CRT – Critical Race Truth | Richmond Free Press
As Black History Month 2022 draws to a close, we once again draw our readers’ attention to the growing national attacks on teaching and learning about America’s past and the racist policies and practices that brought our city, state and nation to where they are today – with gaps in education, health, wealth, employment, homeownership and justice disproportionately impacting on black people and people of color.
Without a clear knowledge and understanding of what happened in the past, we cannot adequately respond to the issues we face today or take the critical actions needed to put our communities on a better path.
But according to an analysis by Education Week, since January 2021, 14 Republican-led states have imposed bans or restrictions on teaching about race or racial issues. Virginia, under new GOP Governor Glenn A. Youngkin, is one of them. The others are Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho.
Another 23 states have pending legislation that they, too, claim to protect students from “critical race theory indoctrination” or lessons that they say will make white children uncomfortable.
The result has been book bans, teacher bullying, and a blanket of open and honest dialogue in classrooms that leads to real learning and critical thinking.
What many white people fear is the critical truth about race, or the historical facts that show how race has shaped – or distorted – today’s laws and practices.
Governor Youngkin and conservative forces in Virginia seem determined to erase the truth from Virginia’s public schools through an executive order and by creating a tip line to report and punish teachers for talking about what someone considers to be a “concept of division”.
But just like during slavery, when many Southern states banned teaching slaves to read or write, nothing will stop history, learning, or truth from rising. Across the country, people are dedicated to freely sharing resources to elevate the knowledge of anyone who wants to learn and help illuminate the way forward.
One organization, Literacy Partners, is hosting a free two-day virtual reading of ‘The Bluest Eye’, a novel by the late Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison that has recently come under fire from conservatives as a book to be banned. It is based, in part, on a conversation Ms Morrison had with a childhood friend. The first day of reading took place on Wednesday, February 23. The second part of the reading will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 and will feature readers such as Angela Davis, Edwidge Danticat, Kimberlé Crenshaw and Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can register at https://events.literacypartners.org/bluesteye/
Individuals and organizations have also been circulating lists of books for people of all ages on black history that will help the truth seep among people.
Below we offer our own list.
And we invite you to share your recommendations with Free Press readers by posting them on our social media sites or by writing in the comments section below this editorial on our website at www.richmondfreepress.com.
As former President John F. Kennedy said, “The purpose of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
List of books
• “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
• “Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story” by Ruby Bridges
• “The Hate You Give” by Angie Thomas
• “Stamped: racism, anti-racism and you” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
• “An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America” by Henry Wiencek
• “Malcolm and I: A Novel” by Robin Farmer
• “Of mules and men” by Zora Neale Hurston
• “The autobiography of Malcolm X” told to Alex Haley
• “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
• “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of the Great American Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson
• “Faces Down the Well” by Derrick Bell