By Isa Cox | Western Journal
Georgia's state board of education last week adopted a resolution stating critical race theory has no place in the state's public education system. (Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock)
The Georgia Board of Education last week adopted a resolution that firmly establishes that neither the State of Georgia nor the United States of America is inherently racist and that teachers ought not to peddle this nonsense to their young charges (in so many words).
While the resolution does not explicitly mention the words “critical race theory ” — the ideology that makes the assertions that our system is inextricably linked to racism and which conveniently dismisses any dissenting views as further evidence of racism — it is clearly a response to the growing prominence of this radical notion in public and private schools alike across the nation.
This comes after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp urged the board last month to take “immediate steps to ensure that critical race theory and its dangerous ideology do not take root in our state standards and curriculum” as the ideology is being challenged in public schools around the state, including Atlanta Public Schools, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Of course, critics of the resolution and the two board members who dissented in the 11-2 vote, who are both black, claim it will discourage discussions on racism and our nation’s legacy of slavery in the classroom.
The Journal-Constitution noted that the resolution’s language came in large part from a model resolution called “The Partisanship Out of Civics Act,” a model for state legislation that was crafted by a senior fellow from the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center and addresses common objections to critical race theory from conservative entities such as the Heritage Foundation.
The resolution asserts that “all public educational systems of the State of Georgia operate on the principle that all teachers, administrators, other employees, and students in the respective educational system are, and are to be treated as, individuals endowed with equal inalienable rights, without respect to race or sex.”
It goes on to state that “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex violate the premises of individual rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit underpinning our constitutional republic, and therefore have no place in training for teachers, administrators, or other employees” of Georgia’s public school system. (Emphasis added.)
That’s a blunt truth about discussions of race in the United States. And it’s a fundamental truth about the country’s education.
While critical race theory arguably began to gain its current level of attention with The New York Times’ 1619 Project in 2019, last year’s George Floyd protests and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement have also brought it to the center of the culture war.
Everyone from celebrities to athletes to politicians has been weighing in and both proponents and critics of the radical ideology have been growing louder by the day.
Naturally, the Journal-Constitution was sure to highlight objections to the Board of Education’s resolution, noting that supporters view it as “eliminating a broad-brush treatment of people based on skin color” while critics “see it as a whitewash of racism.”
“I absolutely am proud to be a Georgian and, no, I do not believe that racism exists across the entire state,” said Tracey Pendley, an Atlanta Public School teacher and the state’s teacher of the year who recently became a non-voting member of the board, according to the Journal-Constitution.
However, she added that “to categorically state and declare that we’re not a racist state flies in the face of all the research that I’ve been taught and that I’ve looked at.” The newspaper noted that Pendley is white.
Kenneth Mason, who is one of the board’s three black members and one of the two members who voted against the resolution, said that it tells those who have experienced racism that “you should and will be silenced,” according to the Journal-Constitution.
While the board hopes the resolution will lend itself to subsequent policy decisions, it is not itself in any way binding for Georgia’s public schools, the Journal-Constitution reported.
If it were, however, University of Georgia law professor Hillel Y. Levin told the newspaper it could be difficult to enforce, such as a passage denouncing the teaching of ideology that could cause someone to “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” due to the color of their skin or gender.
“I don’t really know exactly what that means because who knows what a student is going to think?” Levin said.
It’s fair enough to address concerns that it might be difficult to enforce how a teacher might make a student feel. In fact, this is a major issue with critical race theory itself which, as we have seen when it has been implemented in schools, often seeks to stifle the expression of dissent on the sole basis that it might make certain students feel threatened or attacked.
However, as the resolution stated, the ideas put forth by critical race theory “violate the premises of individual rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit underpinning our constitutional republic.”
A public school system that teaches ideology that directly opposes the very government structure that supports it is nothing more than tax-funded self-sabotage of our Constitution and the rights it was designed to protect.
It was this system that ended slavery in a bloody Civil War, this system that ended institutional racism under the law, and this system that has enabled the free and open discussion of all ideas and views, both supportive and critical of our nation’s values, ever since.
The system is not the problem — violating its premises with indoctrination that dismisses all critique as “racist” in the branch of our system meant to educate future voters and leaders alike is.
The entire purpose of the public schools is — or at least, ought to be — to raise up future generations of informed, educated citizens.
This by necessity must include education on our nation’s history as well as the intellectual tools necessary to have fair, honest, and rigorous discussions on a broad range of philosophical and ideological ideas.
The entire premise of critical race theory argues that the whole canon of the Western, liberal thought that allows for fair, honest, and intellectually rigorous discussions is inherently racist.
This simply cannot coexist with American-style education, and it is completely dishonest to suggest it is the only means through which honest conversations can be had about race in America.
Critical race theory preaches the uncritical acceptance of an inherently racist theory: That “whiteness” is inseparable from oppression and that white people must repent on the altar of its premise if they ever hope to begin their journey on the path towards racial reconciliation.
Bravo for Georgia’s Board of Education for drawing a very clear line in the sand as to what is acceptable in state-funded American educational institutions. Let’s hope this catches on nationally and this divisive, racist ideology only makes an appearance in public schools only when students and teachers have the full freedom to teach and discuss it honestly — and critically.