I was homeschooled from kindergarten to 12th grade. Like other students, I learned about slavery, Jim Crow, and the myriad other wicked prejudices against black Americans.
I did not, however, receive an education under the ideological framework of critical race theory.
CRT’s proponents increasingly insist we must either teach CRT or ignore the history of racism entirely. My homeschool education, as with many Americans’ public-school educations before CRT became fashionable, underscores how this is an obviously false choice. One need not teach CRT in order to teach about racism. My parents figured that out.
As an exercise, thinking about CRT from a homeschool perspective also helps illuminate how inappropriate these lesson plans would be, no matter the environment. I tried to imagine the tenets of CRT being taught in my own home classroom. It’s almost unthinkable.
For instance, while I learned about the history of racism in this country, my mother, father, and online tutors did not turn around and ask me if, as a white person, I was ashamed of the supposed role I played in upholding and perpetuating past and present injustices.
I was never told that, as a white person, I was responsible for what had happened. I was never told that my “whiteness” made me a toxic person. In short, I was taught history, not collective guilt.
Of course, whether our formal teachers are our parents, online tutors, private-school educators, or public-school educators should not matter in this sense. It is not necessary — indeed it would be as absurd as the scenario above — to insist on teaching CRT and its accompanying ideologies in order to foster a proper discussion of historical racism in America and its lingering effects.
While news outlets such as the AP or the New York Times report that efforts against CRT in public schools amount to restrictions on any teaching about historical racism, my parents somehow managed to teach the latter without the former. They did not pretend that “all men are created equal” applied, in practice, in the 18thcentury to all men. They did not lead me to believe that even after the Emancipation Proclamation, every barrier black Americans faced was removed.
In my homeschool education, I learned about racism without my parents accusing me of being “born racist,” as a Manhattan teacher taught students.
I learned about racism without being taught that capitalism is a form of oppression, as a curriculum being considered in California would teach.
I learned about racism without being brainwashed into the notion that police exist not to serve and protect our communities, but to oppress non-white Americans. This narrative was actively pushed on Seattle second-graders.
And I learned about racism without my parents and online tutors arguing for neo-segregationist policies, which some public schools have implemented under the guise of “affinity groups.”
Indeed, an honest appraisal of our nation’s history does not require our schools to teach the doctrines of critical race theory. I, for one, am quite glad my parents recognized that fact.