I was reading an article recently on Williamson County (Tennessee) schools. Why? Because I lived there for 25 years (1988-2013), and I am going back there in a fortnight after a delightful eight-year sojourn in Charlotte, North Carolina.
When I read an article on Williamson County schools, I expect it to be positive and affirming. Three of the top rated public high schools in the U.S. are located in Williamson County. Williamson County has the highest per capita income of any Tennessee county. It is an affluent slice of Americana with little if any ethnic tension.
Just last week, while dining in a nice, but far from luxurious restaurant in Franklin (the county seat), I observed three ethnically diverse couples enjoying dinner at their respective tables. (One couple was a black male with a white female companion, the second couple was a black male with an Asian female companion, and the third couple was a white male with a black female companion.) No one else in the restaurant seemed to take any notice. The only reason I did was I had just read yet another disturbing article on Critical Race Theory (CRT).
The article in question is about the controversy CRT has stirred up in Williamson County. The article pointed out that if CRT was causing controversy in Williamson County, then no portion of America was immune from CRT’s societal poison—point well-taken.
Outraged parents discovered CRT being perpetrated on their children in elementary school (as early as second grade). One parent put a tragic human face on the damage being done to innocent children by having CRT foisted upon them at such a young age. A mother, an immigrant from Thailand, married to a Caucasian, read aloud from a letter she wrote to the Williams County School Superintendent detailing the tremendously disturbing emotional impact this curriculum had on their sever-year-old son who as a result now despises the “white” half of himself. She then elaborated, “The story of Dr. King and his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is beautiful and uplifting. This is the world my child lived in until now. He was color bind. But this curriculum has changed that. It is far more harmful than helpful. It depresses him. It is dark and divisive. It paints a world with only white and black people. It paints a picture of poor black people being attacked by evil white people.”
Telling second graders that all whites are oppressors and all blacks are victims is not a formula for positive outcomes, and it makes Dr. King’s dream of a society in which we are judged by the content of our character rather than our skin pigmentation, a more, rather than less, elusive goal. Just imagine, however, the cognitive dissonance it sets up in the minds of mixed-race children, of which there are inevitably increasing numbers given the tremendous degree of success Dr. King’s revolution has had on America.
I cannot begin to even imagine how it must feel to be told by your teacher that half your genetic code is evil and guilty. It is indeed a perpetual make-work program for child therapists across the land, trying to undo the emotional damage done by forcing such horrendous ideology on innocent children.
As I was recovering from the impact of the Tennessee mother’s testimony, I was hit with a second emotional missile in the testimony of a Virginia mother, another immigrant, this time from China.
Mrs. Xi Van Fleet, speaking at a Loudoun, Virginia school board meeting, pointed out that she recognized CRT. She had seen its results before in her youth in China during the Maoist “cultural revolution.” She told the school board members, “You are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history.”
Mrs.Van Fleet went on to say, “To me, and to a lot of Chinese, it is heartbreaking that we escaped communism and now we experience communism here. . . . The Communist regime used the same critical theory to divide people. . . . The only difference is they used class instead of race."
And, in a powerful illustration of Mrs. Van Fleet’s analogy to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, “a group of Loudoun County parents and teachers were accused of ‘racketeering’ and intimidating conservative parents who raised questions about the radical proposals. Members of the ‘Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County’ allegedly compiled a list of outspoken conservatives in their community in order to track, hack and ‘doxx’ them – or even scare them into self-censorship,” mimicking the tactics of Mao’s thugs in the 1970s.
Some people have observed that they believe “all politics is local.” That may or may not be so. However, when politics and public policy get down to the local level, and it doesn’t get much more local or personal than your children’s schools, then the rubber “hits the road.” Critical Race Theory has been simmering and percolating through the country’s universities and think tanks for a couple of decades. Now, the ideologues are seeking to implement this destructive and divisive philosophy on our nation’s children. Parents are justifiably horrified and are pushing back and pushing back hard. In the next few months, we will discover whether we really are still a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
More about that next week!
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.