LETTER: There is room to challenge institutions without polarizing races

Santa Rosa Press Gazette
Letters to the editor

Governor DeSantis said that teaching critical race is polarizing and is banned. In my opinion, we can’t be naïve.

There is room to challenge institutions without polarizing races. This awareness about our institutions was highlighted by the killing of George Floyd. There is an adage “They that don’t know history are bound to repeat it.” I like to say “Only if we understand, can we care.”  

Schools can broach racial topics in a way that allows for open discussion. Schools can do this by showing where we were, and where we need to be in our race relations. The status quo, or waiting for the present generation to pass away, is not acceptable. America needs healing now. 

First off, stereotyping or pointing fingers is bad. Just teaching white children to accept blame makes us miss out on the big picture of awareness, which leads to healing.  

Secondly, teach that slavery is part of mankind’s past and America too has this dark history that includes slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, racial profiling and redlining by banks.

One thing I’ve learned from my teen programs at the Milton Community Center is that simply teaching America’s dark history is a danger. It puts in teens’ heads that they are inferior. Many Black teens already walk around confused and don’t seem to know what is bothering them. Teaching anything that makes them feel inferior, even if well-intentioned, puts them more in the dumps 

Lastly, only show America’s dark history by pointing to the proud side of the African-Americans experience. They drained our swamps, built ports, railroads and even the White House, grew cash crops needed to become a major trading power; and even giving our nation a soul with music from the blues to R&B to rap.  

We actually have white history month 12 times a year. Let’s also teach history in a way that builds Black pride.  

Marc Livanos, Milton