Letter to the editor: history should include all perspectives

Published 11:30 pm Thursday, September 29, 2022

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To the editor:

Two soon-to-be members of the Davie Board of Education are giving a possibly twisted, distorted view of the latest boogey man theory to raise concerns over teaching.

On Sept 20, Mr. Joe Caudle and Ms. Marie Helms gave an explanation (their explanation) of how divisive Marxist propaganda is being taught in Davie County Schools.

While the movement is not exactly fake, it’s not exactly real, either. Conservatives who argue that this is just a grassroots groundswell are ignoring the deliberate moves made to ramp up this controversy, most notably by Christopher Rufo who stumbled upon CRT and created a movement that came, in his own words, “from nothing,” and then months later proudly declared, in an oft-quoted tweet: “We have successfully frozen their brand – ‘critical race theory’ – into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”

Recently we have seen on repeat in the media and in communities across the country a swell of concern over the concept of critical race theory (CRT). The divisive rhetoric surrounding this topic has led to heated debate, often based on myths and misinformation.

First, it’s important to understand what CRT is, and isn’t, which is nicely outlined by the editors of Middle School Journal in their piece, “Is it really about Critical Race Theory?” I recommend you review that piece first. And now, let’s put a few community concerns about anti-racist education to rest.

Busting Myth 1: No, it doesn’t teach children or adults to hate America or be less patriotic.

In fact, it does quite the opposite by pointing to the mechanisms we’ve built into our growing democracy to ensure we are respectful of all people in pursuit of the ultimate objective of achieving equity. Anti-racist education asks us to end the promotion of a simplistic American history devoid of diverse perspectives and, instead, to teach history in its full reality, complex and as imperfect as it has been, legitimatizing and including the experience of all its peoples.

Its proponents ask us to step up to the promise of our founding documents, making good on each one. It’s a lens to see our journey as a nation so far and observe when we have not operated up to our ideals. As James Baldwin declared, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

Time to tame this madness and put those who promote this nonsense in their place.

David Carroll (Member, Davie Board of Education)