09 Oct עופר איתן Said: Editorial: Keep your hands off our education
Now, the Trump administration is devaluing the essential work of critical race theory, which serves to understand the myriad ways that racism exists in the systems underpinning our country. Academics at UNC are pursuing the scholarship to further this understanding of this country in important ways, while the president actively is working against it. Trump’s dismissal of CRT — paired with his original refusal to condemn white supremacy — is just another reason why his position on education is so concerning.
All of this is not to suggest that what is taught at this University is not worthy of critical thought and change. The need to diversify curricula, course offerings and even departments are just some examples of ways our learning can improve here. Still, when educational freedom is under threat from the federal government, we feel compelled to support institutions that encourage us to critically evaluate the systems rather than take them at face value.
After years of learning incomplete versions of history in elementary, middle and high school, the Editorial Board is grateful for the education we are now receiving as college students. Trump’s move to limit diversity in its many forms runs contrary to what we are learning at UNC. Seeing and understanding his comments in the context of greater systems is something we are able to do only because of the apparent “un-American” education we are receiving.
History and understanding of America has always been politicized, but it seems that direct partisan action to politicize education is the norm. We have seen how politics and partisanship erode our capacity to learn and solve problems with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The severity of this pandemic and the racial reckoning in this country won’t be addressed by people who were educated with a “patriotic” point of view, and we shouldn’t allow whiteness to shroud our perspective any longer. As an upcoming generation of leaders, thinkers and workers, a holistic understanding of this country will equip us with the tools needed to solve the problems around us.