I am new to Santa Fe but not new to New Mexico, and have been reading about the controversy over critical race theory. It seems to have stirred up quite a lot of angst. I would like to suggest a more neutral approach.
For some reason, some people in America are afraid to look at the past and all the injustices rendered and face the truth enough to offer remedies and healing.
I propose to teach about prejudice instead of race. We all have prejudices, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. This could be neutral ground for teachers to teach what is prejudice, how we form them, how should we analyze our own prejudices and how to solve them.
We have to admit our country has condoned some horrific actions toward some of its citizens. The first thing our school system should do is teach the truth. Our kids need to know what has gone on in our history to bring us to this moment.
Our government set out to annihilate our Indian populations and have treated them horribly over the last 200-plus years. They have dispossessed them and taken their lands. As if this wasn’t enough, they rounded them up and put them on reservations and made them dependent on the government instead of encouraging them to lead a traditional life. Then in 1953, Congress announced House Concurrent Resolution 108. This bill meant to terminate all Indian tribes. Our kids need to know this.
Our government rounded up Japanese American citizens and put them in concentration camps during World War II. They took away their possessions and businesses and basically their whole lives. Our kids need to know this.
Our government and citizens have marginalized our Black citizens since almost the beginning of our country. They have been brutalized, murdered, lynched and discriminated against for all this time. It was only this year when I learned about Juneteenth. Our kids need to know this.
I grew up in New Mexico and thought I received a decent education. However, we were not really taught about the horrific injustices done to the slaves. It was pretty well glossed over in our textbooks. I went to school with Navajo kids in Gallup. Some were good friends. I knew they lived in a dormitory west of town but never really understood the history and motivation behind forcing these kids to live in dormitories far from their families.
Once again. We all must face some of the wrongs our country has done. Let’s take away the white versus black and concentrate on educating our kids with the truth. Let’s teach about prejudice: how narrow and harmful it can be and how to overcome it.