critical race theory

Black Parents in Texas Are Fighting School Book Bans That Seek to ‘Whitewash History'

The Round Rock Black Parents Association mobilized against calls to remove a book on the history of racist ideas in the U.S. from the school reading list


Over the past year, as a nationwide campaign to remove books by and about LGBTQ people or people of color from schools has heated up, Black parents have been getting organized, pushing back against challenges to books that deal with racism and racial identity and calling on schools to reinstate previously banned books.

In Texas, where complaints about a book on the history of racist ideas in the United States led to threats to remove it from the school’s reading list, thousands of parents, teachers and community members of the Round Rock School District signed a petition calling on the district's board of trustees to keep it on school shelves.

The Round Rock Black Parents Association was a crucial part of the mobilization against the attempt to ban “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You," which is by the Black authors Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and is a young adult adaptation of Kendi's "Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," which won the national book award for nonfiction in 2016.

One way the parents association did this was organizing groups such as ACT Anti-racists Coming Together to speak out in support of diverse literature at a local school board meeting. 

“Taking away that book would have completely whitewashed history, and that’s not what we are for,” Ashley Walker, 33, one of more than 400 members of the Round Rock Black Parents Association, said. 

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The term critical race theory has a different meaning now from when it was initially taught by legal scholars in the '70s and '80s. States have passed laws banning teaching the concept, which originated in law journals, and recent political campaigns have used it as a wedge issue, leaving teachers scared that any race-related lesson will break the law. Insider Voices of Color reporter Gwen Aviles explains.
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