By Reginald Blount – The American education system was once the best in the world. But according to a Pew Research study in 2018, the United States ranks only mid-level in Math, Science, and Reading compared to other Industrialized Nations. These rankings also spell trouble for Black American students, who consistently lag far behind other ethnic groups.
The push for indoctrinating “Critical Race Theory” may do nothing more than exacerbate an already broken education system for black children at the secondary educational level. There are several aspects about CRT that should be discussed, but at a much higher educational level. It would be naive to think that racism was not at the core of our institutions in almost every aspect of American life. Racial policies limited blacks and other minority groups from open participation in education, business, military service, voting, and other areas of a free American society, simply because of their ethnicity. But the country has improved greatly over the last century. There are currently 57 black (non-Hispanic) members of congress, and 30 black mayors in large US Cities. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. Eric Holder and Lorretta Lynch were appointed Attorney Generals under the Obama administration. In 1989, Colin Powell was appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State under the Bush Administrations. America saw the appointment of two black members to the supreme court, Thurgood Marshall (deceased) and Clarence Thomas. In 2011, Alvin Brown was elected the first black Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. Nat Glover became Jacksonville’s first black Sheriff, serving from 1995 to 2003. The success of these black Americans and others in the field of science, business and entertainment provides a “who’s, who” list of black Americans who overcame obstacles despite the racial climate. Their accomplishments should provide positive road map to emulate. If this is case, then why are we implementing programs that basically tell black children they are permanently oppressed under white privilege.
As a student of the 70’s and 80’s, we were taught about slavery and its atrocities perpetuated by American policies. We also were taught the courageous acts of our civil rights leaders both black and white who fought to bring down racial segregation. Parents and schoolteachers consistently told us that we could succeed at anything we put our minds to. The late former President of Edward Waters College, Dr. Cecil Wayne Cone, would often quote, “Whatever the mind can conceive, and the heart truly believes, under God you can achieve”. The narratives of Critical Race Theory teach our children that blacks are oppressed, and that white people are basically superior and oppressors. This is a destructive path that will further divide Americans and permeate anger within our youth. Black children will suffer more because of an indoctrinated mindset that they are born into oppression and mental slavery, and that white children are born oppressors and privileged. This also causes conflict with bi-racial families. What is more disturbing is that the nation’s largest teacher’s union, the NEA, has openly declared war on parents who do not want CTR taught to children K-12. The union has even provided legal counsel and funding to help any organization that want to have CRT in taught in the classroom.
American history should be taught no matter where it leads, but not with the intent to divide and indoctrinate a generation to hate its neighbors because of our nation’s past. Our children should be given instruction in life skills, academics, character building, integrity, and advancing their critical thinking skills both socially and economically with the hope that it will lead to a successful and fulfilling life. One must ask, “what is the intent of CRT”. Is it for the sake of knowledge and history, or is it to level the social and economic playing field based on race? One fact is true of CRT; it has further divided the country and conflicts with President Biden’s commitment to bring together.
Reginald Blount is a Retired US Army Veteran, former City Council Candidate, Adjunct Professor, and Policy Analyst for National Frontline Jacksonville.