Critical Race Theory Meeting Fills Alexandria Boardroom – Alexandria Echo Press


The speaker showed two photos of young black people on the big screen hanging from a nearly packed conference room at a hotel in Alexandria on Tuesday, June 15.

In the photo on the left, which appears to be from around the 1950s, the youngsters looked neat and tidy, in tucked-in skirts and shirts. The photo on the right depicts a young man wearing saggy pants and showing off his underwear, a fashion trend that started in the 1990s and has faded in recent years.

“The black community wasn’t used to living like this, in the far-right image,” said Kendall Qualls, a black veteran and sales executive who ran unsuccessfully for the US House in Minnesota’s Third District in 2020 before launching Take Charge Minnesota, an organization that argues that the United States itself is not racist. “It was a change, and what was the change? Eighty percent of fathers are not at home.

He blamed government policies that once only provided aid to single mothers, arguing that this encouraged them to stay single because aid stopped once they married, and that the policy encouraged break-up. black families.

Then he launched into the subject that everyone had come to hear: critical race theory, an idea developed in the 1970s and 1980s by academics and lawyers to examine the effect of public policy on American racial groups. Proponents of the theory say it helps researchers understand how certain policies have harmed black Americans, such as banks denying loans to entire neighborhoods. Conservative critics say it is a sinister attempt to pit blacks against whites and indoctrinate schoolchildren to see whites as oppressors and blacks as victims.

“Critical race theory is not a black-led movement,” Qualls said. “There’s no Martin Luther King in front of this thing. There’s not even Al Sharpton in front of this thing. That’s progressive left elitism.”

The mostly white crowd aged and cheered Qualls’ call to return to traditional two-parent families, to God and to hard work.

Organized by the Center for the American Experiment, a non-profit organization based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, the event was dubbed the “Raise Our Standards Tour.” He had made stops throughout Minnesota to call attention to new social studies standards underway for Minnesota that he said draw heavily on critical race theory.

After its stop in Alexandria, the tour drew protesters to Moorhead, and an event scheduled for June 17 in Duluth was postponed after the Duluth chapter of the NAACP released a video calling the event “hate speech “, “overt racism” and “obviously overt”. white supremacy.”

Qualls said he disputes the view that Americans should be divided by race.

He used his own life as an illustration of how successful black people can be, saying his parents separated when he was a young child and he and his siblings moved with their mother to Harlem. He lost siblings to “street culture,” he said, before moving to live with his father in a trailer in Oklahoma. Determined to succeed, he went to college, joined the military, worked in sales and management for Johnson & Johnson, and earned several master’s degrees.

“This narrative I’ve heard about how bad our country is and how bad white people are is an attack on the very foundation of who we are as Americans,” he said, with whispers of agreement. “The people who helped me personally and professionally were people who looked like you. They were black, they were white, they were rich, they were poor, they were male and female. Americans help each other when they see someone one who wants to better his lot in life.”

“What’s good about our country is that where you start in life is not where you have to stay in life,” he said to cheers and whispers. approval.

“What I’m doing in the Black Twin Cities community is helping the culture get back to its roots of faith, family and education like we were before we got help from the government,” a- he declared, to more applause.

His tour partner, Catrin Wigfall, a policy fellow at the Center for the American Experiment, accused those who espouse critical race theory of obscuring their intentions with language like ‘equity, inclusion and diversity’. and to reject what she called the “founding principles of the United States,” such as capitalism and property rights in favor of racially-based redistribution of land and wealth.

She cited examples that she says show critical race theory at work in Minnesota public schools. Two examples:

  • The book ‘Something Happened in Our Town’, about a police shooting of a black man, was read to fourth graders in Burnsville. When she mentioned that the book was on a list of approved books by the Minnesota Department of Education, some in the audience groaned.
  • At White Bear Lake, a sixth-grade choir teacher divided students into favored or targeted groups based on race, gender, gender, religion, and birthplace, and students were asked what thought of being included in these groups. “How can we hope to reconcile society when we emphasize differences rather than similarities?” said Wigfall.

Wigfall urged parents and community members to show up for the school board and even find alternatives to public schools, such as charter schools, home schools, online schools and private schools. She also urged them to contact the Department of Education about revised social studies standards, which she says are overly influenced by Minnesota tribes.
Meanwhile, Alexandria School Superintendent Rick Sansted, reached after the meeting, said parents need not be afraid to send their children to public school.

“Our teachers live here, raise their children here, and are involved in community and religious organizations in the area,” he said. “Public schools are not something to be afraid of, but something to be a part of.”

Public education, he said, is a partnership that involves collaboration and communication between home and school, and that he thinks parents do a great job of providing feedback to teachers.

“If a parent was afraid of indoctrination, I hope they would reach out to their teacher or school and share their experience,” Sansted said.

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