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Video: Del. Alfonso Lopez Rips the Idea of Stifling the Teaching of “Divisive” Concepts, America’s FULL History – the “Great,” “Wonderful,” “Awful” and “Ugly”

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See below for video of an excellent speech (note: I came in a bit late, but got most of it) by Del. Alfonso Lopez, delivered earlier today on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates. As VAPLAN explains, Del. Lopez asked “How can you teach why Mildred & Richard Loving couldn’t get married w/o being divisive? What do you do if folks don’t even see the problem? We can’t sugarcoat the sin of racism but we also can’t ignore the systemic racism is real & still felt today.” Del. Lopez added:

  • “When you close discussion of America’s racial history by citing ‘division’ – a subjective condition that turns on any student’s or really any parent’s claim to feel resentment or guilt – these policies directly threaten any teacher who pursues a sustained, critical understanding of the deeper causes, legacies or contemporary implications of racism.”
  • “We know from the history of race in America just where sanitized, whitewashed versions of our past lead – to assumptions that inequalities in health and wealth are simply inherent features of American life. Imagine trying to teach the American story in a classroom without talking about the inequities of wealth accumulation due to centuries of stolen labor?”
  • “That’s the problem – when people assume that just because they don’t see, feel or hear about an issue it must not be happening at all…We’ve got to connect the dots between the past to the issues of today…We can’t sugarcoat our national sin of slavery or the systematic and structural racism that exists in our country.”
  • “I also think we need to push back against those who insist on spreading the falsehood that diversity, equity and truth in education is all about indoctrination…Folks today aren’t being blamed for the sins of the past. People are simply asking, begging, for the stories…to be heard, just as White stories have been heard for generations…and those stories need to be complete – they need to talk about the great, wonderful, groundbreaking achievements and founding principles of our nation, as well as the sad, ugly and awful aspects of our history and how they are still being felt today…”
  • “The only way we can truly grow and heal is if we look at painful truths about our past and deal with them…We need to be responsible for righting the wrongs of our forefathers…The true story about slavery and race in America should give us nightmares and they should be taught to everyone…First, we have to recognize that there’s a problem in the first place…”

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