A white minister in the small all-White (99.8% non-Black) Connecticut town of Lyme-Old Lyme (pop 10,000) claims to be collaborating with the local school system “to teach the history of racism and enslavement in the area” as one part of a social justice project launched by his church last summer. Another part involves police accountability.
Surely the nation has been seized with the issues of racism, social justice and policing, if such a project has been launched in this unlikeliest of places, one with a population of only about 25 Blacks.
The local school superintendent, rejected the minister’s claim categorically “We have no association with the minister.”
Yet, in schooling elsewhere – school staffing in Washington State, mathematics instruction in California and history and civics curicula nationwide, if the Biden administration has its way – a triad of radical ideas is taking hold: that critical race theory (CRT) is the central version of U.S. history; that present-day America is systemically racist; and that police are killing unarmed Blacks indiscriminately.
Facts and common sense debunk this radical triad. The killing of George Floyd seemingly cemented the notion of racist policing killings and, thereafter, a steady stream of highly publicized incidents of policemen killing Blacks seemed to confirm it. But wait. Were no Whites killed by police over the past year? Of course, they were. Yet where were the national media reports?
Coleman Hughes, a young Black man, wrote for a scholarly journal just weeks after Floyd’s death “For every black person killed by the police, there is at least one White person (usually many) killed in a similar way.” In 2016, a Dallas policeman put his knee on the neck of Tony Timpa, pinning him to the street for 13 minutes and killing him. Timpa was White. The very day before Louisville police barged into Breonna Taylor’s home and killed her, police in Maryland raided Duncan Lemp’s apartment and shot him dead. Lemp was White.
Sensational and highly selective media coverage has distorted reality. [Editor’s note: In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, of whom less than a quarter were African-Americans, who commit 53% of known homicides, though they are only 13% of the population.]
Indeed, sensational reporting by the left-leaning New York Times has popularized CRT. In August 2019, the Times devoted an entire 100-page Sunday Magazine edition to its 1619 Project. According to Wikipedia, “The project was envisioned with the condition that almost all of the contributions would be from African-American contributors.”
When only Blacks interpret, a Black-biased interpretation is likely, if not inevitable. It is only human to interpret the world from the perspective of one’s identity.
Slavery and racism are not the central theme of our nation’s history – nor are they the central theme today.
To say so is to ignore, for example, immigration. Our nation has attracted mass immigration, inspired by America’s unprecedented and unequalled offer of freedom and opportunity and refuge from severely troubled nations of origin.
Moreover, 1619 tells us nothing new. For decades, schoolchildren have been learning about slavery, the Civil War, the KKK, lynching of Blacks, Jim Crow, the Tuskegee experiment, redlining in housing, associated poverty, etc. No doubt, CRT and 1619 bring forth new incidents and events, but nothing inconsistent with history as schoolchildren have already been learning it.
CRT, 1619 and George Floyd’s killing have combined to advance the notion that America is “systemically racist.” Yes, Blacks are poorer than Whites, with all the associated challenges. but Black poverty does not mean ipso facto that present-day society and White Americans are racist. White ancestors were racist and their racism has had lasting legacy effects; however, to call present-day Whites racist is literally to visit upon the children, the sins of the parents.
That is especially inappropriate for schoolchildren. They are innocent in all respects.
Most White Americans are sympathetic to the plight of Blacks. Most Whites want to remediate racism’s legacy effects. Anti-poverty programs have been launched. Affirmative action has been undertaken, even though it constitutes reverse-racism. Such efforts may have been ineffectual, but their failure doesn’t discredit the charitable impulse involved. The nation has elected a Black president and vice president.
Yet, the race-obsessed want to sustain their charge of racism.
So, they have conjured the notion of unconscious or implicit White bias. Of course, one cannot change one’s own subconscious. Logically, then, an outside authority and force must do so. Thus, anti-racism training for Whites, to which some may decide to submit voluntarily. However, when undertaken on a mandatory basis by government, this constitutes totalitarian indoctrination and mind control, a cure far, far worse than the disease.
Slavery and racism are not the central theme of American history. They are one of several important themes. America and Americans are not “systemically racist.” And cops are not killing unarmed Blacks indiscriminately. The triad is false in each part and in combination.
Red Jahncke is a nationally recognized columnist, who writes about politics and policy. His columns appear in numerous national publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, USA Today, The Hill, Issues & Insights and National Review as well as many Connecticut newspapers.