Rice to The View: We don't need to make children feel guilty over their skin color to teach about race

A rational discussion on a hot-button topic on … The View? Indeed, and that’s what makes this leftover from yesterday a compelling must-watch in its entirety. Don’t stop at the slices of this debate on critical-race theory, because those don’t fairly capture the dissent to Condoleezza Rice’s point — and the rational exchanges those prompt.

Well, mostly rational, but at least civil. Be sure to catch Rice’s final exchange with Joy Behar, who tosses out a non-sequitur about the Holocaust being taught in Germany. “We teach every child about slavery,” an exasperated Rice responds:

“The way we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that somehow white people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past,” said Rice.

Rice continued that she didn’t feel this approach was to the benefit of anyone.

“I don’t think that’s very productive or Black people feel disempowered by race. I would like Black kids to be completely empowered to know they are beautiful in their Blackness, but in order to do that, I don’t have to make white kids feel bad for being white. So, somehow this is a conversation that has gone in the wrong direction,” she said.

Rice added that Black children could be taught about their history but it could not be without progress being highlighted or making their white counterparts feel bad.

“In order for Black kids — who quite frankly, for a long time the way they were portrayed, the way their history was portrayed, [were] second-class citizenship, but I don’t have to make white children feel bad about being white in order to overcome the fact that Black children were treated badly,” Rice said.

The most remarkable aspect of this segment is its civility. It’s clear that no one gets moved off their positions in this debate, but they allow Rice time to make her points repeatedly. As Yahoo News notes, social media response was a lot less gracious, where people accused Rice of advocating that white children get “shielded” from history. That’s nonsense, of course; what Rice advocated was teaching history in context, and not burdening white children with 300-plus years of collective guilt for something that they had no part in imposing.

That’s the problem with CRT-directed school curricula  — the heavy imposition of collective guilt. No one grows up in this country without having learned about slavery, both in school and in popular culture. Race issues are a significant part of our history and should be taught, but perpetuating race-based policies and outcomes along with collective-guilt instruction only perpetuates the race issues we face rather than overcome them. It also leads to dead ends as people adopt the idea that race and ethnicity are the primary or even sole determinative factors for potential in our society. That’s precisely the viewpoint that created the race issues this country, a point Rice makes in talking about her own journey at the beginning of this segment.

Behar at one point quips that parents who want a voice in educating their children had better start home-schooling. Rice has a response to that, too, and it’s well worth noting from this longtime academic and educator.

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