(NewsNation Now) — The debate around critical race theory in schools has elicited strong reactions from parents across the country as some state legislatures mull possibly banning it.
Critical race theory originated in the mid-70s. It examines how race and racism influence American politics, culture and law, and says racism is embedded in its institutions.
Legislatures across the country have launched debates if it should be allowed in school curriculum.
Arkansas and Idaho have banned teaching the theory while it’s up for debate in Oklahoma and Louisiana. Texas is advancing legislation that would bar it and would not require teachers to talk about current events.
Four parents with two polar opposite stances on the issue share one thing in common, the passion behind their stance.
Professional historian Jeremy Davis is a biracial father to two young girls in Oklahoma. He supports teaching critical race theory since it illuminates the darker parts of our past.
“We have to not be afraid to tell our children the truth,” said Davis.
He doesn’t want his children to learn history solely through the lens of American exceptionalism.
“There has to come a time when sheltering them from important pieces of history is not OK,” said Davis. “It’s not to villainize ‘you’re a terrible person because you were born white.’ That’s just as ridiculous as saying I’m going to be a criminal because I was born Black.”
Author, mother and home education advocate Sam Sorbo said that’s exactly what it does. She believes it chains children of all races and backgrounds to a single philosophy and compared it to “child abuse.”
“And for children of color, that ideology is that white people hate them and that they have no hope of ever succeeding. And that they need the ‘system’ to come and rescue them because they are inferior. That is the message that it’s sending, said Sorbo. “And to the white children, there’s nothing they can do. They are cursed with this gene of racism.”
The founder of Parents Against Critical Theory, Scott Mineo, father of two high schoolers just outside D.C., believes critical race theory only results in unhealthy outcomes for students.
“One, this is going to create racists. Two, It’s going to create a mindset with a lot of white kids that they will be carrying around a thousand-pound bag of white guilt on their back for the rest of their life unnecessarily,” said Mineo.
Mineo added, “The entire premise. There’s not one element under critical race theory that is acceptable.”
Dr. Christina Henson, a radiation oncologist and mother to two toddlers in Oklahoma City, believes the “target” is on white people, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Yea, in my mind, it’s not teaching kids that they’re bad people or they’re racist because they’re white,” said Henson.
Her state currently has a bill on the governor’s desk to ban critical race theory.
“It’s just opening up honest dialogue that I feel like has been suppressed for many years,” said Henson.
She said including the theory in the curriculum would also teach children how to navigate the world with more sensitivity and acceptance of diversity. Something she hopes for her children.
“What is an appropriate way to speak to somebody? How do we treat people with respect? And again, I think that empathy is so important to that. And it does require learning uncomfortable things,” said Henson.