to teach about the Tulsa massacre.

better hope no news outlets get a hold of that thread and use it as an example of progressives understanding of education.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1    3 weeks ago
Thats almost as crazy as the left wing cadre here who thinks Oklahoma made it illegal to teach about the Tulsa massacre.

baptistnews.com   /article/is-it-now-illegal-to-mention-the-tulsa-race-massacre-in-the-classrooms-of-oklahoma/

Is it now illegal to mention the Tulsa Race Massacre in the classrooms of Oklahoma?

Alan Bean 8-10 minutes   6/1/2021


On June 1, 1921, the Greenwood district of Tulsa,   home to more than 10,000 Black residents, was intentionally destroyed by a white mob. An estimated 300 Black residents died; close to 1,000 were seriously injured.

Every home in the 30-block section of town was razed to the ground. A thriving business section was erased from the map. The newly constructed Mount Zion Baptist Church, the pride of the community, disappeared along with a dozen other places of worship.

Alan Bean

Twenty-five years later,   Nancy Feldman , a young social worker and teacher, moved to Tulsa. She never had heard of what is now called the Tulsa Race Massacre until she visited with Robert Fairchild, a recreation specialist who survived the incident. Horrified by Fairchild’s account, Feldman broached the subject with her freshman college students.

“No one in this all-white classroom   of both veterans, who were older, and standard 18-year-old freshmen, had ever heard of it,” Feldman says, “and some stoutly denied it and questioned my facts.”  When Feldman invited Fairchild to share his childhood memories with the class, the denial verged on open revolt. Students had asked their parents and grandparents about the massacre and were assured it never happened. Feldman was called to the dean’s office and instructed to drop the matter.

Which is why Carole Boston Weatherford, writing in 2021, calls her children’s book   Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre . It’s a quick read (this   YouTube reading   is just 11 minutes long) because the target audience is children from 8 to 12.

Floyd Cooper, the illustrator, grew up in Tulsa’s Black community. “Everything I knew about this tragedy came from Grandpa,” he says in a note at the end of the book. “Not a single teacher at school ever spoke of it.”

How   do   you speak the unspeakable   to an 8-year-old child? How does an artist portray realities this horrific for a young audience?

Weatherford and Cooper approach their subject with gentle restraint. They don’t address every ugly detail. There are no descriptions of bullets ripping through defenseless children, or of airplanes owned by the Sinclair Oil Co. dropping incendiary bombs on homes, businesses and churches. Nor is the story told from the perspective of a child screaming in horror as her parents die in agony and her world dissolves in flame.

Weatherford and Cooper focus on Greenwood, a community known as “Black Wall Street.” They want young readers to see how Black residents bravely defied Jim Crow laws designed to keep them weak and impoverished.

“Once upon a time on Black Wall Street,”   Weatherford tells her readers, “there were dozens of restaurants and grocery stores. There were furriers, a pool hall, a bus system, and an auto shop — nearly 200 businesses in all. There were also libraries, a hospital, a post office and a separate school system, where some say Black children got a better education than whites.”

Next, Weatherford and Cooper treat us to a whirlwind tour of Greenwood in her glory days. We see a proud mother and daughter standing in front of the newly constructed Mount Zion Baptist Church. The elegant home of A.C. Jackson, “the most able Black surgeon in the nation,” stands in the background.

“Only after Greenwood is presented as a cohesive community distinguished by its beauty, nobility and community pride is the demonic specter of white supremacy allowed to deface the portrait.”

Then we are introduced to Miss Mabel’s Little Rose Beauty Salon. “On Thursdays when maids who worked for white families got coiffed on their day off and strutted in style up and down Greenwood Avenue.”

Through word and picture,   we learn about the Stradford Hotel (“the largest Black-owned hotel in the nation”) and the 800-seat Dreamland Theater.

At this point we are 16 pages into a 30-page book, and the massacre hasn’t even been mentioned. Only after Greenwood is presented as a cohesive community distinguished by its beauty, nobility and community pride is the demonic specter of white supremacy allowed to deface the portrait. The spirit of this community, they suggest, fell victim to a carefully orchestrated lynching.

The title, “ Unspeakable,”   refers in part to the horror of Greenwood’s destruction. But Weatherford is also addressing the conspiracy of silence that has long obscured the truth.

In 2001, 80 years after the Greenwood massacre, the Oklahoma Legislature commissioned a study into this unspeakable chapter of state history. The “ most repugnant fact ” the 200-page report encountered “is that it was virtually forgotten.”

The facts were silenced to serve   “the dominant interests of the state.” For too long, the massacre was regarded as a “‘public relations nightmare’ that was ‘best to be forgotten, something to be swept well beneath history’s carpet’ for a community which attempted to attract new businesses and settlers.”

That silence has been broken. As the centennial of the Greenwood horror approached, a torrent of podcasts and documentaries appeared, and the tragedy has been featured in a variety of   made-for-television dramas .  BO’s   Watchmen   and   Lovecraft County   (both multi-episode series employing elements of “magical realism”) have used the Greenwood massacre as a dramatic backdrop. Aimed at adults, these entertainments highlight the most distressing details of the story.

At the other end of the entertainment spectrum, the   History Channel   has produced “ Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre ,” and CNN has given us “ Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street .” And if you think the rape of  Greenwood is a historical anomaly, there is Raoul Peck’s mind-numbing “ Exterminate all the Brutes ,” a five-part HBO series revealing the genocidal aspect of Western imperialism.

So, the unspeakable is finding a voice.   Given the carefully manicured telling of American history in the classrooms of America, it is unsurprising that this sudden roar of unsolicited information is creating shockwaves throughout conservative America.

“The bill also bans any form of communication that makes students experience ‘discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.’”

In 2001, the Oklahoma Legislature stipulated that the Tulsa race riot (as it was then called) should be incorporated into public school curriculum. Twenty years later, they have reversed themselves by passing  HB 1775 , which stipulates that public and charter school students must not learn that, by virtue of their race, they bear responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race.” The bill also bans any form of communication that makes students experience “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”

Is it now illegal to read   Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre   in the classrooms of Oklahoma?

No healthy student, regardless of race, can read this story without feeling “discomfort” or “anguish.” No white student can read   Unspeakable   without experiencing guilt and shame. If white children   don’t   conclude that they “bear responsibility for actions committed in the past” they have missed the point.

Will the elementary teachers of   Oklahoma have the courage to assign   Unspeakable   to their students, or to read the text aloud while children peruse illustrations of professionally attired Black families fleeing from white folks bent on genocide?

I hope so; but I doubt it. This material is incendiary because it is true. Like HB 1775,   Unspeakable   bristles with implications for the America of 2021. Who are we? How did we get this way?

Weatherford and Cooper have given us some clues. The Oklahoma Legislature is intent on shutting them up. Who will blink first? I’ll tell you one thing; It won’t be the author and illustrator of   Unspeakable . They’re just getting started.

Alan Bean  is executive director of  Friends of Justice , an alliance of community members that advocates for criminal justice reform. He lives in Arlington, Texas.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.1    3 weeks ago
ust not learn that, by virtue of their race, they bear responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race.” The bill also

LOL... It's illegal to make little white kids feel responsible for actions that occurred generations before they were born . Do you disagree with that?

It's idiotic to think this law  outlaws teaching about the massacre (which is mandated by statue).  How do you go from criticizing that parent to trying to defend this insanity?

But name the amount you want to bet that no teacher in Oklahoma gets convicted for teaching about the massacre in the next, say, two years. I'm not averse to free money. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1.2    3 weeks ago
The bill also bans any form of communication that makes students experience “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”

If a teacher in Tulsa teaches her 12 year old students that white people massacred hundreds of blacks, in their city,  for no reason other than that they were black, do you think that might cause "psychological distress" to a few or some of the 12 year old white kids? 

So, then the answer the parents seek is to not mention it at all. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1    3 weeks ago
Thats almost as crazy as the left wing cadre here who thinks Oklahoma made it illegal to teach about the Tulsa massacre. better hope no news outlets get a hold of that thread and use it as an example of progressives understanding of education.

I just posted an article that suggests that it is now illegal to teach about the Tulsa massacre in Oklahoma. Although the argument is somewhat indirect. 

Are you now going to apologize for your rant? 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3.1.5  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.4    3 weeks ago
Are you now going to apologize for your rant? 

I know, you know and the far left wing author of that article (some sort of minister with a blog)  knows its not illegal to teach about the Tulsa massacre. It's just red meat to keep the hysteria up among the hysterics. You know you have no case when you are resorting to the Baptist news for legal opinions.  The other person who tried to make this claim yesterday cited an actual mainstream source, which said exactly what I did. But there's always some leftist loon with a blog somewhere who's willing to argue the absurd for clicks. 

Again, I will bet whatever you want that no teacher is convicted for teaching the Tulsa massacre. As your "expert minister" noted and somehow glossed over , teaching the Tulsa Massacre is specifically REQUIRED by the State and specific language always trumps vague interpretations, especially when they are dishonest and pervert the English language. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1.5    3 weeks ago
Again, I will bet whatever you want that no teacher is convicted for teaching the Tulsa massacre.

Now we're down to "convicted", lol. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3.1.7  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.6    3 weeks ago

Okay John...What word do you want to use to denote someone found to have acted illegally?

That's the insane claim you are trying to defend, remember?  If what your Baptist Minister said is true, and you claim to believe it, teachers will be convicted for following their state required mandate to teach the Tulsa Massacre. Or are you now realizing how absurd your argument is? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.8  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1.7    3 weeks ago

There are all sorts of things that are illegal that are not prosecuted

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3.1.9  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.8    3 weeks ago

Well, that's one way to duck out  of an argument.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.10  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1.9    3 weeks ago

Your argument is tiresome. 

You made fun of a third person saying it is illegal to teach the Tulsa massacre in Oklahoma.  All I said when he said that was "wow". I didnt vouch for the story. But you went off on it so I looked up something about it. It turns out that the state of Oklahoma had to pass a law in the early 2000's to make it acceptable to teach it, so evidently for 80 years no one in Oklahoma was teaching about it. 

Now, in 2020 or 21, the state has decided that nothing that might cause psychological turmoil for students can be taught. I assume that a ten or eleven year old hearing that his ancestors may have massacred hundreds of blacks might upset one or two of them, so the illegality would kick in. Would the teachers be "convicted" ?  How the heck would I know? 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
3.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

Asked if her children had been beaten up by "antifa kids," Fishbein said, "It's going to happen if we are not going to stop it. But we are going to stop it."

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
5  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago
After watching Lewis's interview, his buddy, Sam Jones, the president of Towson College Republicans, wanted a go. "Critical race theory is the idea that's taught to our nation's youth that the way that you're born contributes to the amount of success that you can achieve in this country," Jones said. "Basically, it states that White people are born with everything. And if you're not White, you're born with nothing. And you have a strategic disadvantage in making money and gaining success here." Jones said he had not read any critical race theory books. He could not name any critical race theory scholars. He could not name any critical race theory concepts. Even so, "I think I've summarized critical race theory as a whole pretty well."

That pretty much says it all...He knows no book, nor scholars, nor concepts... but he thinks he summarizes pretty well...

That's common on NT: knowing nothing about a subject never prevents holding vehement opinions about it.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  Kavika     3 weeks ago

The truth is really scary to some.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
6.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @6    3 weeks ago

So scary that they can't even debate it Kavika...... Take 6JAN21 as another example.  Nope, conservatives aren't much on taking responsibility for anything are they,

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7  Ender    3 weeks ago

I don't watch cables news but decided this morning to see what several were saying.

CNN .. Talking with an officer that was attacked 6 Jan.

OAN .. (which I get for some reason) was praising looking under microscopes of ballots to prove donald won.

MSNBC .. Was interviewing some author of some book.

FOX .. Complaining about CRT and having on guests to tout its evils.

So, I am calling it on who is keeping this turkey alive.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ender @7    3 weeks ago

Have you ever seen the original True Grit ? There is a scene near the end where John Wayne needs to get somewhere real real quick. So he keeps whipping the horse he is riding to go faster. The horse starts gasping for breath, sweating and keels over and dies.   Fox News is John Wayne and complaints about critical race theory is the horse. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
7.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1    3 weeks ago

And the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Most parents nationwide are not going to tolerate this leftist indoctrination

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @7.1.1    3 weeks ago
Ij-oPqrZ_normal.jpg
Mike Pompeo
@mikepompeo
· Jul 5
If we teach that the founding of the United States of America was somehow flawed. It was corrupt. It was racist. That's really dangerous. It strikes at the very foundations of our country.
Bill Kristol
@BillKristol
·
2h
The Founders themselves thought—and said!—that their founding was in some ways flawed. They argued after 1789 as before. They worried, even agonized, about compromises they’d had to make facing circumstances they hadn’t chosen. The founders were serious people. Trumpists aren’t.
Quote Tweet
 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
7.2  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @7    3 weeks ago

You logic here is almost childlike in nature.   A biased media isn't going to report topics equally and the mass media is most definitely biased.

Case in point, Biden visited my neck of the woods this weekend, he stopped at a famous ice cream spot and was asked a simple question.   His answer was disjointed at best and completely incoherent at worst.   It was scary really.   How much do you think CNN and MSNBC reported that?   How much do you think they would have reported it had it been Trump who did the same thing.

You know that answer to that.   Everyone here does.   Few however will be intellectually honest enough to admit it out loud here on NT.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.2.1  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @7.2    3 weeks ago

So you admit what I said is true but call it childlike?

Whether or not you want to admit it, fox has been pushing this story hard. The fox readers always come back and almost say verbatim what they have heard.

If a simple observation is childish, maybe we need a lot more of it.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
7.2.2  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @7.2.1    3 weeks ago

Nah, your main observation is still obtuse.   Evidently your point is that Fox is the only one reporting on it and therefore keeping the story alive.   Which is true but only because the others you mention would never report it with such zeal because of their biases.  

That's the dull part of your logic.   Not that both side are clearly biased.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.2.3  Ender  replied to  Sparty On @7.2.2    3 weeks ago

So according to your logic, yes fox is keeping it alive but only because the other networks refuse to...

Uh huh.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
7.2.4  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ender @7.2.3    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
7.2.5  Sparty On  replied to  Ender @7.2.3    3 weeks ago

Okay, I guess i can't expect you to get it. but that's okay.  [deleted]

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
7.2.6  Sparty On  replied to  Bob Nelson @7.2.4    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
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