Two top-ranked state Republicans issued a statement Friday condemning the Durham City Council for adopting a resolution that supports the teaching of critical race theory in public schools.
Senate Leader Phil Berger, (R-Rockingham) and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican from Greensboro, said critical race theory is dangerous and divisive.
The controversial academic discipline examines how American racism has shaped law and public policy. Most educators say it is not taught in public schools.
Critics fear critical race theory will be used to teach young, impressionable students that America and white people are inherently and irredeemably racist.
“I’m not aware of anybody who objects to teaching about our country’s racial history, but that’s not all that adherents of this dangerous doctrine advocate,” Berger said. “They teach that ‘present discrimination’ is necessary, and that a ‘postracial’ society is ‘the most sophisticated racist idea ever produced.’ These are extreme and dangerous concepts.”
Policy Watch took a look at Republican’s well-orchestrated opposition to critical race theory in a story published this week.
Meanwhile Robinson, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, who contends systemic racism doesn’t exist, said schools must offer a balanced look at the past.
“The dark parts of our history should be taught in schools, but it should be taught along with how we overcame those things like slavery and Jim Crow,” Robinson said.
Paul Scott, a Durham activist who pushed for the Durham resolutions, applauded the City Council and school board for standing up against conservatives who support House Bill 324, controversial legislation to restrict what public schools can teach students about the nation’s racial past. HB 324 has been approved by the House. It awaits Senate action.
“While other cities across the country are being bullied by the anti-Critical Race Theory mob, Durham has built a wall around its borders to protect our children,” Scott said. “Conservatives would have us believe that you can have slaves without slaves owners, racism without racists and white supremacy without white supremacists.”
The city council’s resolution calls on state and federal lawmakers to oppose HB 324. It also asks them to ensure that Black History and “critical race theory” are taught in public schools. The Durham Public Schools also adopted a resolution opposing HB 324.
Berger’s and Robinson’s denunciation of the Durham city council resolution follows GOP condemnation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education for hiring anti-racist activist and historian Ibram X. Kendi to speak at its Summer Leadership Conference.
“To those who say Critical Race Theory isn’t in North Carolina schools: The state’s second-largest school district paid $25,000 to leading Critical Race Theory proponent Ibram X. Kendi for an event just last week,” Berger said in a statement.