To the editor:
I’m having trouble understanding the controversy about so-called “critical race theory,” to the point where Republicans in the Legislature felt compelled to create a law backed by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and signed by Gov. Chris Sununu, banning its existence in our schools.
For reasons I find incomprehensible, they object to having our teachers teach history and related subjects, based on actual facts, not someone’s modified version of the facts.
For too long, textbooks and other classroom materials were limited in type and extent of information provided. Growing up in the mid-20th century, I learned about Thomas Jefferson, but no one ever told us he bought and sold human beings and fathered a whole family of mixed race children. I don’t recall anything about the Trail of Tears, stealing Native American land and exiling them into reservations.
There wasn’t much if any discussion about the number of lynchings, the stories of white residents driving Black residents out of Wilmington, N.C.; Tulsa, Okla, and other communities. We learned a lot about Eisenhower, Patton and the heroism of our soldiers fighting in Europe but nothing about the discrimination in the military and in the administration of the GI Bill that continued until 1948 and beyond.
It wasn’t until the advent of television and national coverage of the Vietnam War, the beatings of civil rights marchers and the killings at Kent State that we could no longer ignore and deny what was happening, and although these events were really a continuation of a long chain of discrimination and misuse of government power, it took many, many years for public school educational materials to catch up and begin, finally, to tell the whole story.
One of the wisest of sayings is, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, we see this happening all too often today, and the bill passed by the N.H. Legislature is a good example.