Letter to the editor: After reading article, I wondered, ‘What is critical race theory?’

Carl M. Birkelbach

When I read the front page article “Community discussion on critical race theory gets heated,” I was a bit confused by what critical race theory is. So I looked it up on Wikipedia, which said, “Academic critics of critical race theory argue that it … elevates storytelling over evidence and reason, rejects the concepts of truth and merit, and opposes liberalism … and that the goal of the laws is to more broadly silence discussions of racism, equality, social justice and the history of race.”

One my favorite aphorisms is, “If you don’t learn from history, you are bound to repeat it.” This nation has been in a process of defining who we are since its founding. We have to learn from our mistakes, as this nation was formed on stolen land from the Native Americans and stolen labor from slaves. We fought a Civil War because the white supremacists of the South declared a war on the U.S. that killed 600,000 Americans and fostered Jim Crow laws that were anything but separate but equal. And we now have racial disparities between Black and white people in America that continue to grow in areas of discrimination, employment, wealth, education, home ownership, health care and incarceration.

We also have a lot to be proud of in America as we live up to Thomas Jefferson’s words and goal of “all men are created equal.” We won’t get there by ignoring history, stating alternative facts or calling those with opposing views names, like Marxist. We must listen to Abraham Lincoln’s ‘’better angels of our nature” that bind this great nation and have faith in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “We shall overcome, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward social justice.”

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