The privilege of pushing against progress

When I returned to my hometown of Fort. Thomas, I promised my Hispanic husband that it was more progressive and more diverse than when I was young. I also sold him the fact that it was one of the best school districts in the state. But, as I attended a community meeting in the auditorium of our local high school and listened to my fellow community members make public statements on a proposed elective course on social equity, I was apprehensive. to be wrong.

Many of the comments on the microphone were in favor of teaching social equity. Some shared a personal story to illustrate why it was important to them. But those who spoke out against the course have each hammered the same soundbite that has echoed across the country as states seek to ban critical race theory from public education.

A woman at the microphone said angrily: “Critical race theory is the hateful, racist and intimidating indoctrination of our children.” She believed that “the primary mission” was “to teach students to hate each other, to hate their country and to hate each other.”

Education Week Magazine described Critical Race Theory a little differently: “CRT… emphasizes results, not just individuals’ own beliefs, and calls for those results to be examined and rectified. “

When you focus on the results and look at the data, it’s hard to deny things like systemic racism and white privilege, which go to the heart of the CRT’s decline, mostly on the part of the Tories.

Karen Gutierrez (right) and Beth Lutz of Fort.  Thomas waves a banner in the Highlands High School auditorium during the May 24, 2021 meeting to hear comments from the public on the proposed optional course on social equity.

Many critics want to delve into the history of European fairy tales that downplay the role of slavery and racism in the founding of our country. The United Daughters of Confederation was formed in 1894 to control the narrative of the Vanquished South. The group has erected many controversial Confederate statues in the process of being removed. They also worked to ensure that the textbooks would only teach the Southern orientation that the Civil War fought for “rights of the state” and that slaves were happy and well cared for for workers. .

Matt Bertasso, principal of Highland High School, said the social equity class at Fort. Thomas was deposed because, “He did not pass the neutrality test.” But our sanitized stories of America do not pass the test of neutrality either. Maybe our program should start with being honest.

“Critics cannot be satisfied because the criticisms of critical race theory are not made in good faith. It is part of a systematic effort to discredit and undermine anti-racism while generating and manipulating the anxiety and resentment of whites for political purposes, ”said Phillipe Copeland. , clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Boston University and assistant director of storytelling at the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.

Protesters gather outside the Kraft Administration Building at Springfield Public Schools on East St. Louis Street to protest the critical race theory taught in Springfield schools on Tuesday May.  18, 2021.

Another speaker at our town hall was concerned that a social equity course would put our student’s already fragile mental health at risk during a difficult time. Isn’t that the ultimate privilege? As black Americans struggle against the inequalities that arise from a Constitution that saw them as property, we fear that an honest examination of government systems will somehow damage the minds of children who have always had consideration for the Constitution of the United States.

Our students see what is happening in the world today. Thanks to smartphones, video evidence makes our country’s inequalities both accessible and undeniable. We cannot take them away from this truth. We should, however, foster their critical thinking skills through optional secondary school social equity education. It would only serve to help them navigate the world and hopefully make it a better place.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a member of the Editorial Board of Enquirer and Director of Media for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on social media @WriterBonnie or email her at [email protected]

New Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board member Bonnie Jean Feldkamp poses in the Enquirer Studio in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

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