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Turning CRT toxic

To the editor:

Critical Race Theory has been a topic in colleges, mostly law schools, for decades and not a part of K-12 education. However, it is the latest example of conservatives redefining and weaponizing a term for political advantage. Christopher Rufo, the point man behind the conservative obsession with CRT, explained how they are “steadily driving up negative perceptions” and how “we will eventually turn it toxic.” He said, “The goal is to have the public see something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think CRT. We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constrictions that are unpopular with Americans.” In other words, they lie about it for their political benefit.

For example, Marjorie Taylor-Greene publicly accused the National Children’s Museum of practicing Critical Race Theory and called for the museum to be defunded and evicted. She defined CRT as “talking about race, the impact of racism on a child and adolescence’s health, and talking to children about racial bias.” People listening to her on Steve Bannon’s program went to work. They crashed the museum website and made harassing calls to the director, whose private number was made public by Greene.

What Greene called CRT were six entries about race on a long list of resources for parents. Six links parents are free to use or to ignore. “Teaching Your Children About Black History Month” from PBS. A list of children’s books about race from the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. A list of Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners. “Talking About Race” from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Talking to Children About Racial Bias” and “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health” from the American Academy of Pediatrics. So talking about race is objectionable, even in your own home, because talking about race is CRT? That is a lie. They are trying to censor history and further divide us for political gain.

In one Tennessee school district parents objected to the book “Ruby Bridges Goes to School,” calling it CRT because their kids would feel bad about the angry white adults. God forbid their children learn about a true event in history and perhaps feel some empathy for Ruby? Should their children feel good about the actions of those adults? The parents also objected to teachers using the words segregation, protest, inequality, and injustice. That would cancel a lot of history.

Christopher Rufo and conservatives certainly have turned CRT toxic, redefining it to mean whatever is unpopular with Americans — at least with those opposed to any mention of race and the difficult truths of our history regarding race. There is so much to be proud of in our history! We don’t need to be afraid of any of it. We do need to know and understand all of it.

Patricia Missling

Springfield

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