Black history Is American history
Yes, I'm aware that some might discount (or even try to cancel these days) my opinions on CRT since I'm a white, straight male and lean towards the independent side politically. But, perhaps, for those very reasons, I might be able to provide a unique perspective that--if I may be so bold--some of my Black friends and associates would agree with.
Let me state at the outset: I think it's a travesty of American education to have left out so much factual information dealing with the Black experience in this country, both the good and the bad. For that reason (and, as you'll see, I think for that reason alone) the debate that has come about from the emergence of CRT concerning historical oversight is a good thing.
But CRT is an ideology--and it's being peddled as Black history, which is a classical strawman. And, I believe, it is a false, derogative and divisive ideology at that.
Moreover, from what I ascertain as a longtime amateur philosopher, CRT has its roots in Marxism, in the 20th Century German philosophers who comprised the Frankfurt School, and from counterculture hero, philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who taught college classes for years in San Diego.
In other words, CRT is mainly the product of white, European leftist thinkers and philosophers. Ironic, isn't it?
The study of ideologies should only (seriously and conscientiously) take place in a university setting. It is there where--supposedly--debate is encouraged while different ways of thinking are explored and examined critically by more mature, nuanced minds. CRT, however, seeks to become an institutionalized and required part of curricula, even for grade school students, and to be inserted into every subject, even those like mathematics.
Along with the more original controversial statements from Black Lives Matter (many of which have since been removed from the group's official website) CRT seeks to actively judge people by the color of their skin (contra Dr. Martin Luther King's famous and beautiful exhortation) as well as be the jury to provide a "guilty" verdict to the white race.
Founders of BLM have gone on record as calling themselves "trained Marxists," as the group's co-founders, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza made clear, doing so before removing a page from their website which stated, "We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and 'villages'..." What? No wonder that nonsense was taken out.
Some of the closest knit groups of people I've ever known in my life have been extended Black families--generations who gather frequently and take care of each other and love one another deeply. Especially here in Mississippi where I live. Is that "Western-prescribed?" Such rhetoric is total nonsense--unless you're a follower of Marx, Derrida, Foucault, Marcuse or any other of those white, leftist philosophers.
Some advocates of CRT even deny the very existence of an objective reality, referring to that "concept" also as a "Western" or "white" construct. And this from the far left, whose advocates always claim to be champions of science. There is no science without an objective reality. I'm not a philosopher who specialized in epistemology but I at least know that much--and so do you. It's common sense. Would you want a surgeon to operate on you or hire a mechanic to work on your car--whether you're Black, white or whatever--who thought objective reality was a racist myth? Neither would I.
Plus, when you deny objective reality, you're caught in a trap: how can your statement of supposed fact be true if you maintain objective truth doesn't exist? You can't. Facts are not possible unless an objective reality is there to reflect, confirm and enforce them.
I wholeheartedly support more Black history in our schools and textbooks. I think the teaching of such is long overdue and necessary because it's also American history. I do not, however, support Marxism and anti-West inflammatory rhetoric to be required in our elementary schools. Marx should certainly be studied by older students, yes: he was, and is, a major historical figure.
But go ask any admirer of Economics Nobel Prize winner and free market advocate, F.A. Hayek, or novelist/philosopher and famous capitalist/individualist/realist, Ayn Rand, (whose seminal novel, "Atlas Shrugged," was ranked second only to the Holy Bible as the second most influential book to Americans in a poll commissioned in 1992 by the Library of Congress) if those thinkers are being taught in colleges or universities.
Conservative and libertarian thinkers have a legitimate gripe about being left out of academic curricula in spite of the influence and legitimacy of their thought. And now we're trying to pass legislation to mandate that a Marxist-inspired, extremely divisive philosophy be required in schools?
The contribution of Black Americans to our history--in spite of incredible and, too often, shameful and oftentimes deadly odds--is immense. Forget the theories and "-isms" and teach the facts about heroes like this small sampling of Black leaders and innovators:
*Robert Smith, a self-made billionaire today, earning his fortune as the founder of Vista Equity Partners in 2000. With his private equity shop, he fixes up enterprise software and technology outfits in Silicon Valley, including Websense (now Forcepoint), Applied Systems, and Mediaocean. His business acumen has made him one of the richest men in America.
*Madam C. J. Walker, the first American woman to achieve millionaire status. After suffering from hair loss, she developed a line of products specifically for black women in 1905. She traveled the country giving lectures and demonstrations with her products. By 1908, she opened her first factory and raked in millions in profits.
*In July 2009, Ursula Burns made history by becoming the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She started as a summer intern with Xerox in 1980 and worked her way to the top. Shortly thereafter, she made the largest acquisition in the company’s history with the purchase of Applied Computer Sciences.
*Annie Malone developed a method for straightening hair without damaging the hair or scalp. She had assistants who helped her sell products door to door. Once her Poro Method got off the ground and gained popularity, she founded Poro College, the first educational institution to focus on black cosmetology.
*Clara Brown, a freed slave who saw opportunity during the Gold Rush. She moved west in search of her family and started a laundry business to earn money. Her success earned her enough to invest in real estate and gold mines. She spread her good fortune to those in need and helped other freed slaves get back on their feet.
*And more recently, Kenneth Frazier, who in 2010 became the first African-American CEO of a pharmaceutical company. He refused to cut research and development spending like other drug companies did. This unpopular move led to the company’s first dividend increase in several years.
*Plus, Google this man: In 1839, Robert Smalls was born a slave in Beaufort, South Carolina. His “owner,” Henry McKee, hardly noticed; after all, it took years for a slave to become “useful.” Little did McKee know that Smalls would go on to become one of the greatest heroes of the Civil War--and to play an important role in rebuilding America afterward. It's an amazing story that I myself only just learned about.
Not to mention the entire history of the Mississippi Delta city of Mound Bayou, which all schoolchildren across our nation need to hear.
I could go on and on. I am inspired by these great Americans and many others like them. Instead of Critical Race Theory we should teach such individual accomplishments as the ones listed above as part of this nation's full history, including our Black brothers and sisters, as they rightfully should be taught. We are all humans. We, in this country, are fellow American.
Let us resist the philosophies that try to divide us and focus instead on righting past wrongs by addressing the good, successful and inspiring in all of us. Maybe then we call all move forward.