“At this OK BOE meeting, all of the speakers who criticized critical race theory and lobbied to enforce penalties for teachers appeared to be white women.” Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah tweeted Monday. “The only speaker defending the teaching of history was a black student.”
* almost all women
– Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) July 12, 2021
He thanked the board for the opportunity to speak, introduced himself, and launched into the kind of speech in support of African American history instruction in schools that he wishes more adults were able to really listen to. These were his words:
“May I ask what critical race theory is to you? I feel like we should be able to discuss critical issues in history no matter how ugly they may be and teach kids how to handle difficult conversations. If we’re going to move on or rise to the success and togetherness, wouldn’t you like to teach our dark stories so that we don’t repeat those mistakes and really heal ourselves as a country?
When we talk about the Holocaust, no one points to the German boy telling him that he is a bad person because of Hitler’s actions. So why is that an excuse for slavery? No one is telling children that they are bad people like Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were.
Thomas Jefferson once said: “Educate and inform the popular masses.” They are our “only sure trust for the preservation of our freedom.” We can all agree that he was a very polite man. Thomas Jefferson also said, of which we never spoke: ‘Therefore, I presented it as a suspicion only, that blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or distinguished by time or circumstance, are inferior to whites in endowments of body and mind, ‘but still we do not speak about what.
As a black woman in America, I can suddenly remember my first experience of racism. I was 8 years old, but it seems that no one really cares about my experience, but rather cares about other people’s experiences except my own. Everyone else’s experiences are important except my life. Why is my life political? I am a human being like everyone else in this room right now, but my life, BLM, is not something to be considered political. Why do I have the right to live my life as a black woman in the United States, viewed as a political game? I am a human being and I just want to be seen as a human being. And we should teach all children that no matter what you look like, at the end of the day you are still a human being.
However, we must also teach the truth. What kind of history are we teaching if we are not teaching the real truth?
Are we arguing about erasing history or are we going to teach history and get it right? I say we teach it well. If history is the real problem here, if we teach history correctly, there would be no need to ban critical theory of race when it has nothing to do with history.
Native American voices are not heard because we are still in their land. Latino / Hispanic communities are never served. Black voices have never been heard, but here we are still trying. Are we going to forget the fact that Thomas Jefferson and all of our founding fathers were slave owners? Are we just going to forget that we have statues of Confederate souvenirs all over the United States?
We won’t have these problems if we teach the people, if we teach our people, the American people, the true story. (…) I think a survey was conducted in 2018. Only 8% of US high school seniors surveyed can identify slavery as the root cause of the Civil War. Two-thirds of the high school students understood that the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, which it did not, and was ratified after Lincoln’s death. Racism is a system and it must be taught to dismantle that system and racism. “
Watch the public comment portion on the new rule at 56:36 and the student speech at 1:21:34:
She asks why her life is political (note that she is black). She asks why the right to live her life as a black woman was politicized in the United States. She thinks critical race theory is important for teaching the real truth about history in schools.
– Nicole McAfee (she / them) (@ mcafee2012) July 12, 2021
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