Teach children honest history

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I am responding to a letter in last week’s Smithfield Times (“School Board isn’t listening”).

  • Critical Race Theory has not now or ever been taught in K-12 schools in Virginia. It requires much more background knowledge than a high school student would have.  CRT is discussed in higher education — master’s programs and law school. Please note that it is discussed as a theory.
  • The writer used the term “Marxist” at least twice. It appears that the writer is not familiar with Marxism and its use as a trope. The usage brought back memories of the civil rights movement when segregationists called Martin Luther King and other leaders of the civil rights movement Marxists and Communists. It is now a trope used by those who wish to frighten those whites who really do not know what frightens them or they do not want nonwhites to have a voice.
  • The reality is that our history and most history is messy, bloody and often cruel. History may have its kumbaya moments, of course, but much is not. What is it that you don’t want taught? Could it be that the treatment of Black people as slaves, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynching, massacres of entire towns and the lack of recognition of the significant contributions of Black people?
  • We love our country, but many of us recognize that we must acknowledge our past in order to become the ideal that our country is. Do you think the Germans gloss over the rise of fascism and how good people remained quiet, the good Germans, who allowed the horror to happen?
  • Many are outraged over books that students may read. How in the world can students become critical thinkers if they can’t read books that challenge them to think and realize that we can have differing opinions? Censorship is a heinous crime, and it is indeed unAmerican.
  • It is not unAmerican to tell our children the truth. Children are smart enough to know that they are not responsible for those who have gone before us. They are also smart enough to know that they can right the wrongs of those who have gone before us.  Finally, just a reminder: For us to remain a free society, we cannot hide our true history.  “Mind, like parachute, only functions when open.”


Rebecca M. Mercer