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Our View: For everyone's sake, don't take CRT bait

American history is littered with ginned up, so-called “problems” designed to alienate, punish and divide people based, mostly, on the drive to score political points. Bogeymen.

The question, of course, is to what end? Is it just fear? A loss of control of the narrative that is the messy history of the United States? Is it power grabbing? Ego?

Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old, something upper level university students sometimes debate, but not theory taught at the high school level. High schools teach history. Perhaps the history they teach is less flattering to one race than it was in the past — in other words more accurate, less “whitewashed” — but that doesn’t mean they’re teaching CRT or other theory. And what if they were?

Across the country and even here in places such as the Wrenshall school district, the phantom of CRT is being used as a political cudgel. It’s time those who harbor such suspicions just stop.

If you insist on pressing the nonissue, as so many have in the past few months, know this: You are doing the bidding of backroom political wonks bent on a power grab. Bent on dividing people in order to win one for their “side” of the political spectrum. CRT debates are based on lies and projection and fueled by television and social media influencers here and abroad who simply want disruption, chaos, and fear of “the other.”

It makes dupes of those who keep peddling such nonsense locally. You’re the mark, and you are doing the dirty work for them.

If you actually have your own ideas of how history should be taught in our schools, you are free to add to the basic framework teachers are providing under state curriculum standards. Adding to your child’s enrichment and understanding is always encouraged. No one class or even the greatest of teachers can possibly cover all the nuance attached to events in our past.

It’s your right to nurture your children as you see fit. The history taught in our schools has always evolved, just as social awareness evolves. History is messy. It isn’t always flattering and neatly tucked into red, white and blue jingoism. People were wiped from their land. People came here in chains. And their generations have suffered well beyond those first sins. It’s fact. It happened.

If you have more you’d like to tell your children — based on facts — let it fly. Just know the lasting effects of “choose your own adventure” storytelling. Indeed, if we don’t learn the crux of our history, warts and all, we certainly can’t evolve as human beings tucked inside the border of this confusing, confounding, and still not perfect union.

Let your patriotic flag fly, but know that being honest about where we’ve been, and where we’re heading, is the most patriotic way to honor the bedrock our country is built on.

Sheepishly doing the bidding of a ragged few who simply want to divide us is not noble, is not right, and is not what helps the country come to grips with the beautiful mess it is.

Freedom to disagree comes with required notions: Listen, be honest, have some empathy and integrity. Seek the better angels in yourself. Do that for the republic.

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