Sugar-coated history

Our legislators didn’t get the ‘doomed to repeat it’ memo

The Ku Klux craven attempt to make the concept of critical race theory a major legislative issue in the Indiana General Assembly makes one thing clear: we need to bring critical race theory into our public school curriculum.

We all know – or should know – that “CRT” is a high-level, philosophical, sociological and legal concept, right? It’s discussed in graduate schools, not public schools in Indiana or anywhere in the known universe.

But the fact that legislators are so enlisted in political warfare tells us that they’re servants of a party and not the people. Or that they’re so ignorant of history that they blissfully have no idea of, oh, the recent commemoration of Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, where 26 unarmed protesters were shot in a 1972 event over a conflict going back to the 16th century.

It would harm the self-esteem of our school children to understand that bad things have happened in the past and if not addressed will lead to continuing conflicts. Ignorance is good for our children. Really?

The PC aspect is part of the dark humor here.  Shouldn’t expose our little marshmallows to the truth.

It could be that these knights on white horses are just racists and Black Lives Don’t Matter is heavy-handed messaging, even for them.

History isn’t pretty. The conquest of the North American continent and the United States is rife with acts motivated by racial, religious and xenophobic beliefs.

Sure, Republican Sen. Scott Baldwin of Noblesville backtracked after national media jumped on his comments about directing schools to be impartial in discussing political ideologies such as Nazism. As if there were nice, impartial things we could say about the Nazis. They had good table manners?

Six million Jews put to death, including a million-and-a-half children. Could you give me an example of an impartial description of that, senator?

Let’s go to civil rights. Slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, redlining black families away from white neighborhoods? Injecting Black men with syphilis, as if they were lab rats, to study the effects of the disease?

Do you think this might explain some deep-seated racially based distrust? Do you think that even if YOU didn’t have anything to do with that, the undercurrent of historic resentment doesn’t resonate in communities of color, of which you have no familiarity or no desire to learn about?

Let’s also not forget that banning books is back on the cultural agenda. More out of touch than ever. Like there aren’t a million other ways young people can gain access to writings, artists and concepts that contribute to an educated mind.

How about the clincher – the story we were told, with criminal impartiality, of the Manifest Destiny, and how society embraced the concept. The United States would extend from sea to shining sea, because it was God’s will  … to kill indigenous people, steal their land, break treaties with them and force them into poverty and onto reservations.

That’s the part they didn’t say out loud. They didn’t have to. We had the Red Scare at the time, the fear du jour. And the messaging. We are the greatest country in the history of the world.

Problem is, you have to work at being Number One. Every day.

I recall when there was a course called Civics, and all high school freshmen had to take it, bookended with a government class in our senior years. In both cases, the curriculum was heavy on indoctrination about the evils of communism and socialism and the merits of our representative democracy and unbridled capitalism. Capitalism, which will always, logically, produce the best outcomes for everyone.

Arguments put forth by the Republican super-duper-majority that are pushing to tell teachers what they can and can’t teach are self-incriminating at best.

A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Tony Cook of Cicero says his legislation seeks to empower parents. “All measures in this bill are required to ensure that parents have the opportunity to be aware, in real time, of what and how material is being taught in their students’ classrooms,” the Associated Press quotes.

This conveniently avoids what has always been the most important component of K-12 education: parental involvement. Parents should always be engaging with their children about school, model good behavior, and be a part of their educational process. We don’t need to add the impossible mandate to post an entire year’s lesson plan or daily scrutiny by parents who are single issue activists, or invite civil suits against teachers who might suggest that Richard Nixon was indeed a crook.

Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis had a good comeback. “So what do we want our kids to do?” he asked. “We don’t want them to be woke. We want them to be asleep. That’s what this bill proposes – put our kids, and their minds, and their futures to sleep.”

Children – students – are not stupid. They have rampaging brain cells that can take in information, process it and form their own perspective. Now, as always, their point of view will be informed by their parents and their upbringing.

We don’t need legislators dictating curriculum in the public schools any more than we need these people to tell doctors how to perform heart surgery. Leave it to the professionals who have dedicated their lives to be objective and comprehensive educators.

What we have here is a made-up controversy to further the political ideology of divide-and-conquer. Gotta have an enemy to make people fearful, right? 🐝