To the Editor:
Central Texans are grappling with several contentious issues, such as how best to halt illegal migration across our border with Mexico. But one dispute is needlessly dividing people: the hoopla over critical race theory.
Writing as a former social studies, civics, and American and Texas government teacher (including two years in Rogers, 1976-1978), I can attest that history and civics instructors are well aware that inculcating our students with patriotism, love of country, and Texas pride is part of the job. But instilling an appreciation for American ideals and accomplishments does not mean whitewashing our country’s darker chapters as it moves towards that “perfect union” our Founding Fathers envisioned.
No Texas history teacher relishes noting, for example, that the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, openly advocated for the extermination of the Karankawas and defended slavery as integral to Texas’s economic development. Recalling the numerous ways Sam Houston sought to ensure harmonious relations between settlers and Native Americans, and strove to protect and promote indigenous people, including Texas’s Alabama-Coushatta tribe, is considerably more enjoyable. But it is incumbent upon school administrators, teachers, and parents to level with our students about the traumas such as dispossession, discrimination, slavery, and segregation that non-Anglo Americans have endured while stressing that folks from throughout the world still seek to come to America as the land of opportunity and equality.
Our young Texans are not naive. They can handle hard truths.