I have never really subscribed to the prevailing “conservative” angst over critical race theory (CRT). To me, it always seemed like manufactured outrage – some sort of overhyped bogeyman used by “Republican” politicians to lure white independents like myself further to the ideological right.
As I noted in a post last summer, exposing CRT has “never been at the top of my radar screen.”
That is changing, though, the deeper I dig into the origins of this movement – and the more I learn about the pernicious impact it is having on children in South Carolina’s government-run schools.
Backed by billions of dollars in taxpayer funding, our children are literally being taught to hate one another based on their skin color.
Few parents know about it, though … and even fewer have the ability to do anything about it.
I expect his latest story to be published sometime this coming week … so be on the lookout for that.
In the meantime, though, I felt compelled to report on some of the “teaching” transpiring at Rawlinson Road Middle School in Rock Hill, S.C. – one of the more affluent, ostensibly “conservative” areas of the Palmetto State.
Regular readers of this news outlet will recall I have written somewhat favorably about Reynolds in the past – although I have had very little positive to say about Kendi.
Why? Because I think he is a definitional “hater.”
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination,” Kendi has previously written. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
In other words, two wrongs make a right.
Kendi is a leading “scholar” in the realm of critical race theory, which – to borrow his own words – holds that present and future racism against white people is acceptable in light of racism perpetrated against black people in the past.
But CRT goes much deeper than that. There is a distinct Marxian framework at play, which Dylan will explore in greater detail in his forthcoming article.
For now, I am focused on the teaching of this specific book, the impact it is having on South Carolina students – and whether schools should be allowed to teach it.
In covering Stamped, I actually purchased my own copy of the book because I wanted to read for myself what its authors had to say – not just take anyone else’s word for it.
One of the book’s core concepts? The notion there is a Biblical root to racism.
“Africans are savages because they were cursed through Ham in the Bible,” Kendi and Reynolds wrote in Stamped.
Wait … what?
(Click to view)
Setting aside the author’s all-encompassing generalization of “Africans,” that statement is flat out false.
In fairness to the authors, they did acknowledge this ostensibly Biblical basis for racism was not necessarily scriptural, but rather a “whimsical” interpretation of Genesis offered up by George Best, a sixteenth century explorer whom they describe as a “travel author.”
“In Best’s whimsical interpretation of the book of Genesis, Noah orders his White sons not to have sex with their wives on the ark, and then tells them that the first child born after the flood would inherit the earth,” they write. “When the evil, tyrannical and hypersexual Ham (goes HAM and) has sex on the ark, God wills that Ham’s descendants will be dark and disgusting, and the whole world will look at them as symbols of trouble. Simply put, Ham’s kids would be Black and bad, ultimately making Black … bad.”
Again … this is utter nonsense.
Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the Bible knows the “curse of Ham” is a fabrication from the Middle Ages. According to Genesis 9:18-27, the curse was actually targeted to Canaan – Ham’s son. While its origins are not fully explained, the curse is generally understood to have been issued by Noah after the flood because he was angry with Ham for whispering to his brothers about their father’s drunken nakedness.
“(Noah) drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent,” the relevant text reads. “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren.”
Once he had sobered up, Noah recalled “what his younger son had done unto him” and subsequently cursed his descendants.
Was that petty of Noah? Absolutely … but it is abundantly clear race had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Nor, for that matter did sex … or “hypersex” – although that hasn’t stopped all manner of authors (including Reynolds and Kendi) from misappropriating this text for their own ideological purposes.
“Genesis nine has been used and abused by people with all kinds of kooky ideas,” one of my pastor friends told me this week.
Indeed it has … but school children in York County are only getting one side of the story.
PUSHING BACK …
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Brooke Hollis is a York County parent. Until recently, her daughter was a student in the Rawlinson Road classroom of seventh grade teacher Julianne Haley.
After discovering the aforementioned CRT nonsense was being taught in her daughter’s class, Hollis demanded her daughter be allowed to opt-out of this controversial “instruction.” Furthermore, she challenged school officials to provide students with an alternative (i.e. accurate) interpretation of Genesis 9.
During a meeting with school officials in early March, assistant principal Kenneth Crump rejected her suggestion – curtly informing Hollis that “we can’t teach the Bible.”
“I argued it was clearly being taught so can you not teach it? Or can you just not teach it correctly?” Hollis said.
According to Hollis, school leaders – especially Crump – were “hostile” toward her when she challenged Haley’s choice of curriculum.
Also, the school’s principal – Heather Andrus – defended both the teacher and the book, saying the latter “aligned” with the Palmetto State’s seventh grade English Language Arts (ELA) standards (.pdf).
As for the teacher, “Ms. Haley used the book as a resource, and students are not reading the book in its entirety,” Andrus wrote in a March 8, 2022 email to Hollis.
“It is provided to determine various literary devices,” she added.
Two days later, Andrus emailed Hollis again after a face-to-face meeting failed to resolve the matter.
“As a parent, you have the right to an opinion as to what is taught; however, this is a new one for me as a principal, so I am seeking guidance from the district office,” she wrote.
Hold up … parents have “the right to an opinion as to what is taught?”
Wow. I guess we parents should probably enjoy that liberty while we can, huh?
Meanwhile, Haley defended herself on social media that same week …
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Incidentally, Haley’s woke Twitter feed features references to books by Barbara Dee which promote gay, lesbian and bisexual relationships … for middle schoolers. In one tweet, Haley alerted the school librarian at Rawlinson Road to the availability of these books.
Hmmmm … sound familiar?
So … do I have a problem with middle schoolers being exposed to such overt cultural propaganda?
Not necessarily. If their parents approve of them having access to such materials, that’s fine. I am not going to tell them how to parent their children. But none of this should be funded by taxpayers. Nor should any of it be pushed on students without parents’ knowledge and consent.
“I feel like my children have been failed,” Hollis told me. “I advocated for teachers – and that education was essential – when schools were closed last year. Now, I’m pulling my children out of that same education system because of this. There is no room for CRT in our schools and any educator that forms their curriculum around an agenda that actively encourages discrimination and division should be held accountable for that.”
The problem? It’s difficult to hold educators – and their administrators – accountable if parents are unaware of what their children are being taught.
“The kids never brought the book home,” Hollis said, referring to Stamped. “Ms. Haley said it was a school book. No note or email came out stating that it was being introduced. I found out from my daughter telling me what they were reading. I had to check it out of our public library.”
Is that surprising? Not at all. In fact, some teachers actively discourage their students from telling their parents what they are reading.
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According to Hollis, the fact parents were kept in the dark about this book being taught at Rawlinson Road “was the first major red flag.”
Hollis said something else to me that has stuck in my mind since our conversation last week. She told me she didn’t mind her daughter learning about the history of civil rights leaders and black trailblazers – adding that such instruction was very important to her.
“What I mind is children being taught to hate,” she said.
That is exactly what is happening, though, sadly …
According to Hollis, after Stamped was taught at Rawlinson Road, black students began verbally accosting her daughter – calling her a “slave trader” and accusing her “people” of owning slaves.
A parent at another school where critical race theory is being taught in South Carolina said her child was being bashed as a “colonizer” in the aftermath of similar “instruction.”
Meanwhile, yet another parent at the same school described black students throwing crackers at white students – referring to them as “crackers,” a racial epithet.
“You can’t be white – or straight – anymore,” the parent told me, in tears. “They are turning our children against each other.”
THE LAW …
Whatever you think about the essence or efficacy of CRT – and whatever your views may be about it being taught in taxpayer-funded schools – South Carolina state lawmakers made it abundantly clear last year what they thought.
According to a proviso inserted into the fiscal year 2021-2022 state budget, government-run schools in the Palmetto State have been expressly forbidden from teaching CRT. The relevant proviso (1.105) specifically addresses “partisanship curriculum,” and enjoins districts and schools from using taxpayer dollars to “provide instruction in, to teach, instruct, or train any administrator, teacher, staff member, or employee to adopt or believe, or to approve for use, make use of, or carry out standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices” in multiple categories.
Per the language of the proviso, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, those categories included the following concepts …
(That) (1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (2) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his race or sex; (4) an individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his race or sex; (5) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (6) an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his race or sex; (7) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; and (8) fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.
On Saturday, I reached out to state senator Wes Climer – whose York County district includes Rawlinson Road middle school. Climer, incidentally, was the lead sponsor of the amendment which inserted the anti-CRT proviso into the state budget last year – so I felt he would be a great person to speak with about the situation unfolding in his political backyard.
“This garbage has no place in any classroom in South Carolina,” he told me, referring to the excerpts from Reynolds and Kendi’s book.
In fact, after reviewing the material included in this report Climer spoke with two members of the school district’s elected board and recommended the teacher who brought this book into her classroom be terminated.
“We fund schools to impart reading, writing and arithmetic,” Climer said. “It’s no place for political indoctrination.”
That is my view exactly …
“When it comes to education, we need to teach our future generations to read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide … but we do not need to teach them to be divisive,” I wrote last summer. “Once students have mastered the basics – assuming they can – we should begin teaching them multiple historical perspectives (while encouraging them to undertake critical assessments of all views).”
You know, independent thought.
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our always engaging comments section below …
YOUR VIEW …
Should Critical Race Theory be taught in South Carolina government-run schools?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. Oh, he also has LOTS of hats … but has given them up for Lent this year.
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