To The Daily Sun,
Mr. Steve Earle’s letter to the editor published 6/1/21 should be “Exhibit No. 1” in the argument to make the teaching of critical race theory mandatory in New Hampshire and the U.S.
His misunderstandings of American history are stunning. He says we fought a civil war to end slavery. He forgets, as most Americans do, that Black Americans were treated with brutality after the so-called “end” of slavery, what with the prevalence of convict leasing (“slavery by another name”), lynchings of thousands of blacks by whites with no accountability whatsoever for the perpetrators, the destruction of prosperous black communities such as Tulsa Oklahoma, and Jim Crow laws that were so evil they were studied and copied by the Nazis in the 1930s. He forgets that to this day, one of the most revered American military figures is Robert E. Lee, who actually was a terrorist and traitor to the U.S. who was responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of American GI’s.
Mr. Earle states that “we fought against segregation.” A few people, relatively speaking, fought against segregation, and many were beaten for it or lost their lives. Most white Americans actually fought against integration. Most white Americans called Martin Luther King Jr., during his lifetime, a communist and a Marxist and an agitator. Does that sound familiar? J. Edgar Hoover tried to blackmail King into committing suicide.
The New York Times and the Boston Globe both fought against integration of public schools in the 1970’s, creating a “busing” issue, saying in effect that Brown vs. Board of Education didn’t apply to schools in the north because of northern zoning laws.
Mr. Earle urges us to define this country by the “most” of us, not the “least” of us. OK, most American families (white American families) benefited from red-lining, social security and the GI Bill. Black American families, not so much.
I, for one, absolutely love many things about this country and love what it can become if it lives up to its stated ideals of liberty and justice for all. But we can’t start to correct the shortcomings unless we tell the truth about them. Misstatements of our history by Mr. Earle, and the closing of our collective minds to critical race theory, will only serve to divide us further and to perpetuate injustice.
Most Americans have no idea what systemic racism is, and don’t want to know. But the most sensitive and passionate issue throughout American history has been race. It is long overdue for us to finally study the history of racism and the realities of modern day systemic racism. If we deny reality and prohibit the discussion of reality, we can’t move forward.