SIDNEY, NE — One Nebraska state senator recently made it clear where he stands on teaching critical race theory in the state's schools.
In his latest column, senator Steve Erdman of Bayard, expressed his opposition of teaching critical race theory (CRT), saying he believes it is a, "dangerous program for the education of our children."
In the writing, Erdman said racism is wrong and it has played a significant role in American history. He goes on to say that CRT goes "completely off the rails" when trying to correct that moving forward.
According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the definition of CRT is, "an intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans."
Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts has also said he is opposed to teaching CRT in Nebraska. State gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen said the same while in Sidney on June 28.
According to Education Week, as of June 29, 26 states have introduced or passed legislation to limit the teaching of critical race theory and similar concepts in their schools. Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and have no such legislation introduced.
You can read Erdman's full column below:
Last week the National Education Association, which is commonly referred to as the teacher’s union, adopted a measure to combat attacks on Critical Race Theory. The National Education Association is an extremist Left-wing organization with a long history of endorsing programs which undermine the foundations of our traditional Western educational system.
Critical Race Theory is important to all Nebraskans because it is part of the new education standards being proposed to the Nebraska Department of Education. Should these new standards be adopted, Critical Race Theory would become part of the standardized curriculum taught in all of our public schools. There is much that is wrong with Critical Race Theory, so today I would like to share why I believe it is a dangerous program for the education of our children.
By definition, Critical Race Theory (CRT) denies that race is a natural, biological or physical attribute of human beings and teaches instead that race is a socially constructed or invented category used to exploit people of color. Consequently, CRT holds that every American social institution is inherently racist and that all white people are automatically born into a position of privilege.
There is no question that racism is wrong and that it has played a significant role in American history, but how we correct that problem going forward is where CRT goes completely off the rails. The primary problem with CRT is that it seeks to completely overthrow our traditional American culture. For instance, Derrick A. Bell, who is considered to be the father of CRT, wrote these words about CRT in a 1995 article entitled Whose Afraid of Critical Race Theory?: “As I see it, critical race theory recognizes that revolutionizing a culture begins with the radical assessment of it,” and the Cornell Law School’s own entry for Critical Legal Studies (CLS), from which CRT is derived, states that “Many in the CLS movement want to overturn the hierarchical structures of modern society.”
Because many of those who aggressively promote CRT want to overthrow American society altogether, their program trashes our American heritage and has no end game other than the collapse of every American institution. To the contrary, I love our American heritage and I want to preserve it for future generations. Moreover, I believe our students should be taught the reasons why our American values have stood the test of time.
This CRT notion of tearing down societal norms applies on the individual level as well. Consequently, anyone who engages in the CRT program will find themselves locked in a maze with no way of escape. For example, there simply is no way for a white person to ever end their white privilege. Instead, CRT seeks to keep all white people locked in a constant state of guilt over their whiteness, and this is why so many critics of CRT believe it is an intolerant, divisive, and racist program unfit for teaching in our K-12 schools.
Instead of teaching CRT, a better program would be the one promote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially when he declared in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C. that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. I believe that our K-12 education curriculum should teach respect for our American heritage as well as respect for our American values, respect for other cultures, and respect for every human being regardless of the color of their skin.