It was only a matter of time.
When it became obvious that the country was finally starting to face up to its racist past, it was only a matter of time before white, right-wing, elected officials — in other words, Republicans — decided that Something Has To Be Done To Stop This Before It Goes Too Far.
And like many such propaganda campaigns of the past, this one needed a good straw man as an enemy to rile up their right-wing base.
Enter – “Critical Race Theory.” The perfect thing for talking points, rants on Fox News, and of course simple-minded legislation. And Kentucky Repubs were eager to jump on the bandwagon and demonstrate their bona fides when it came to keeping everyone else from talking about race and racism.
We now have multiple bills (here and here) pre-filed for the 2022 General Assembly that prohibit not only the teaching of CRT in schools, but also the discussion of systemic racism. The bills say that the curriculum cannot even include discussion of such concepts as systemic racism or white privilege.
Oh, and if you DO talk about those things in your classroom, and the state government finds out about it? The Attorney General can order the state Education Commissioner to withhold funds from your school district.
Let’s be clear: There are parts (not all) of the formal discipline of CRT that I find concerning, and a healthy discussion of the subject would be a good thing.
But these bills are not coming from a place of “healthy discussion.” In fact, these bills forbid discussion of any kind about the “original sin” of the United States.
And for white legislators to tell teachers and students that they cannot even discuss racism is a major example of white supremacy run amok. Not to mention a really good example of irony (which I’m sure the white sponsors of the bills aren’t even aware of).
Let’s hope our legislative leaders have both more awareness of their own white privilege, and of their responsibility to ALL the citizens of the state, and not just the pale ones.