Let’s talk about the predictability of whiteness.
MORE: 5 Books About The Black American Experience That Conservatives Want Banned
White people largely oppose the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools. White people also largely have no idea what CRT is. Because white conservative politicians and pundits have successfully turned this college-level academic study that examines how race affects our institutions of law and other systems into a racist propaganda campaign that morphs the concept of CRT into a catch-all term for all teachings that make white people uncomfortable and pull back the curtain on the America “shining city on the hill” facade, laws have been made in several states to ban CRT from the classroom.
So basically, in banning CRT for reasons that revolve squarely around white people’s feelings, white people have proven why CRT is a legitimate and necessary study—and that’s not even the predictable part.
A group of conservative parents in Tennessee have filed the state’s first complaint under its anti-CRT law, which it passed in May. Predictably, the books targeted by the complaint are not books on CRT, they are books based around regular-degular Black history—the civil rights movement era stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges. According to Insider, the Williamson County branch of conservative parents group “Moms for Liberty” filed an 11-page complaint claiming that the book Martin Luther King Jr and the March on Washington was included in a number of books the group declared to be “Anti-American” and “Anti-White,” as well as guilty of promoting a “slanted obsession with historical mistakes.”
A few things:
First, let’s just take a look at the sheer degree of caucasity on full display here. Whenever white people want to lecture Black people on how we should behave or promote some warped understanding of racial unity or non-divisiveness, they start invoking MLK’s name. They start quoting his “I have a dream” speech out of context and they start whitesplaining to us what the man would and wouldn’t be proud of if he could see the state of the Black community today. But when it comes to King’s actual story—which, like virtually all Black history stories, can’t be told without highlighting white supremacy in America—white conservatives either need it to be whitewashed and sanitized for caucasian consumption, or they need the story to not be told at all. (Here’s the part where I point out the fact that Texas also used anti-CRT propaganda to drop requirements to include MLK’s teachings, among other things, from its school curricula.)
Next, there’s the fact that white people in Williamson County are referring to very basic teachings of history as “slanted obsession with historical mistakes.” According to Insider, the group of mayo-tears weaponizers specifically took issues with images of segregated water fountains and Black children being attacked by firefighters with water hoses. There’s nothing “slanted” about those images. Segregated facilities existed and Black people getting sprayed with hoses for protesting for our right to equality actually happened. Those weren’t “historical mistakes,” they were just parts of American history. British rule over American colonies could also be construed as “historical mistakes,” but we all know that won’t stop the whites from teaching the American Revolution.
The group of parents advocating for white comfort at the expense of Black education also targeted two books about Bridges and the book Separate is Never Equal, which revolves around segregation before the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. According to the complaint filed by this group of white supremacists pretending to be concerned parents, the teaching of these books “implies to second-grade children that people of color continue to be oppressed by an oppressive angry, vicious, scary, mean, loud, violent, rude, and hateful white population.”
Outside of just garden-variety white tears, it’s unclear how the teaching of actual history implies that “people of color continue to be oppressed” by white people. Ironically, what actually proves that we continue to be oppressed is this very complaint filed by this group of “angry, vicious, scary, mean, loud, violent, rude, and hateful” white people who are trying to throw their caucasian weight around in order to censor Black history.
Fortunately, the Tennessee Department of Education said it won’t investigate these allegations. Unfortunately, the department didn’t decline the investigation because the complaint was racist and ridiculous, they declined because the lessons happened during the 2020-21 school year, and it only has the authority to investigate lessons from the current school year, according to the Tennessean.
So basically, “Moms for Liberty” can still target basic Black history books for nonsensical complaints as long as they’re taught in the current school year and the Department of Education will treat said complaints like they’re worthy of even being entertained.
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