Tonight at 9 p.m., on “Mouthwash,” John Schmitz’s FB podcast, the topic: Critical Race Theory (“CRT”). Florida’s education regs say it is a view that racism “is embedded in our society and legal systems to uphold supremacy of white persons.”
After the Civil War, the Party that pushed for equality was the Republican. The Democratic Party came to rely upon the “Solid South” for votes of electors and Congress. When President Truman ordered the military be integrated, the Democratic Party lost support in the South.
In 1954 the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that “that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 495 (1954).
Chief Justice Earl Warren had been nominated to the Court by Republican President Eisenhower, but resistance to integration and civil rights became more strident among Democratic members of Congress, some of whom broke away as “Dixiecrats.”
When President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil and Voting Rights acts, he said he had lost a generation of the South for the Democratic Party. Johnson was deeply committed to civil rights. Some in the GOP saw opportunity and embraced racism to get Southern votes.
In 1966 Texas Western (now UTEP), with an all-Black starting lineup, defeated Kentucky and its all-white lineup in the Men’s NCAA tournament final game, a cultural as well as an athletic win. Black people in TV commercials were rare.
“Star Trek” is considered to have portrayed the first interracial kiss (1968) and “Julia” became the first TV show with an African-American woman in the lead role. And still opposition to busing to desegregate schools was sometimes violent.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of this country’s greatest people, but when he was assassinated in April, 1968, a Harris poll showed his unfavorability rating at 75%. Our culture and our laws were white-dominated. Change is not quick \or easy.
The Voting Rights Act had an immediate impact: 250,000 new black voters registered; in 9 of 13 southern states more than 50% of African Americans registered. But recently some of the Act’s provisions have been voided by The Court. Vouchers have undermined desegregation.
This country never was great so long as Black people were enslaved, indigenous peoples killed, and women and Black and indigenous people denied the vote. After 1954 we caught glimpses of greatness. Only if we teach our full history can we hope to achieve greatness.
Few would say German children should not learn about the atrocities committed by the leaders of their country 1933-45. Then-General Eisenhower had German citizens tour camps liberated from the Nazis. He did not want them to deny what had occurred.
We do neither ourselves nor our future any favors by whitewashing history. CRT is a clever label to whip up resistance to education. Lincoln said, “Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe.” Those people include our children.