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Should critical race theory be taught in South Florida schools?

'I think the home is the first classroom,' Charlene Farrington says
Books on systemic racism
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 18:27:37-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The debate surrounding critical race theory goes beyond the classroom and people are sounding off. Many in South Florida wonder is it a prejudicial ideological tool or an educational one?

MORE: Florida education leaders ban 'Critical Race Theory' from being taught in K-12 schools

For weeks it's been a theory denounced in school board meetings and even on moving vehicles.

Gov. Ron Desantis tweeted Thursday that the theory "teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other."

WPTV found a lot of parents who agree.

"I don’t think children should be focusing on the color of their skin -- focusing on past traumas because there's current education that children should be focusing on like math, English, writing," said Angelique Contreras, a parent of three children.

So WPTV wanted to know: what’s the reason for the opposition?

According to Spady Cultural Heritage Museum executive director and historian Charlene Farrington, books like Slavery by Another Name, The Negro Almanac, Taking Back Our Streets and The Color of Man are a good start.

"Critical race theory is actually learning about systemic racism: what it is, inspecting it, realizing that it's not a good thing and everybody coming together to change it," Farrington said. "That's what it is, and you can't change something that you don't know about."

Created by civil rights scholars four decades ago, it's an academic concept that traces how race is tied to everything from housing, to the prison system, finances and banking, policy and laws.

Charlene Farrington, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum executive director
Charlene Farrington explains what critical race theory is and why it should be taught.

"The structures in the U.S. are designed to maintain the current power structure -- bottom line," Farrington said.

It also expounds on the many omitted Black experiences in history. Farrington said it's been politicized to be seen as anti-white or anti-American, but instead the theory should be used as a tool to unify.

"Critical race theory should be called education," she said.

But should it be taught in schools?

"I think the home is the first classroom," said Farrington.

That is a moment of consensus between area parents and a historian amid so much debate.

"The only thing teachers should concern themselves with is teaching our children about math, science, English, writing -- and even sports and arts and music, nothing else," said Aydee Moser.