Andre Perry: What rational parents must do to combat education conspiracy theories
Andre Perry writes in Hechinger Reports about the current “parent’s rights” rallying cries, when we’ve heard them before, and how to push back.
ecently, the right-wing magazine The Federalist published a warning to parents in the form of a conspiratorial, unhinged and poorly supported op-ed titled, “If The Left Ends Parent Rights, You Might Need A License To Raise Your Own Child.” In the piece, author Stella Morabito built on the hysteria around critical race theory to forewarn readers of an alleged concerted push by the so-called radical left to license parenting.
“[L]icensing of parents might still sound fringy, but it’s an old social engineering dream that dies hard,” wrote Morabito. “Unless there is aggressive and sustained pushback, you can count on the idea invading the mainstream. So parents can’t let down their guard.”
Yes. The idea is more than fringy, but the call-to-action is no joke.
Power-hungry politicians and bigots have always appealed to white supremacist values to achieve their political goals. In the 1950s, politicians latched onto white resistance to desegregation by turning busing into a trigger for white aggression. Children had been bused since the 1920s. But after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and the subsequent rulings to enforce it, busing became synonymous with a court-ordered invasion of white privilege. White women fought on the frontlines of the racist resistance to Black families integrating white schools. Politicians and right-wing activists amplified their fury and turned it into a movement.
School busing — not the fact that adults were attacking school buses with rocks and spitting on children — became the supposed threat to democracy. The practice of manufacturing fear around integration has been repeated ever since, with every advance in the Civil Rights Movement facing a racist backlash, including the current uproar over critical race theory, as inaccurately depicted, following the Black Lives Matter protests of the last two years.
Many of the mama bears coming out to protest now are direct political descendants of the white evangelicals who felt embittered about Supreme Court decisions and state policies around school desegregation, the teaching of evolution, the expansion of the curriculum to include multicultural voices, comprehensive sex ed, and the removal of compulsory, school sanctioned prayer. A recent article in the Christian Post lists the grievances for these parents: “We’re fed up with the pollution of our children’s minds with LGBT pedophilia and porn, racism, colorism, anti-capitalism, religious bigotry, anti-free speech, and other anti-American propaganda.”