In reading young Dylan Nolan’s article, “Teaching the Next Generation to Discriminate? CRT in South Carolina”, I would have been amused if the content were not so dangerous. The article was mostly truthful but was profoundly inaccurate and misleading.
It would be fascinating to hear or read any rational explanation of how Christopher Rufo’s definition is not true. Actually, not only is his definition an accurate description of CRT but it is incomplete. CRT was taught in Law School and in graduate-level courses and NOT in elementary, middle, and high school. It is true because the Founders of the United States were a group of wealthy, racist, privileged and hypocritical white men who not only enslaved human beings but some of whom even raped underage human beings. That is white supremacy with a touch of pedophilia. That these enslaved human beings were denied the ability to express their full humanity over generations is also a definition of oppression. I would recommend that you refer to the work of Iris Young on oppression. The racial inequities that still exist in American culture (they are sometimes called disparities) are a testament that the forces of white supremacy and oppression ARE still “at the root of our society.”
I was trained to be a physician and have also studied history. I would not dare offer an opinion of how a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, or a brick mason should perform their duties. By the same token, parents should not dictate to teachers how or what to teach. That being said, I am a parent and have been a teacher also.
Accurate histories of the experiences of non-whites in America is not divisive, it is cautionary.
The history of South Carolina given in the article was not simply an overview, as I suspect it was intended to be. It was, in my opinion, an apologist description rationalizing the brutality and inhumanity of enslavement, chattelization, and settler colonialism. It appeared to justify the vicious and violent theft of the land of people who had not advanced war and violence as an art.
As a person of Afrikan origin, I must insist that slaves were not brought to the “New World” (new to whom?). Afrikans were kidnapped and enslaved. They were not slaves. These Afrikans and First Nation people fell victim to the pathologically narcissistic mantra, Manifest Destiny.
Your depiction of Reconstruction in South Carolina was quite inaccurate. While the federal military protected the newly freed Afrikans from vicious racists, they did NOT “run the state”. The state was “run” by capable, qualified, intelligent, and innovative legislators of both races.
Despite the deliberate falsehoods that smeared these brilliant Afrikan legislators by the Dunning School and the Daughters of the Confederacy, these legislators accomplished great things, many of which are still in effect:
- they established the South’s first state-funded public school systems,
- they created the South Carolina land commission,
- they increased the rights of women,
- they provided that all men could vote regardless of their educational level or financial status.
The 15th amendment of the constitution guaranteed the right to vote of the newly freed Afrikans. The 13th amendment abolished slavery as an institution but allowed for involuntary servitude “as a punishment for crime”. This was a basis for the black codes that were mentioned in the article. The formerly enslaved Afrikans were accused and convicted of crimes as minimal as unemployment. These black codes, as well as sharecropping, laid the grounds for de facto re-enslavement of Afrikans.
It is interesting that only one speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is used by people to justify positions that he would have opposed. If you want to quote him, use a quotation from the latter part of his career, when certain American realities had been impressed on him and he realized that his earlier idealism about America was misplaced. He said, “I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house.”
In your discussion of the bills being proposed by the South Carolina legislature, you cleverly asked, “Are they opposed to the part of the bill that prevents teaching that people are inherently inferior and deserving of adverse treatment on the basis of sex and race?” This diabolical question is confusing and fails the content vs. intent test. As stated, the bills purport to guarantee fairness and equality but ANYONE familiar with South Carolina politics, from John C. Calhoun to “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman to Cole Blease to James Byrnes to Marion Gressette to Strom Thurman (a daytime segregationist and nighttime integrationist who may have followed
Thomas Jefferson’s example) would know better. They would understand that the intent did not match the content.
When you subtly denigrated Dr. Kendi as “toxic” and described Drs. Boutte and Long as “his ilk”, you engage in character assassination. I don’t know Drs. Kendi and Long, but I know Dr. Boutte to be a brilliant and principled educator. Before you cast aspersions, consider taking the training rather than throw stones from afar based on hearsay (unless your mind was already made up). You might even learn something and would know first-hand what you are talking about. While you’re doing that, you should also take the South Carolina history course offered by the Modjeska Simkins School that is taught by several prominent and nationally respected historians
I am old enough to have witnessed and experienced toxic Jim Crow in South Carolina and it is insulting to me that a youngster from a privileged class dare tell me that my experiences and the experiences of my people are not worth teaching. Racism denial is endemic in this country and is at least as dangerous as any fatal physical illness.
We see you.
Burnett W. Gallman, M.D.