Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Idaho moves to ban critical race theory instruction in all public schools, including universities

In other words, Idaho wants its citizens to fly blindly into life. Be insensitive to the call for sensitivity to difference that rests at the conceptual center of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Become immune to others' experiences in the world. Be actively ignorant.

How is the banning of CRT a recipe for success in an increasingly diverse world? Have these folks in Idaho not read the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible that can be fully interpreted from a CRT lens? It teaches us that being open to difference is a much higher calling than being distrustful and cynical toward others—and most especially in their hour of need.

May I never become immune to others' experiences in the world.

I do take comfort in knowing that CRT existed before there was a name for it and will continue to exist after its banned. After all, we will always continue to learn much from the lived experiences of racism, sexism, classism, transphobism, and the like in society despite the predictable fashioning by the dominant group of illusory, inaccurate views of how society works—or doesn't work—as the case may be.

After all, a more heterogenous life experience provides more conceptual anchors from which to analyze social inequality, separate from what those in power want us, as minoritized subjects, to believe and parrot. Rather than learning from diverse viewpoints for which CRT courses create space, this anti-intellectual posture seeks to block alternative views of lived experience.

That's what makes this stance fascist: We are all being told what and how to think, that is, ahistorical, decontextualized, de-personalized, and prescriptive. These are ways of knowing that come with a cost. That is, how can we as a diverse society learn to live differently with each other—ideally, at peace in a vibrant democracy—if we're not open to reconceptualizing our ways of relating to each other in ways that the CRT classroom generally provides?

Why not unmask prejudices and bias? Don't we all want to be better people in the world and assume responsibility for our own growth? What would Jesus want us to do? Certainly not what we see playing out in Idaho and other places.

Hence, to be against CRT is tantamount to the institutionalization of ignorance, arrogance, and insensitivity. This is hardly a virtuous education. Far from it, especially since it ironically reinscribes majority-minority relations anew! "Once a Samaritan, always a Samaritan" is not the actual takeaway from this parable. Or at least it shouldn't be...

Thanks to Dr, Valerie A. Martinez for sharing.

-Angela Valenzuela

Idaho moves to ban critical race theory instruction in all public schools, including universities

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