Racism strikes fear in white America’s heart. As a result, Critical Race Theory has become the new “Willie Horton” of the far-right Republicans.
The Critical Race Theory has existed for 40 years. Still, since the Death of George Floyd and the reaction by White Americans, it has become a means to examine systematic racism. Willie Horton was a black convict serving life in prison and was on a prison furlough and escaped. Horton committed rape, armed robbery, and assault before being captured. His crimes were used in the 1988 election to attack the liberal Presidential candidate Governor Michael Dukakis by Republican Vice President Bush. Horton’s crimes were used as an example of Liberal ideals and racial justice and black men in society. Willie Horton’s image was used to strike fear in the hearts of white Americans in the T.V. campaign. His prison “mugshot” was splashed daily into White homes as unshaven, angry and black with his violent crimes listed behind his image. His families past of generations of poverty and lack of educational opportunity never told. Governor Dukakis lost in a landslide to Vice President Bush based on his view on criminal reform i.e. Willie Horton.
“The critical Race Theory and the 1619 project” in 2021 has become the new Willie Horton. The far-right and Trump followers have made Critical Race Theory an education that will make white children hate Americans’ history. In addition, the Far-right has claimed that Critical Race Theory is itself racist. But when asked “what is racism,” few white Americans are comfortable with or able to describe a situation of racism. Even conservative republicans who avoid acceptance of racism existing can only push back with “playing the race card.”
In America, racism is almost always defined as a social, political, and economic inequity. But it is rooted in a Psychosis that is a part of a “false Neuro Association.” For example, the beliefs that the enslavement of African people was acceptable to European whites. The Africans were determined to be inferior beings that could be bought and sold like any animal. Their treatment was reflected in slavery methods like “seasoning “ to remove the cultural history. The damage of slavery resulted in black American’s own negative and low self-image long after slavery. It manifested a “false Neuro Association” of self-hatred reflected even today in gun violence on American streets. This is true in the twenty-first century as much as in any period since 1619.
For the first time, the Critical Race Theory provides a historical means to explain for all Americans to understand why blacks and whites are generally living in two different worlds.
CRT provides insight into how slavery caused a pattern of self-hate. For decades, white Americans created a social division for all people of color based on the color of their skin or the texture of their hair. For example, in the early 1950’s black people often used hair products to change the surface of their hair to straighten it. So they could have the quality of whites hair (called good hair).
In contrast, “kinky” hair was seen as inferior. Dark black skin was ugly in the white world for both black and white Americans. Black people mentally subjected themselves to color ism for their self-esteem.
Frantz Fanon, author, and Psychiatrist wrote about the Psychopathology of enslaved people in the “book Black skins white masks” in 1952. where black people had no identity except the one white people assigned to them based on the level of their skin color in both white and black culture.
This is one of the most essential factors that CRT provides in understanding America and the results of slavery.
Black Americans with light-colored skin and straight hair were more desirable, intelligent, and attractive like actress Dorothy Dandridge was portrayed.
But Aunt Jamima or Uncle Ben serving white people was dark, passive, and intellectually slow. In the years before the civil rights movement of the 1960’s Black people and all people of color were, as Ralph Ellison wrote in his book “Invisible Man,” unseen in the white world with little value or impact on America. Still, the opposite was true, and history failed to record it the achievements of these Americans unless it appealed to white America and never taught it to their children.
Black people and people of color’s history was a part of the mindset that they were inferior and depended on Whites to show them how to live. Only whites were able to provide black equality. The riot in Tulsa Oklahoma’s Greenwood community was one of America’s most horrible racial attacks but was hidden for more than a century.
In Oklahoma the history of the attack was suppressed by the State government .Blacks lived in fear to even discuss Greenville and why whites needed to destroy Greenville was never taught in Tulsa or American schools to black or white children. Why?
It would have provided a measure of pride to black children and disdain for white children that America is not always the home of the brave. The violence against black people could have taught children what racism really can do to a community of people for generations.
Many in America claim that we are no longer a racist nation and point to achievements by President Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris. They were elected to America’s highest political positions in the government. However, these achievements have a history filled with racism to obtain this success. The “birther” claims against President Obama by Donald Trump and attacks on Kamala Harris today is current history and not that of the slave trade. Should we hide this from students today?
Americans still are uneasy with TV and films that have scenes of romance between blacks and whites, especially black men and white women. In fact, the movie industry banned miscegenation until 1960.
These are the issue that CRT calls systematic racism and is a part of American history hidden as a part of the intimacy between black and white people in America. But we are able to accept the extra-marital sexual relationships between black women slaves and their white masters. Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings a mixed race slave had a sexual relationship and he fathered her six children. But those who oppose CRT believe we must not allow this to be taught in America.
In 2020 the death of George Floyd caused a movement to occur that the murder of Emmett Till or even Martin Luther King could not inspire in the people in America. Instead, the murder of George Floyd revealed the image of the evil of racism in America. The murder by Derek Chauvin of George Floyd was an image visually of the sin woven into the America. George Floyd’s death forced many Americans that were white to question the systemic racist nature of the legal system. Many for the first time questioned why many of the people of color represented those unarmed killed by Police. Many asked the question if the life of black people was valued in America and if the rage they feared was justified.
Americans saw the face of centuries of injustice and wanted to expose the lies for their own sense of guilt. So white Americans marched in the streets in some cities like Fargo, North Dakota, where few blacks live, and protested “Black Lives Matter.”
To many white Americans, they have grown up with new hero’s who are not white, and they do have a sense of shame for the racism today. These Americans are willing to listen to the history of systemic racism and why the violence against blacks is caused by self-hatred and poverty. Unfortunately, the teaching of Critical Race Theory has become weaponized by the political right to increase the division racially in school systems.
Former President Donald Trump labeled CRT as “a sickness in America.” His followers on the far-right fight against any training or teaching depicting blacks and others of color as victims of racism and bigotry. Christopher Rufo of the Center on Wealth and Poverty has contended that CRT has become “weaponized” against the American people. The use of this training for diversity training teaches whites to be guilty of racism.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has introduced legislation to ban critical race theory training in the United States military. He claims that CRT teaches that America is a racist nation.
But he does not answer the question of why the U.S.military was segregated until Executive Order 9981 ended it in 1948 or why in 1967, the U.S.Army reported that blacks made up 25% of the deaths in Vietnam but were 13% of the U.S. population.
General Mark Milley, Head of The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military, has examined CRT for its content. He recently told The U.S.Congress “service members should be open-minded and widely read because they “come from the American people.”
CRT was portrayed by the Republicans as being “Marxist” because whites were viewed as oppressors and blacks as the oppressed. The first African American Air force chief of staff in U.S. history, Gen Charles “CQ” Brown, reflected in the racism he faced in the Air Force.
Following George Floyd’s death, General Brown sent a video of the systemic racism he faced. General Brown spoke about how often he was the only black person in his Squadron then questioned if he was a Pilot.
Tom Cotton and others would not want the experiences of the General taught in the Service Academies.
Tragically, the rise of “white Identity Politics” in America has become the primary target of the far-right. Its political leaders who have accepted President Trump’s “big Lie” have made CRT a threat to America.
The enemies of CRT have painted it as liberal socialist teaching geared to teach white children self-hatred. Instead of how the lives of people of color were connected to the nation.
The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) organization has emerged as a middle-of-the-road method of teaching the history of America and race. In their policy statement, they offer:
Our extensive network of participants — including teachers, scholars, students, and leaders from private and public sectors — represented viewpoint, professional, and demographic diversity.
We charged ourselves with grappling with, rather than avoiding, the complexities of the critical subjects under our care. Where we could, we found compromises; where arguments ran deep has emerged as a middle road group.
America is at a crossroads with race. Whatever method attempts to find a bridge between white America and people of color faces a difficult task. Those who have chosen to use race as a political weapon rather than the truth will continue until it is too costly.
Hanging in the balance is the relationship between the children of the future and CRT opponents who misunderstood that it will affect whites and blacks too.
But more importantly, white children will truthfully understand their relationship with children of color. It will give the child of color a source of pride in the strength that their people had to endure and thrive against racism in America.