Teaching Critical Race Theory

As irate parents and taxpayers turn up in large numbers at school board meetings across the nation to express their opposition to Critical Race Theory (CRT), school districts are backpedaling as fast as they can, claiming “we don’t teach Critical Race Theory in our district.”  Although districts are not teaching classes titled “Critical Race Theory,” they are incorporating CRT ideology into programming and curricula, and hiring people whose job is to insert CRT into every aspect of school life.

The following is one example of how CRT principles and practices are being supported by Pennsylvania’s Downingtown Area School District (DASD), where earlier this year the board hired a Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Justin LaKyle Brown, who wrote a book, Ugh! Not Another Diversity Book in which he misrepresents the history of Thanksgiving to portray all early European immigrants as bad. Please note, the disparagement of people based on their skin color (white), and ethnic background (European), is a key aspect of CRT ideology.

At DASD public meetings, the Board does not allow community members to make comments about DASD employees. Speakers are silenced when they attempt to provide personal experiences and observations of how CRT ideology is being implemented -- as was this woman and this woman -- making it very difficult to reveal the CRT/DEI agenda. Therefore, it is vital for DASD residents to communicate beyond the bounds of school board meetings to the broader public. 

In Ugh! Not Another Diversity Book Brown plays fast and loose with history to promote an anti-white narrative about the origins of Thanksgiving. To elucidate both what Brown is doing and what the DASD Board considers acceptable scholarship for a member of the “Senior Leadership Team,” it is helpful to look first at the historical record. The passage below is one of the only two existing firsthand accounts of the first Thanksgiving in America, written in 1621 by Edward Winslow.

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after have a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others.  And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us…

Edward Winslow goes on to write more about what he perceives as the mutually respectful and supportive relationship between the English settlers and the Wampanoag Tribe. While we do not have a contemporaneous account by a Wampanoag, the historical record supports that the two peoples coexisted peacefully for 55 years until King Philip’s War in 1675.

Contrast the above with the account of the first Thanksgiving written by Brown in his book --

For example, you would be surprised at the amount of schools that I travel to where individuals still think that Thanksgiving happened the way that they were taught in school. Yeah that’s right. There are a lot of people who think that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and landed in what is today the United States. We all know, historically, he found this land by accident and that he and his people couldn’t survive here. The indigenous people, who already thrived here, helped them cultivate the land and they all had a giant feast for Thanksgiving. That’s what a lot of students still perceive to be true. It’s not in their mind that these individuals stole that land, raped, murdered, and pillaged entire villages just to declare them their own. We even sing songs about them. And didn’t you know, celebrating Columbus Day means you could get 30% off your mattress!

With this short passage, Brown subverts accuracy and presents his opinion as fact -- both of which are common practices employed in forwarding the Critical Race Theory agenda. It is doubtful any school in America has ever taught that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by Columbus and his sailors with the indigenous people of the Caribbean, yet Brown claims he has traveled to such schools. He does not acknowledge that the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag was, at the very least, respectful, and he conflates the activities of Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer sent by Spain to find an alternate route to India, but made land in what we now call the Bahamas in 1492, with the activities of the Pilgrims, a group of English people who came to America seeking religious freedom in 1620 -- 128 years after Columbus’s voyage and 1,231 miles north of where Columbus landed. 

This conflation indicates Brown 1) has an alarmingly inaccurate understanding of this history, or 2) is purposefully misrepresenting historical events to support a distorted view of history and his preferred narrative that all European immigrants to America behaved with violence toward the indigenous people. For whichever reason, he flippantly spouts misinformation. This is problematic because the DASD school board has placed Brown in a position where he will be involved with making decisions about curriculum, an area where all materials must be as factually and historically accurate as possible.

Some DASD board members are active supporters of CRT and thus choose to accept inaccurate history. Other DASD board members do not appear to support CRT, but also do not appear to have read Brown’s book prior to hiring him, or if they did, it was not a critical reading. One suspects they were simply happy to hire a candidate they could point to as having written a book. Unfortunately, this situation is not unique to the DASD -- similar scenarios are unfolding in school districts across the country where boards are rushing to hire DEI directors without fully examining the candidates’ principles or credentials, and pushing through new programming, curricula, and policies without realizing they are endorsing an American version of Marxism designed to, once again, divide the country along racial lines. 

Fortunately, people of all cultural backgrounds, races, and political affiliations are becoming aware of the malfeasance being committed by these supposed public servants. Americans are standing up to tell school boards that CRT ideology is not what they want for their children or the future of our nation. This November these same people will be voting.

Image: Ted Eytan

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