CYNN: What Youngkin is wrong about critical race theory – The Cavalier Daily

Right now, it’s old news that the GOP swept away all three offices in the state of Virginia and regained a majority in the House of Delegates in last November’s election. With Glenn Youngkin defeats Terry McAuliffe to become Virginia’s 74th governor, the 2022 midterms look bleaker than ever for Democrats, who have struggled to maintain unity since seizing control of Congress and the White House in recent years. . As Virginians, we find ourselves with an uncertain future. After the state voted for President Biden by 10 dots in 2020, Youngkin’s victory is an upheaval, establishing Republican leadership in a state that was evidently following a blue trend for years.

This raises an important question for Virginians – what can we expect from Youngkin’s leadership? The reality of the situation is that Youngkin’s victory will reflect a new direction for Virginian education — one that threatens to set our state back rather than forward.

Glenn Youngkin ran on a Platform aimed at both appealing to the Virginia Republican base while courting independent voters. Appellation electoral integrity as his main issue in the Republican primary, he continued to distance himself from former President Donald Trump and downplayed his traditional conservative views on abortion and gun rights – even admitting in a secretly recorded video that he would not speak publicly about his views on abortion before the election. Youngkin, however, struck gold through education. The governor-elect captured parents’ frustrations over COVID-19 lockdowns and fears that critical race theory is being taught in public schools. Taking advantage of a quote from Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe that parents should “[not] tell schools what they should teach, Youngkin promised to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory on his first day as governor. While that wasn’t the only reason he got the governorship, it was an important reason.

The problem? Critical race theory has become a hot topic – one that has galvanized conservatives across the country – but few people are able to define correctly what it is. When worried parents and experts castigate critical race theory, they envision a classroom — usually filled with young children — where white students are ashamed of their race and students of color are elevated above their peers. whites. The truth is much less insidious. critical race theory is defined as an academic discipline centered on the idea that race is a social construct and that institutional racism is rooted in legal institutions. But critical race theory is mostly taught in graduate schools, not at the K-12 level. Media representatives for the Virginia Department of Education have even publicly stated that it is not in the Commonwealth Learning Standards.

Instead, what opponents of critical race theory really fear are more inclusive approaches to education in this country. They Claim that teaching about racism or the history of prejudice and privilege in the United States will convince white children to hate each other or pit students of different races against each other. They Argue that no child should be uncomfortable in the classroom. But isn’t the very nature of education to make people feel uncomfortable? Learning is an inherently difficult process. It forces individuals to think for themselves, wrestle with ideas they are unfamiliar with, and come out of the process a more balanced person. Teaching about race isn’t going to make white children hate the color of their skin, but will make them more aware of how color affects society – and that’s precisely what opponents of critical race theory want. to prevent. Anti-racism education is – and should be – uncomfortable, because our racist past is uncomfortable.

Glenn Youngkin himself said that children should not be taught “to see everything through a racing lens.” But this statement only applies to white children, whose skin color is considered a defect in this country. For children of color, race is something they should always be aware of, from birth. It affects everything from how they are perceived to how they are expected to behave. Racism has always been strongly associated with social merit in the United States. We shouldn’t have to tiptoe around this fact for the sake of those who have never had to look into these issues. By projecting a view of history tainted by white-centric biases, we perpetuate a status quo that has repeatedly silenced marginalized voices. If we hope to move forward as a country and make real progress towards a more equitable society, discussing the existence and effects of institutional racism is a necessity. To be silent is to be complicit. To be an agent of change is to be informed.

Samantha Cynn is an opinion columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at [email protected].

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. The columns represent the opinions of the authors only.

Sharon D. Cole