Many Americans are up in arms, after it emerged that Missouri – a state with a history of slavery – held a legislative committee hearing on the teaching of critical race theory without the participation of any black people.
On Monday, the Missouri legislative committee, led by Republican senator Cindy O’Laughlin, held an invitation-only hearing concerning how students from kindergarteners through to 18-year-olds should be taught about race and racism.
However, the event has been widely slammed, after it emerged no one present at the hearing was black. In fact, O’Laughlin even admitted she wanted to use the session to hear more from parents who were upset by critical race theory lessons and who “have basically been turned away” by their local schools, according to local media.
Some people took to Twitter to vent their anger, describing the hearing as a “ridiculous travesty,” although others said they did not find it surprising at all in Missouri.
A tweet does not give ample opportunity to respond to this ridiculous travesty in my home state. As if The Dred Scott decision hasn’t provided enough ignominy.
— Frederick Fiddmont (@fkfidd) July 21, 2021
Even Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas condemned O’Laughlin’s hearing, saying those in attendance were “lining up on the wrong side of history.” He called the lack of black participants a “cruel” reminder that the state did not care about the voices of black parents or children. “Sadly not rare here,” he wrote.
Lucas’ perspective was strongly reinforced by others on social media, but some were less polite in their opposition. One person claimed that “Missouri [was] sticking with its slave state status with pride,” while another said that it was not even trying to hide its contempt for black people.
Proof of the racism they’re trying to deny
— L. Boggess (@LynaBoggess) July 21, 2021
“They’ve ALWAYS thought they could speak for us … this ain’t the 1800s and we’re NOT 12 years a Slave,” one person fumed.
Another pronounced the committee leaders as “insane” and suggested the slight may have been “viciously intended” by the Missouri GOP.
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The president of the Missouri chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Rod Chapel, labeled the meeting “ridiculous,” adding that the organizers clearly wanted only to gather information from those on one side of the argument.
In what is a traditionally conservative state, many people have balked at the teaching of critical race theory – the concept that racism is a core element of US history and remains systemically embedded both in US society in general and the legal system in particular.
Criticism of critical race theory teaching in Missouri has gone right to the top, with Governor Mike Parson tweeting his opposition on Tuesday to what he describes as “extreme teachings” in schools across the state.
In three tweets, the governor said critical race theory had “no business being taught in Missouri classrooms,” but said it should be up to the schools, with input from parents and teachers, to decide a way forward.
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