Sunday, October 31, 2021

Bill Crawford: Will Gunn and Reeves overturn Barbour’s exemplary law?

During the period 1976 to 1979 then state GOP chairman Charles Pickering and gubernatorial candidate Gil Carmichael worked hard to attract minorities but with minimal success. 

In November 1981 the Memphis Commercial Appeal spread across the top of its Tri-State section this headline, “Official Urges GOP to Correct Its ‘Antiblack’ Image.” The article began, “A letter from a Republican Party county chairman to the statewide GOP chairman urges that the party correct its ‘serious image problems’ among blacks in an effort to wrest more black votes from Democratic control.” Sen. Thad Cochran responded but it wasn’t until the spring of 1983 that one of those changes happened when the Senator finally coaxed the state executive committee to expand from 30 to 35 members and add three minority members. Again, this had minimal impact on attracting blacks to the party.

Indeed, major Republican candidates tend to take political positions off-putting to black voters. However, some do pursue more conciliatory policies once elected. An illuminating example is former Gov. Haley Barbour. 

In 2003 challenger Haley Barbour used opposition to changing the state flag to help take down Democratic incumbent Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Remember the slogan, “Keep the flag - Change the governor”? But, once elected, Barbour actively included minorities in his administration. 

Then, In 2006, as veteran columnist Mac Gordon noted recently, “Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law a bill that created the nation’s first civil rights course. The governor said, ‘To not know history is to repeat it. To learn the good things … and the bad things about Mississippi and America is important for every Mississippian.’” The law provides that all kindergartners to 12th-graders be exposed to civil rights education, e.g. the Emmett Till lynching, Freedom Summer, etc.

In 2011 Barbour got the Legislature to approve funding for the state’s Civil Rights Museum saying this would be, “an appropriate way to do justice to the Civil Rights Movement and to stand as a monument to remembrance and reconciliation.”

That said, national politics these days looks to shove Republicans’ policy efforts on to the off-putting pathway by making critical race theory a top campaign issue. 

Last June, Texas passed legislation that effectively bans the teaching of critical race theory by prescribing how teachers can talk about race and history in classrooms. 

In August at the Neshoba County Fair, Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn promised to pass similar legislation for Mississippi. And the former British Brexit politician who now heads the Mississippi Center for Public Policy further inflamed the issue by labeling the theory Marxist and claiming it is invading our schools. 

There is little evidence of critical race theory being taught in Mississippi schools. It is more of a university social studies myopic. Yet, the off-putting invective about it will be heard far and wide for months to come.

It will be informative to see if Reeves’ and Gunn’s politics, in their zeal to fight this non-issue, get the Legislature to overturn the school policy established by Barbour’s exemplary law.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice” – Ephesians 4:31.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson. 


Anonymous said...

Mr. Crawford, there is a hell of a lot of difference between the teaching of civil rights history in classrooms and teaching the "critical race theory" that the national left is promoting - and has been for decades.

One could block the CRT without overturning the reasonable law that was passed and enacted in 2011. But of course you know that - just couldn't pass up the chance to take another swipe at your nemisis, Governor Reeves - even when it is not on the radar of your financiers, the MS Hospital Association.

Anonymous said...

Just watch them eat one of their own today and farther isolate themselves from diversity !

Anonymous said...

12:57pm Critical Race Theory has been taught in Law Schools since first published in the 1940's.

ALL it is a review of Jim Crow type laws that made it more difficult for minorities to receive justice.


Cowards all if you don't!

Anonymous said...

2:02 - it's 'further'. Why do you self-important folk continue, non-stop, to blow your perceived credibility by butchering the language? It's more than apparent...It's annoying. Otherwise, your post makes no sense. How does one immersed in diversity isolate himself from it?

Anonymous said...

"There is little evidence of critical race theory being taught in Mississippi schools"? Bill, that's horse crap. It's a course at Ole Miss Law Law 473. It's part of a national program, always characterized as "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" with faculty slots established at all institutes of higher learning to implement even more quotas and handouts and affirmative action.

It's not theory- it's a dictate. To erase whites, divide the nation into controllable and "special" identity groups, and to end democracy.
China, with its Muslim concentration camps and surveillance society, applauds it. No battles, just our college campuses destroying middle America. A war on Normal.

Straight out of 60s Socialism and 90's "ecofeminism" and on and on. Our kids are not being programmed by just a Zinn textbook, but by generations of America hating sociology majors and their lawyers and activist judges.

Please. Wake up to the Woke.

Anonymous said...

CRT is American History. They should start teaching in the 1st grade.

Anonymous said...

I went to work for The State in '69. In '70, all of us who were newbies were sent to MSU for two weeks for what the agency called 'sensitivity training'.

The agency had just started hiring blacks (most without degrees but whites were required to have them). We were sent to StarkVegas and housed together at the old alumni house, not mixed, though. We were supposedly taught that those of us who were of opposite color would not bite each other. MSU had the contract and made a running ton of money off this program for a number of years.

A collateral memory from that period was the time about ten of us went to The Crystal Club in Greenwood for lunch. There was one black employee among the group. We were not allowed entry. Probably '73.

Now they want to teach our grandchildren that we're all going to hell.

Anonymous said...

5:57 - The problem with your suggestion is this: Every teacher should approach subject matter, not from a point of opinion and bias, but from a fact-based, non-biased, exploratory avenue...allowing students to form their own opinions.

CRT will never work since every instructor/teacher will walk in the door with bias and unbending opinion and will be centered on brain-washing and telling student WHAT to think instead of encouraging thought. You will neither agree with nor understand this post. Guess what? That's due to your bias.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article that brings up an issue that GOP needs to address. GOP doesnt recruit minitorites. Not only do they not recruit, they dont promote young black men, like they do young white men. Haley Barbour did appoint a black judge in Hinds County. However, Phil appointed no young black men to positions to advance their career. He did appoint Shad at the auditors office, Drew at Medicaid, but no young black men were appointed during his administration to key positions. He appointed a few white judges, but no black males. Has Tate appointed any African Americans to key positions?

But GOP wants to march in the street to protest critical race theory...(which they arent teaching in our public grade schools)

Anonymous said...

I like Bill Crawford and agree with a lot, but comparing what Gov Barbour did with what Reeves and Gunn are considering is beyond apples and oranges. He jumped the shark on this one in a simple effort to just be against Reeves.

Anonymous said...

This is classic fraud in the framing of a political issue. Conflating CRT with civil rights education is not only misleading but is a divisive form of rhetoric that is rooted in bad faith. Good will and honesty would call for condemning CRT (teaching children their whiteness is inherently bad) while promoting education in civil rights (learning of the horrors of slavery and how far blacks and whites have come in combatting it). Then, all forms of racism will be properly characterized as morally bankrupt. And victims of racism (whether practiced against black, Asian or Hispanic or other) can be identified and condemned as it should be.

Anonymous said...

Suggesting that the MS Republican establishment wants to promote African Americans or to fight against racism is a joke. It’s a white boy’s club and always has been.

Anonymous said...

Crawford should look into this thing called “Google” or any other search engine to find plenty of examples of the teachings he denies are happening.

Anonymous said...

I looked into CRT and can really only come up with one issue. Making ONE race the "bad guy" and ignoring the one MAIN truth. Why does CRT ignore the African Slave Trade when it comes to actual Africans being the traders ? Clean that up and we might be able to work with it.

Anonymous said...

11:25 everybody knows their were black slave traders, just like there are white sex traders selling young white boys and girls today. My family won their freedom in 1783 and after gaining their freedom, some had slaves to help manage their property. When they were set free they received land, livestock, and tools to farm their own land.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Crawford. There is a huge difference between teaching history and teaching CRT.

The example you use in your article where every school student will be taught lesson on the history of slavery & civil rights including the lynchings and other atrocities is perfectly fine. Those things were horrible, just like the Holocaust, and we must make sure students understand the evil some people are capable of.

On the other hand, for schools to push the idea because White men did these actions anywhere between 400 years to 55 years in the past, that White children two or three generations removed now still universally harbor unconscious racial bias and must make deliberate efforts to elevate Blacks above themselves to atone for their ancestors sins is ridiculous. That may not directly be CRT, but it most certainly is a result of it.

We need to be teaching racial neutrality, but that is not what the liberals are trying to do. The constant drum-beat of equalizing "White Privilege" has progressed to outright anti-White sentiment. It is no longer enough to strive for equal opportunity, now the goal is wealth redistribution based on race to achieve equal results regardless of effort or ability.

Disparity does not mean there is discrimination.

Anonymous said...

There were sincere outreach efforts in the Republican Party of MS - in membership, leadership and candidate recruitment. Strategy was welcoming, open door, building, growth..... Any strides made have been utterly DESTROYED by Trump and his blind followers!

Anonymous said...

"Suggesting that the MS Republican establishment wants to promote African Americans or to fight against racism is a joke. It’s a white boy’s club and always has been."

Whilst reading your claim, suddenly Ricky Cole, wearing bib over-hauls, came to ads running as a democrat for State Agriculture Commissioner. And right behind that image was one of an unknown truck-driver running for governor as a Skoal-Spittin democrat.

If the Republican Party is a 'white boy's club', what in hell are 'you people' attempting to do with your candidate 'trot outs'?

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