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What do you call the country founded on free speech that encourages introducing “opposing views” of the Holocaust, that passes a bill which prohibits diversity training in the workplace or that bans the use of words like “colorism” or “antiblackness” in school curriculum? U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.
Starting well before last week’s mayoral elections, critical race theory, or CRT, fell victim to the slippery language of Republican politicians. CRT is an intellectual movement aimed at the careful analysis of the systemic vestiges of race, a social construct, rather than the individual basis of divisive attitudes and discriminatory rhetoric. CRT is not teaching children that the blood of enslaved people pools at their growing feet. CRT does not champion the oppressed African American people. CRT is not the problem here. But don’t tell Sen. Ted Cruz, nor Rep. Steve Toth. You may be reprimanded, or worse, tweeted about.
Toth drafted House Bill 3979, also known as the “Texas Classroom Equality Act,” because “we don’t need to burden our kids with guilt for racial crimes they had nothing to do with. Our students are stressed enough already and don’t need one more reason to feel inadequate.”
Cruz, however, posits that “the federal government has no right to force a political agenda onto Americans, especially one that aims to tear down our institutions and divide us based on race.” A conversation with either of the two is a guaranteed L.
As of spring 2021, Republicans started playing the race card I didn’t know they had.
Twenty-eight states have expressed opposition to teaching critical race theory or speaking to the past and present climate of race in America within the K-12 environment. HB 3979, Texas’s “critical race theory” bill, requires teachers to present all perspectives on “widely debated and currently controversial issues” if they choose to address said topics; Alabama’s HB 11, Arizona’s HB 2898 and SB 1532, and Arkansas’ HB 1231 function similarly. Ask Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the aforementioned legislation is a necessary protective measure from “woke” villains. It extinguishes the inconceivable thought that a particular race and sex is superior to others. He scoffs at the notion that a certain race or sex, *cough* white men *cough* are “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.”
The kicker? Critical race theory isn’t taught in primary or secondary schooling. It’s reserved for the bright minds of higher learning. But here we are standing in the crossfire of blatant censorship shrouded by the shadow of patriotism. Nothing more patriotic than Senate Bill 3! A bill that regulates the type of texts housed in school libraries and demands teachers refrain from conveying any notion of right or wrong toward American atrocities? Wow.
Sticks and stones may break bones, but the truth can harm the fragile grounds upon which beneficiaries of the “we are all equal, both in God’s eyes and our founding documents” mentality have built their blissfully ignorant perception of America.
Apparently America isn’t so great when peering through the peepholes of the labor market — or the prison, healthcare and housing systems — as they pertain to Black people in America. CRT is the VR headset through which people can objectively observe the stains of oppression on the bright and blinding white floors of democracy and opportunity. And Republican lawmakers detest it. So much so that Cruz has compared CRT to “klansmen in white sheets,” claiming that each is every bit as racist as the other.
It’s reminiscent of 1950s segregationist ideology. The phrase, “extremists on both sides,” once alluded to the Ku Klux Klan and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP. Racism and equality … equivalent? That’s a new one for me. One would hope this kind of thinking died in the face of progress. But even if it did die, it has come back in the thoughts of Cruz — seems like the proper punishment for a fallacious justification for obscenities wreaking of white supremacy.
The jig is up, and we have all of the house bills restricting educators from giving students the hot tea on current and past race-based controversy to prove it.
Dilute the quality of information and pigeon-hole the means by which it is distributed and, boom, just like that, you have masses of young, misinformed and impressionable minds, susceptible to a misguided understanding regarding the history and true ideals residing at the core of this country. Beware: the next generation of American idealists like Toth and Cruz.
If it is indeed understood that critical race theory is dividing America based on race, then its adopters are simply being patriotic. That’s the idea, isn’t it?
Jordan Nixon is a psychology senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.