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Letter to the Editor: Disgusted by Blackburn’s column

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To the Editor,  

To say I was disgusted by Marsha Blackburn’s commentary in [a recent] email from the Herald is an extreme understatement. I respect that she has a right to speak her mind, but it is deeply disturbing to be reminded that our state is represented in the U.S. Senate by someone who is so willing to fan the flames that keep our country divided by writing a piece of propaganda like this.  

Please allow me to clear the air on a few basic points, using facts instead of falsehoods. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has not been taught in our state’s or county’s public schools. Further, “the left” is not making an effort at “brainwashing” our kids or “shaming” white children in our state/country’s schools. And CRT does not actively encourage discrimination, nor does it “segregate people into two main categories: oppressors or victims.”

CRT “at its core” (to borrow Mrs. Blackburn’s words) IS about understanding inequality and racism in our country and encouraging debate about how we should address it. It IS based on the idea that racism is a part of our everyday lives as it is embedded into our legal systems and policies. And as such, people who do not intend to be racist may make choices that fuel racism. 

It is about outcomes, not only individuals’ own beliefs. And it calls for these outcomes to be studied and rectified. Clearly, there is much room for debate about how outcomes can be rectified, but we should welcome such debate, not stymie it. We need to broaden our children’s world view, not narrow it.  

Mrs. Blackburn points out the voice of one parent (of many, I’m sure). But there are also many parents who believe — as my wife and I do — that our kids are very capable of critically considering many ideas. We believe it is important that they are exposed to these kinds of ideas and that they should be encouraged to consider the implications of our history, both the good and the bad, including how it has informed both our historical and current laws and policies. This is why we are so concerned by the law recently passed in TN (SB 0623) and by propaganda like Mrs. Blackburn is spreading.  

I agree, parents need to show up at school board meetings. But we need to show up to make sure that our kids are allowed to learn about institutionalized racism. We need to make sure our board members understand that we know this teaching does not imply that white kids are demonized. Rather, we believe it is important that our kids are allowed to consider ideas in a broader context. Our kids are very capable of critically considering these kinds of ideas, and they need to be given the opportunity to do so.  


Tony Caudill  


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