Letter: Students need to know facts about racism


There have been a number of letters to the editor in the last several weeks arguing against Critical Race Theory and expressing alarm that it is creeping into Whidbey Island schools and doing great harm.

None of these letter writers provided evidence that CRT is being taught in schools or that they really understand what it involves. The idea that CRT is part of some Marxist plot is nonsense. But at a very basic and non-ideological level, students need to know that racism has been and still is part of our society.

The armed forces were not desegregated until 1947, the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education made segregated education illegal, but not until 1965, and there was fierce opposition to integration for decades, especially in the south.

Right now, a number of states controlled by Republicans are working to restrict voting in ways that will predominantly affect minorities. Here is a simple test regarding racism: I have never been pulled over by police except for cause such as speeding or having expired tabs, and I have been driving in the United States since 1968. This is clearly not the case for the majority of Black men.

I have a great deal of respect for teachers. They make an important contribution to the well being of this country as they teach American history and social studies “without fear and favor” to their students. Some aspects of American history and politics are disturbing, and other aspects are edifying.

This is what they ought to teach and have the right to teach.

Those who are critical of our educational system should do their homework rather than uncritically repeating the misinformation provided by right wing sources. There is nothing patriotic about trying to restrict the freedom of teachers to address difficult and painful topics.

As Jesus said, “the truth shall make you free,” just as ignorance will keep you in darkness.

Steen Halling


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