You read that right! For some opponents of Critical Race Theory, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is their spokesman. Last night during public comments at the Fort Worth ISD school board meeting, it was MLK Day, in June. According to Britannica, Critical Race Theory, known by the acronym CRT is an intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour.
In other words, CRT is the explanation of racism. What you heard at the school board meeting was a bunch of people who know it “ain’t gone be no fun when the rabbit gets the gun!” For years, Fort Worth along with other school districts and systems have taught, omitted history, and legally subjugated students through systemic racism and suddenly, these people are concerned about the curriculum?!? I’m not buying it.
The use of Dr. King’s quotes isn’t only disingenuous, it’s misinformed and weaponized misinformation. During his 2018 speech at a Dallas banquet, Dr. William J. Barber III said of Dr. King, “…be careful how you remember Dr. King. If you remember him improperly, you contribute to the demise of his legacy. He was not a human relations specialist, he wasn’t trying to get everybody to sing “Kum-By-Yah”. He never talked about love without talking about justice. He believed in nonviolence, but he didn’t believe in non-action!”
My son was told by a classmate in the first grade that because he was white, he was better than him. Where did that come from? It came from somewhere besides the classroom because my son’s first-grade teacher was a black woman. Our children for years have taken lessons learned at home to school and is the reason kids still say their grace at the breakfast and lunch tables and come to Kindergarten with a great grasp of the alphabet, their numbers, and acceptable social skills. What our children learn away from school factors into their lifelong learning experience so, whether CRT becomes a classroom curriculum or not, we cannot equivocate when allowed to face a difficult past in resolve for a better future.
Instead of using my father to criticize the #BlackLivesMatter movement, use his words and teachings to enact legislation, establish policies, and engage in practices that reflect Black lives mattering.The Reverend Bernice A. King 1/17/2021
Because, as #MLK said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
Think about it, when did you learn about the “hidden figures” that helped put a man on the moon? You did have to learn what he said once he stepped foot on the moon though, didn’t you? What about the Tulsa Race Massacre? When did you learn about that? Sadly, many Americans only learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre and Black Wall Street at the centennial commemoration of the tragedy. The writing is on the wall, though illegibly, insists that the CIA had a role in the crack epidemic that exploded in South Central Los Angeles.
What about the MOVE Bombing in Philadelphia in 1985? These events are not common knowledge for a reason and though a CRT curriculum in schools may not name these events, it may better explain why they happened. Parents concerned that racism will be indoctrinated aren’t only colorblind as they claim, they are also tone-deaf. Racism is experienced in classrooms across the country by children as young as elementary school. Don’t believe me?
Critical Race Theory is the explanation of racism.
This is the latest in a long line of deflections by this group whose membership ebbs and flows with sociopolitical commentary. These are the same people who kept the school board up all night because they didn’t want to wear masks in schools. This is a comedic tragedy. When Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem, they claimed he was disrespecting the flag. When President Barack Obama wanted healthcare for all Americans, they coined it “Obamacare” and openly campaigned against it. When Critical Race Theory became a part of the conversation, these same people armed themselves with MLK quotes and grabbed their picket signs.
This disingenuous outrage isn’t only a deflection, it’s the projection of racism. Opponents of CRT don’t want children exposed to it because it will then make sense of why confederate flags are a part of southern heritage, why the local pastor may also be the leader of the Ku Klux Klan. CRT is not the end-all to racial reconciliation, but it shines the light on the truth many still try to hide behind. In fact, the concept of race predates the foundation of the United States as well as the practice of chattel slavery and the African backs upon which the prosperity of this country was gained.
Where were these people when Texas World Geography school textbooks listed slaves as “workers in the section covering immigration?” Where was this outrage? I’m not making a case for CRT. As many of the objectors pointed out, our schools need better focus on academics and raising the achievement level of students across the board. However, what CRT will expose is how many of these underperforming schools and students got this way. It will expose the disparities between communities, and the money they receive each year. It will explain why schools in black communities remain underfunded. It will explain much of what we know about life in America, though it can’t create the resolution that remains so far away.