Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Jim Shipley
Shipley speaks 

Critical Race Theory and the Jews

 

November 26, 2021



Up until about six months ago “CRT” was an abstract for me. I had been hearing about “CRT” for more than a year. I did not know what the letters “CRT” stood for. Now I know. They stand for “Critical Race Theory.” It professes to teach the role of race in our lives since the Civil War to high school students.

I really finally found out this fall, during the run for governor of Virginia what effect CRT is having politically. It CANNOT have an effect on education because it is NOT being taught in ANY school district in the U.S. politically? In Virginia, former Governor Terry, a Democrat looked like a shoo in. He had a solid platform, he had done a very decent job when he was governor and in early campaign polls he led by double digits.

His opponent Glen Youngkin, the Republican candidate had never run for public office before. Suddenly, as the campaign was drawing to a close, Youngkin began to close the gap. He had found an issue to run on: “CRT.” Even though it was not being taught in any school district in the State, Younkin created this bogeyman and based his campaign on never allowing Critical Race Theory to be taught in Virginia schools. He is now governor of Virginia.

Critical Race Theory dares to teach the “theory” that Race and Racism has always played a part in history of the United States from the late 1800s until the 1960s. State governments changed and the Democratic Party in the Southern States renamed themselves “Dixiecrats.”

They were led by such outstanding characters as Gov. George Wallace of Alabama. He famously parked himself in the door of the Foster Auditorium of The University of Alabama in June of 1963 to prevent the first Black students from entering.

He said he would not leave because his platform was “Segregation now, Segregation later, Segregation forever!”

When Attorney General Robert Kennedy threatened to send troops to Alabama to force the governor to allow the law to be followed, Governor Wallace reiterated his statement and appeared at the doors of the auditorium the next morning. So did a Corps of the U.S. Army. The governor stood down and went home.

The net effect of all these shenanigans was the Democratic Party in the South became the Republican Party of the South. It has taken the Democrats over 30 years to rebuild their Party structure and begin to win some races.

Meanwhile, racism remains. Laws passed during the Trump Era and since in some Southern States have tried to limit voting by minority voters, overwhelmingly Black. The practice in Real Estate of “Red Lining”- closing certain areas of from Black (and in many cases Jewish) families was outlawed in most states during the ‘70s and ‘80s (Spoiler Alert! – It still exists).

Look, we have made great strides in some areas. When I was at Ohio State University and thinking of law school (true, it was the 1950s) I was told to forget Yale or Harvard … perhaps even Stanford. Many medical colleges would not allow Jews in or had “quotas” on how many Jews could study medicine on their campus. African Americans? You’re kidding, right?

Critical Race Theory simply wants to teach that, yes, these conditions existed up until recently in many areas of education, business and home ownership. Some of it still exists, but very quietly.

The objections to the teaching of CRT range from humorous to startling. One statement during the Virginia Gubernatorial Race stated that CRT “would send kids home hating their parents.”

Well, guess what? Glenn Youngkin is the new governor of Virginia.

If America is the “Shining Light” we suppose it to be, CRT should be considered a subject in every high school in the country. If we are finally to face the fact that indeed America has remained in part racist since the Civil War up until today, we should admit it by teaching children coming of age in the 21st Century that this is part of our history and should be faced as such.

So, why is this of importance to the Jews? As I stated above, we have been the victims of racism both overt and sub rosa since we began immigrating to America. Yes, it has improved tremendously over the past fifty years, but it still exists in the darkened corners of our society.

CRT should teach that racism in America has existed since its formation as a country. That in the Constitution, Black people are identified as “3/5ths” of a person. Slavery should be taught, but so should “Jim Crow” and blatant Antisemitism. That in Boston at one time signs asking for people to apply for employment said “Irish need not apply.”

Yes, as a Jew you should be in favor of “CRT.” But only if it tells the full story.

 

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