OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears used her trademark poise, wit, and life experiences to push back on CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday after the host incorrectly insinuated that controversial critical race theory was not being taught to students in the Old Dominion.
USA Features News reports:
The segment began with Bash acknowledging that Sears, a Republican, made history by becoming the first black woman ever elected to statewide office in Virginia, though Sears, who has said many times that was not her objective, nevertheless said she sees the importance of setting an example for others to follow.
Then Bash turned to education, noting that Sears ran on a platform of opposing critical race theory as did GOP Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin.
“Let’s talk about education more broadly. You opposed Critical Race Theory taught in schools which I should say is not part of Virginia’s curriculum,” Bash said.
“You did say though that the good and the bad of American history should be taught, and that — we should also tell viewers you’re at former vice president of the Virginia Board of Education. Explain how you think race should be taught in Virginia public schools,” the host said.
“Well, let me back up. I beg to differ that CRT is not taught,” Sears noted in reply.
“I didn’t say that. I just said it’s not in the curriculum, just to be clear,” Bash interjected.
“No, no, no, no, it is part of the curriculum, it is weaved (sic) in and out of the curriculum,” Sears continued, noting further that while lesson plans don’t actually say “Critical Race Theory,” the curriculum has been woven into lesson plans over years.
“In fact, in 2015, former governor, who was just defeated, McAuliffe, his state Board of Education had information on how to teach it, so it’s weaved in. So you know, it’s semantics, but it’s weaved in,” she explained, adding:
What we want to say and what governor-elect Youngkin has said is that all of history must be taught, the good, the bad, and the ugly, because what we learn from history, Dana, is that we don’t learn from history and we continue to repeat the same mistakes. But while we’re talking about history, how about we talk about how people from the 1890s, black people from the 1890s to about 1950-1960, according to the U.S. census, had been marrying in a percentage that had far surpassed anything that whites had ever done?
When we talk about the Tulsa race riots, let’s ask ourselves, how did the black people amass so much wealth right after the Civil War, so that it could even be destroyed? How did they do that? They were coming from nothing, from zero. Some of them never even got the 40 acres and a mule.
Let’s try to emulate that. The one thing that the slaves wanted — well, three top things, their freedom, certainly. Then the next thing was they wanted to find their families. And the third thing was, they wanted an education. And, my God, when did education become a bad word among black people?
“We’re going to have a good education system. It’s going to — it’s going to represent all people. And I’m going to help see that through, because education lifted my father out of poverty when he came to America with only $1.75. Education lifted me, because I have to find my own way in this world. And education will lift all of us.
Asked to explain what it means to be the first black woman elected to state office in Virginia, Winsome explained: “Well, it means that, when children look at me, they can say, well, Winsome is there. If she can do it, I can do it, because, as I have said to them in their little enclaves when they get together or in their celebrations when they’re graduating, I have said, I didn’t do anything special. All I did was stay in school and study. And you can do it too, because I am an example of what you can be if you put your mind to it.”