Letter to the Editor: Columnist is Right — Critical Race Theory Is a Red Herring


I am writing regarding columnist Michael Wagar's critical race theory opinion piece from July 10. I agree the protests and outrage are a red herring pushed by the right. 

Mr. Wagar states, "Teaching that white people hate black people is simply not taking place in our public schools. We need to make sure we are teaching a complete rendering of the history of America, the good with the bad.”

Letter writer Josie Johnston rebutted Wagar on July 13. If this is a right-wing herring, why are school boards making these statements? She stated 30 years ago she got a comprehensive history curriculum.

This is a right-wing herring because President Trump announced in September 2020 he was creating a "1776 Commission to promote patriotic education." Several conservative states have instituted "patriotic education" or European (white) history. Any history other than European-based history is banned. Teachers can be fired. On Sept. 1 on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Christopher Rufo, a Trump associate and fellow at the Conservative Manhattan Institute, propagated that inclusion of all history, what he coined "critical race theory" at publicly funded institutions, was going too far. Trump soon banned CRT in federal offices. The president’s 1776 commission and Rufo's statements on Carlson's show began to expand its focus into the classroom. Rufo announced a network of private conservative attorneys were preparing for a war against CRT. An advocacy group, 1776 Actions, focused on making this a nationwide issue. 

This massive effort by far-right conservatives came from the top (Trump) and is promoted nationwide and used to rally their forces. They have succeeded. Look at the comments here.  Patriotic education is racist history. 

History has always been taught from a European (white) point of view. For example, the iconic Alamo. The Anglos invaded a foreign country, Mexico, and settled on their land to grow cotton with slaves. Mexico was an abolitionist state. They stole the land from Mexican citizens. Another example: I grew up in East Los Angeles. My family could get loans to move out of the area.  People of color could not get loans and were confined to ghettos and were left out of Social Security benefits.

Only in recent years has the history shown how ethnic groups have contributed to our country's growth and the real problems they have endured. We learned, recently, of the 100-year-old 1921 Tulsa race massacre. This great story of how "negros" were given land in Indian Territory and how they grew their community and wealth. Native people have been under-represented or  misrepresented. Only by including all of our history can we make decisions that will make for a superior America. 

This movement breeds hate. Other examples of right-wing conservatives promoting hate:  anti-vaccine, anti-masks, anti-election results, anti-voting (44 republican states have voter suppression), anti-quarantine at Lakeview Inn anti-climate change, anti-gun laws and supporting the U.S. Capitol insurrection. 

It is scare mongering and for many people it works.  Conservatives like Mr. Wagar need to speak up and say they want inclusive history, they want these anti-issues halted and the hatred to stop.


Judy Bell

Lewis County