Editor,

Letter writer Susan Brown used a classic straw man argument in her retort to my May 3 letter, voicing my opposition to the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) to our children.

Her letter argues that it is important to teach history, and the mistreatment of Blacks in the past. No one disagrees with that, and there was no mention of teaching history in my letter.

CRT teaches white kids that they are inherently oppressors and responsible for the abhorrent acts of others generations ago. It also claims that all nonwhite kids are victims of oppression. Very different than teaching history; and quite insidious in my opinion.

Tim Donnelly

Burlingame

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(7) comments

craigwiesner

I'm hopeful that this discussion will cause people to learn more about CRT. I just spent some time reading this article in Education Week which provided a lot of enlightenment. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-is-it-under-attack/2021/05 So here's a simple question: If a High School teacher shared a lesson about WWII and how the GI Bill helped returning soldiers go to college and buy homes, shouldn't that teacher also talk about the way black people were prevented from participating in those programs (redlining, covenants, and denials of loans) and how being blocked from those critical means of economic growth impacted generation after generation of black families? Discuss.

tdonnelly

You are offering another Straw Man argument. Teaching history, good, bad or ugly is the right thing to do. Teaching little kids that they are somehow responsible for that history or they are being victimized because of it is wrong. Every child today deserves the opportunity to self determination. None are responsible for the actions of others before them, or limited by them.

craigwiesner

When I was in Hebrew School as a very young child I was taught about the Holocaust. My father, an American soldier, was stationed at Dachau after the camp was liberated, guarding German officers on trial for war crimes. I learned about the horrible crimes committed by Germans and how too many people stood by and allowed 6 million people to be slaughtered. I was taught and I believe that 1. My people were victims of a terrible crime. 2. My generation was horribly wounded by those crimes and my parents and grandparents suffered trauma because of those crimes. 3. It is MY responsibility to do everything in my power to make sure that crimes like that don't happen again. You don't teach history simply so that people know the facts, the years, the names of incidents.... You teach history in the hopes of shaping thought for the coming generations, to make better decisions about the future, and, when possible, to undo past harms. NO ONE who is a good teacher tries to make children feel like they are responsible for the sins of their ancestors. Good teachers try to instill a sense of agency in children to let them know that they have the power and responsibility for what happens next. The black soldier who served next to my father in WWII was denied GI Bill benefits that my father received. I owe it to this generation of black Americans to do something about that.

craigwiesner

Just one more thing..... to say that today's child is NOT limited by the actions of others in the past is completely ridiculous. Where a child lives, the quality of food a child eats, the kind of community in which a child lives, the school to which a child goes, the opportunities available to that child based on all of those things and more, absolutely impact that child's options in life. Yes, we all love the stories of how someone living in abject poverty somehow becomes a billionaire, Horatio Alger, but you need only look at a demographic map of where people of color were forced to live for generations because of redlining and other intentionally racist policies and see that the outcomes for people living in those redlined, marginalized, underserved, overpoliced, and in many cases toxic neighborhoods are less optimal than predominantly white communities.

Terence Y

So Mr. Wiesner, you feel children are limited by the actions of others? But all of us hear stories of how someone living in poverty has become successful. Just as we've heard someone living in luxury is not successful. BTW, Kenny Xu has an article, printed yesterday, tracing CRT back to Harvard. Yes, the same Harvard being sued for discrimination against Asian-Americans. Keeping Asians’ futures limited by their race. Does CRT apply here, or are we only applying it to a certain demographic, which is actually a larger demographic than Asian-Americans?

Lou

Enough! Stop the whole movement of "Critical Race Theory" in education, business, government, etc............before this indoctrination completely cripples America, leaving it open to Marxism, totalitarianism, etc.as it is dismantled.

Terence Y

Mr. Donnelly - thanks for calling attention to the joke that is critical race theory. As you said in your Thought for the Day, I also wish critical thinking was being taught since that will serve them much more in the future than this critical race guilt trip gobbledygook.

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