Opinion By John Caynon
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Litchfield Mirror, LCTV, LCM, the Town of Litchfield or it’s elected officials.
Critical Race Theory – My understanding of it is that the US government and state laws were codified in a way to support systemic racism. That seems to frighten so many people. My thoughts are it is important that true history is taught in school. Are our kids in this town being taught these things in Social Studies? We should talk about slave codes that made people less than others by restricting their movement, ability to learn to read (they lost fingers or toes), and many other things. We shouldn’t teach about the Constitution and the wonderful idea it was without also talking about the 3/5 clause that made some people less than. even though we believe it to be the land of the free, people were enslaved, and we ultimately had to incorporate an amendment to ensure that even though they were born here, that unlike others, they were made citizens years after their ancestors were born here. We should learn that for years, Jim Crow laws like requiring blacks to work, but not whites or they would be arrested or right to bear arms for blacks were limited, and segregation implemented alongside of Woodrow Wilson’s policies of segregating the Civil Service and the segregation of the military also support that codified racism. Or that we shouldn’t talk about the fact that we fought tyranny and oppression overseas in WW1 and WW2, and afterwards there were 25 race riots in the US in 1919 due to the angst of people who had more freedom in Europe but were relegated second class citizens again. During WW2, they weren’t allowed to benefit from things like the GI Bill, didn’t allow vets to move into housing specifically created for vets (Levittown clause 25, houses could only be sold or resold to members of the Caucasian race) and allow them to build equity to buy better houses or educate their children. A lot of this impacted future generations, and people need to understand that although they didn’t specifically create systemic racism, but many of them benefitted, but may not have realized it. So if your grandfather, a vet was in Levittown(homes specifically built for vets (no blacks allowed) and say my grandfather couldn’t get a home to build equity there, the fact that your grandfather utilized his equity to put your dad through school, then left your dad that home when he passed, your father was able to use that generational wealth to help you and your siblings, whereas government rules put in place would have prevented me from that same benefit, that is all a part of systemic racism. You didn’t do it, but you would have benefitted from that example. So saying “Why can’t “XYZ” pull themselves up by their bootstraps like my family did” can be viewed with a different perspective. This isn’t about bashing a country or a race but realizing that some things that made us great came at a cost, maybe not to you, but to others and it’s OK to empathize with that.