Readers Respond

True history of African American experience has been censored for too long | READER COMMENTARY

In this June 10, 2021, file photo, Ben Frazier, the founder of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Florida chants "Allow teachers to teach the truth" at the end of his public comments opposing the state of Florida's plans to ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. Local school boards around the country are increasingly becoming cauldrons of anger and political division, boiling with disputes over such issues as COVID-19 mask rules, the treatment of transgender students and how to teach the history of racism and slavery in America. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File)

I write in reply to the letter, “Don’t force feed critical race theory to children” by Karyn Scaggs (July 15). She seems to think the teaching of critical race theory will undermine the U.S. Constitution. She also says she worries that what won’t be taught to children in 50 years will be where we’ve been and how far we’ve come as a nation in the last 250 years. Can the last be done by excluding whole chunks of history, by sugar coating and whitewashing, America’s past?

That more than 70 million people voted for Donald Trump, a demagogue, a nationalist, a dupe and also the most overtly racist president we’ve had in office in a long time, tells me we haven’t come far. For many white people, the election of Mr. Trump was a much-desired “course correction” after the election of Barack Obama.


We need to confront the reality of America’s tragic past, and that confrontation should include a detailed and truthful study of slavery, lynching and all its attendant generational trauma that affects Black families in the present. That includes segregation and Jim Crow, as well as the health, wealth and technology gaps that afflict Black children to this day. And we need to do it unflinchingly, exposing the Founding Fathers as fallible people who did not practice what they preached but instead codified as laws, for years to come, rank injustice.

I read recently that France, the United States and Great Britain, countries that participated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, while firmly refusing to pay reparations to the descendants of the slaves, actually compensated slave owners for a loss of their slaves as they were considered property. There is much that we do not know or understand about the plight and the history of various minorities, and immigrant groups in the U.S. Native American tribes too have been systematically decimated or marginalized, suffering family separation so their children’s acculturation and assimilation into white society could be accomplished through residential schools.


The horrors being unraveled and recorded by Black and Native historians have been censored too long by white denial and fragility. “Critical race theory” belongs in the classroom.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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