When we forget that we are one race — the human race — we begin segregating ourselves and creating division in our nation. This division has ripple effects on all aspects of society. Perhaps most concerning is the effect it has on education.
Our country was founded as one nation under God, and our children used to be reminded of it every day. It used to be standard practice that when the school bell rang, children would stand up, face the American flag, place their right hand over their heart and say the pledge of allegiance. Each day they would speak the words “one nation, under God.” The symbolism was clear; we all stood united in our love of country and commitment to equality.
Where did that unity go?
In the enduring song, “Georgia on my Mind,” the great Ray Charles sang, “no peace I find” in his home state during the civil rights movement. Indeed, Georgia was at the heart of the movement, and a troubled time it was. Yet we persevered, and we won — schools were desegregated and our civil liberties were enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Where did that victory go?
Both unity and victory have been undermined by critical race theory (CRT). This new approach to race actively divides our kids every day by leading them to believe that the color of their skin holds more importance than the content of their character. This is precisely the type of ideal that leaders in the civil rights movement fought against, yet here it is again, right here in Georgia.
After the Georgia State Board of Education passed a resolution banning CRT from classrooms statewide, the Atlanta School Board posted a response defending CRT, saying that “we will not change our focus” on “advancing equity and social justice within our schools.”
And if flouting the governing authority wasn’t enough, Atlanta-based Mary Lin Elementary School allegedly segregated students based on ethnicity. One mother of a second-grader sued the district. “To our knowledge, (the principal) designated these black classes without the knowledge or consent of the families of the affected black students,” her legal complaint said. “Instead, she unilaterally decided what was in the best interests of the black students, relegating them to only those classes she deemed appropriate.”
This disturbing incident provides a glimpse at the true goal of critical race theory: resegregating our society by skin color, taking us right back to where we began.
Atlanta public schools even go as far as providing resources to teachers instructing them to complete a “classroom equity audit” and create “equity-centered environments.” Teachers were advised to “make links that show how the historical roots of injustice impact the lived experiences and material conditions of people today.”
Apparently, the best way to help Atlanta’s underprivileged communities learn and become successful is to tell children that they are oppressed instead of encouraging them with the knowledge that they have the ability to do great things.
My uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wouldn’t recognize this regressive version of the civil rights movement. Nor would his life and leadership mean anything to today’s critical race theorists. He preached a vision of the world which focused on character, not skin color. To today’s critical race theorists, my uncle was hopelessly naïve. They reject the vision that the civil rights movement fought for, and they will not stop until our institutions are torn down and remade.
Fortunately, thousands of school board seats are up for election in November. In Atlanta alone, nine seats are up.
School boards in Georgia and the Georgia State Board of Education play a crucial role in selecting curricula and approving texts used by classrooms and teachers across the state. This power helps decide what type of materials are being used to teach students. At an age when children are more susceptible to influence, this power holds the ability to shape the beliefs of the next generation.
That’s why it’s important for everyone who cares about our children to learn more about their own local school boards. Find out who’s running. Learn what they believe. Will we have unity again, or allow our schools to further devolve into divisiveness? You can decide that direction by learning, and then by voting.
Alveda King is a Senior Advisor at the America First Policy Institute and is a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, serving as Pastoral Associate for Civil Rights for the Unborn, Priests for Life. Reprinted with permission from Newsweek.