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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

We can’t keep whitewashing America’s history

In+his+latest+column%2C+opinion+writer+Ozioma+Mgbahurike+discusses+the+importance+of+teaching+racism+in+classrooms+across+the+country+in+order+to+promote+proper+race+education.%26%23160%3B
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In his latest column, opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike discusses the importance of teaching racism in classrooms across the country in order to promote proper race education. 

The Texas legislature has had one eventful session. If you have not been paying attention or are just plain tired of the constant wave of bad news that comes from Texas Republicans, you are not at fault at all. The bills passed so far include one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, the passing of permitless carry for handguns and a bill to withdraw state funding from sports teams that don’t play the national anthem at games. Now, the latest attack is on our education system with Republicans banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools be- cause, well, why not?
Let us begin with what Critical Race Theory, or CRT, actually is, because Republican lawmakers across the country will have you believe this topic is the new culture war that will lead to America’s destruction. The GOP claims CRT is an agenda that teaches everyone that all white people are irredeemably racist and will further sow racial division in America. After the bill was approved by the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Steve Toth stated, “At a time when racial tensions are at a boiling point, we don’t need to burden our kids with guilt for racial crimes they had nothing to do with.”
The bill is built on a lie because, in actuality, CRT is a means of studying the structures of American society through the lens of race. Created by Harvard University’s first Black law professor, civil rights attorney Derrick Bell, its aim is not to blame white people but rather to study how racist laws have significantly prevented other minorities from achieving the same level of success.
The bill aims to ban public schools and open-enrollment charter schools from teaching CRT. Despite opposition from advocacy groups who believe it is essential to have uncomfortable conversations about race in this country, the Texas Senate approved the bill in an 18-13 vote. The bill is yet another ex- ample of America putting white individuals’ comfort over the safety of people of color. By effectively whitewashing the stories we tell about this country’s history, we are once again left with the idea that the United States of America is an exceptional country with no need for improvement. However, that idea is not a reality for everyone in this nation.
Since this country’s foundation, we have not collectively examined what it means to have a nation built on the institution of slavery. Even worse, we fail to acknowledge the legacy it leaves behind in our society. Providing an education that aims to be pleasant reading rather than thought-provoking ends up raising a generation that fails to understand the oppression their fellow citizens suffer.
Another reason why the GOP hates the CRT is because it goes against the argument of American Meritocracy, it’s not the color of your skin, but the quality of your character that determines your worth to society. As much as we wish that sentiment to be true, that is an idea that doesn’t agree with reality. We can’t keep saying people of color have gotten their freedom because America is the land of opportunity. The truth is we have gotten those rights, despite the overwhelming pushback racist policies this country has presented us.
CRT is not some way to indoctrinate students into some leftist agenda. Instead, it simply provides our nation’s history and gives an explanation of why things are the way they are right now. It is a means to explain why a Black American family is worth 10 percent of the average white family. Or why in 2015 Hispanic women earned 58 cents on every dollar earned by a white man. CRT provides the necessary argument that racism is not an individual problem, but rather something systemic. Failing to challenge the structures of white supremacy will only promote it further and our country will never achieve the exceptionalism it so proudly boasts.
We can’t move forward as a nation if there are still institutions that promote the lie that the Confederacy was founded on the need for “state’s rights” rather than to preserve the institution of slavery. We already failed one generation with the teachings of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a women’s group that was highly influential in promoting Confederate leaders as heroes fighting for a lost cause. The stakes are too high to lose another generation.
American author and activist James Baldwin once said, “The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
For example, take the stories of cowboys and Native Americans in which the cowboy always defeated those he deemed as “savage” and “uncivilized.” As a child, we are conditioned to always root for the cowboy because of the way white supremacy works.

We were taught that his mission was necessary for the success of civilization. However, upon further examination, you realize the Native Americans, as true as that story was because we have not fully acknowledged the genocidal treatment of those individuals, are also a symbol for those not white. We saw it again when Japanese Americans were interned during World War II and in the creation of extremely racist policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. There is no feeling more heartbreaking than learning that your history has either been watered down or just simply ignored because a few individuals feel uncomfortable about it. We shouldn’t rely on the HBO show Watchmen to teach millions of Americans about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.
Education should be transformative, not just satisfying. It is impossible to solve any problem without first acknowledging what the problem is in the first place. By failing to have the necessary conversations around race that this country needs, we devalue the everyday experiences of people of color. CRT provides the necessary argument that racism is not an individual problem, but rather something systemic. Failure to challenge the structures of white supremacy will only promote it further and our country will never achieve the exceptionalism it so proudly boasts. We cannot continuously fail to hold a mirror to our institutions and deny millions of Americans the opportunity to live, rather than simply survive.
Ozioma Mgbahurike is a junior electrical engineer and opinion writer for The Battalion.
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