Open Letter to Indiana Senator Jean Breaux

As an Adjunct Instructor at a local University’s School of Education, I feel extremely honored to help teachers improve their ability to work cross-culturally.  Teachers need to teach, render decisions and recognize their own biases. The need has never been greater for teachers and communities to embrace multi-cultural education.

There are teachers who have the luxury of teaching homogeneous classes and as such they are told “you don’t have to teach about race or anything cross-cultural.  We’re all white here!” Their students enter the workforce unprepared for meaningful interaction or even relationships with differently cultured co-workers or neighbors. 

According to Pew Research, in 2016, 79% of public school teachers identified as white with numbers for Latinx teachers at 9% and African-descended teachers at 7%.  If we examine the numbers, how can we trust that teachers will be sensitive to our children’s differences?

The situation is much more dire so both some media outlets and conservative pundits began a negative public relations campaign to plumb emotional distress from the American public.  On September 2, 2020 episode of Tucker Carlson show, he said:  “It’s absolutely astonishing how critical race theory has pervaded every aspect of the federal government.  Conservatives need to wake up. This is an existential threat to the United States. And the bureaucracy, even under Trump, is being weaponized against core American values.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-inquiry/how-a-conservative-activist-invented-the-conflict-over-critical-race-theory

He was instrumental in weaponizing an academic research tool to change the complexion of schools and teaching across the country.  The argument has been literally been rendered moot as it has been explained endlessly: Critical Race Theory is not taught in elementary or high schools. It is being taught today in some schools in response to current controversy.  Teachers need to know what it is and how to respond to assertions about it. 

H.B. 1137 will not help alleviate fears from parents or conservatives.  White Fragility will continue until people in multi-cultural locales begin to have substantive conversations about respect, worth and community.  Let’s hope that day comes soon.

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