Does state Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton Township, really think it’s a bad idea for school students to learn about the role that racial prejudice has played in this country’s history? Does she really think that white children are so fragile that they need to be sheltered from the idea that white people were responsible for slavery?
Who are we supposed to blame for slavery? The Indians?
Is it OK to ask a few more questions? Or are questions now in poor taste if it makes someone feel icky?
How many Black people did Theis talk with before she drafted a bill to ban the teaching of something called critical race theory in Michigan K-12 schools? How many history teachers did she contact? Did she contact anyone in the education field?
Were the number of educators that she contacted greater than or less than the number of high school athletic directors she consulted before drafting a needless bill to address a non-existent problem of transgender children competing in varsity sports?
Can the senator name any Michigan high school that is teaching critical race theory? Can she name one school that even considered it? If not, why would the senator feel the need to ban a course that is taught at the college level and that originated, more than 40 years ago, as part of a Harvard Law School curriculum?
Does she agree with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz who said that critical race theory is every bit as bad as the Ku Klux Klan? If so, why haven’t we heard more about social studies teachers riding in white-robed mobs, pulling helpless people out of their homes, and lynching them in front of their families? Isn’t that what the Klan did? Or is it too hurtful to the feelings of white folks to bring that up?
When she said that the critical race theory is Marxist, is it possible that Theis is merely parroting talking points and doesn’t really know what Marxism means?
Is the senator comfortable knowing that, in tossing around accusations of Communism, she is walking in the same shoes as generations of white supremacists who accused people of being Communists if they dared support voting rights, equal rights, civil rights, or any rights for Black Americans? Does she really think a white Livingston County legislator should be auditioning for that role?
Does Theis really think it is a stretch to teach that racism has played a major role in the history of the United States? Does she think it should be illegal to tell students that the U.S. Constitution repeatedly supported, condoned and encouraged slavery? Is it mean and nasty to teach that the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Black man has no rights in this country that white men need to honor? Is it Marxist to teach such truths?
Is there any reason why Theis worries about the hurt feelings of white children, but doesn’t mention the generations of psychological damage faced by Black children, including those forced to attend government schools named for the very men who enslaved their ancestors? If it’s OK for Black children to go to a public school named after Stonewall Jackson, would she object to Jewish children attending the Adolph Hitler Middle School?
Is it out of line to teach that every single Southern state made it illegal to teach Black children how to read? Is it wrong to mention that the U.S. Post Office was forbidden to process mail if it contained anti-slavery or abolitionist material? Would it make sense to discuss how that policy clashes with the First Amendment?
Is it that crushing to white sensibilities to learn that the Louisiana state constitution once proudly stated, “This is a white man’s government?” Or that the Alabama state constitution still requires public schools to be segregated?
Does she know that for 48 of its first 72 years, the country was run by presidents who owned slaves? Or that the first non-slaveholding president to win re-election, Abe Lincoln, was killed weeks into his second term only to be replaced by – wait for it – still another Southern slave owner?
Is it wrong to teach students that all 11 Confederate states loudly proclaimed slavery – and only slavery – as the primary cause for secession?
Does Theis think a good education should challenge the Lost Cause lie that slavery was not the reason for the Civil War? Is she not at all bothered that in one survey only 8 percent of the nation’s high school seniors recognized slavery as the cause for the Civil War?
Of the estimated 5,000 people lynched in the South between 1877 and 1950, would Theis hazard a guess as to how many of these victims were Black, and how many were white? And how many of those lynch mobs included white government officials, white sheriffs, white deputies, white justices of the peace and even white judges? Or is it racist to point that out?
As a god-fearing conservative who loves the capitalist system, why is Theis afraid of a high school history class that accurately explains that the nation’s great rise as an economic power was powered in large part by the cotton trade, which was made possible by the government-sanctioned unpaid labor of four million slaves?
If it offends white kids, is Theis also willing to ban the teaching of gravity, evolution, and Euclidean geometry? Doesn’t the Pythagorean Theorem sound suspiciously foreign, and possibly immigrant friendly?
Does Sen. Theis think up these crackpot bills on her own? Or is she spoon fed by national conservative groups trying to stir up fake controversies? And which of these options is more troubling?