My Turn: HB 544 embraces the values of New Hampshire residents

For the Monitor
Published: 4/21/2021 9:00:05 AM

I need to rebut the My Turns “HB 544 is bad for civics education” (Monitor, April 13) and “HB 544 is wrong for New Hampshire” (Monitor, April 15).

HB 544 eliminates the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the discussion of issues of race and the other “isms” we are addressing today. CRT is a toxic theory devoid of facts that draws erroneous conclusions based on the opinions of some. CRT declares white people as irredeemable racists. These theorists want to poison the minds of our children by getting them to believe they are racists because of the color of their skin.

This toxic theory tells people of color (POC) that white people are racists. So, how can POC be a friend to their fellow students if white students are racist? Parents need to protect their children from this toxic thinking.

The reason why I think NH residents share the value of eliminating CRT is because I believe my fellow citizens embrace the fact that America is a kinder, gentler nation. America is the city on a hill that the world looks to for an example of the equality of human rights and freedom.

CRT rejects the work and idea of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that says “Judge the people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” CRT theorists call King’s idea dangerous. That is toxic thinking. America has been moving in that direction of Dr. King’s idea for the last 50 years. We want to teach our children and share with our employees that we want to act in the way Dr. King has prescribed, not the CRT idea of systemic racism.

The articles say that the bill bars the training of diversity and inclusion. This is not true. HB 544 specifically supports training in diversity and inclusion. In barring CRT, the bill bars the concept of “equity.” Equity is the code word for one group being better than another. Our country and our training should always be about teaching “equality,” not “equity.” We need to be careful about the words that sound good, but are a detriment to achieving “equality.”

We need to teach our children that all are created equal, not that they are racists because of the color of their skin. CRT teaches exclusion of white people from the moral authority of achieving equality. We need to be about true, inclusive thinking, not exclusion.

The articles go on to say that HB 544 infringes on free speech. Free speech means the inclusion of all forms of facts on the issues. President Biden and the National Education Association (NEA) endorse the poor journalism of The 1619 Project, but they prohibit the facts in The 1776 Project. That is not free speech.

HB 544 does not prohibit the discussion of our past. It protects us from only being taught the sins of our past and leaving out America’s blessings. Our students would only be taught about the cruelty of slavery, Jim Crow laws and attempts at creating barriers to Reconstruction.

If we were really interested in education, not indoctrination, we would demand that the curriculum include the facts, not theory, that the Republicans in the North were fierce abolitionists and the Democrats fought fiercely to hold on to slavery.

Our children should be taught that President Lincoln gave a message in the Lincoln – Douglas debates that “a nation divided against itself will not stand.” That message propelled Lincoln in to the White House, the first Republican president in America. Douglas, who advocated the preservation of slavery, was a Democrat.

Our students need to know that 300,000 soldiers in blue in our Civil War died to abolish slavery in America. That loss of life was greater than American deaths in all of wars we fought in defense of liberty combined. This is hardly the history of a nation that is systemically racist.

But these facts of history destroy the CRT and systemic racist argument. That is why people who advocate opposition to HB 544 do not want these blessing taught to our children and employees.

I could not agree more that all matters related to racial bias and sex discrimination should be “fully discussed.” But they are not. The NEA and President Biden want to prohibit our students and employees from learning about the blessings of America. This is truly biased thinking on their part.

Let’s address the claims of education not indoctrination. The two themes that let parents and students know they are being educated are one, to have a balance of facts of both sides of the issues presented and two, that there is a free and open debate of the pros and cons of these issues.

The NEA and President Biden are opposed to these two points. They just want a biased presentation of our sins. This is because CRT is opposed to the approach of “color blindness” because CRT is opposed to equality. They want equity.

The article also says that NH Civics favors a balanced approach. They go on to say that they are interested in developing the critical thinking analytical skills in our students. I am a student at UNH. My course is Critical Thinking in Business Law. I was taught that to be a critical thinker, one must present all of the facts in the case that relate to the issue at hand. If I did not present all of the facts, I would be marked down on my grade.

HB 544 will not exasperate the cultural war, it will end it. If you are a student of CRT, you would know as I do, that CRT is all about fanning the flames of the cultural war they started. When one advocates taking away the right of individuals in a free society and giving those rights to groups as CRT proposes, you start class warfare.

(Joseph Mendola, former Kearsarge Regional School board member, lives in Warner.)

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