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Race, QAnon and the rise of escapism

On a day when the US is reeling from yet another mass shooting in San Jose, CA; we learn that our local State Representative Don Jones (R), has nothing better to do than put forth a bill in the Ohio House, that he says “protects children from having to examine or be blamed for errors made in the past”. Really, what are Jones and his Republican colleagues fearful of now?

HB 322 actually says that social studies teachers can no longer discuss the influence of race on policy decisions as an issue in American History. This effort is a step backward as it denies the fact that the implications of decisions made long ago still plague American society today. The bill targets the use of “critical race theory” by teachers in all educational settings in Ohio.

While Republican legislators, like Mr. Jones seek to ban discussion of race in our schools, a recent poll reports that 20% of Americans actually believe the far-right QAnon conspiracy nonsense promoted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, also a Republican. This baseless movement holds that the world is controlled by a “cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophils” and that Donald Trump was sent to rid the world of progressive and therefore, “satanic ideas”. Maybe Mr. Jones and his Republican colleagues would prefer that the schools teach QAnon theory. After all, when facts no longer matter; fantasy is a good way to escape reality.

While the issue of QAnon and the denial of race as a historical influence seem unrelated, they are in fact two sides of the same misguided coin. The saving fact is that 80% of Americans do NOT believe the quacky QAnon theories; however, the suppression of discussion of the importance of race, culture and history on present day life sets a dangerous precedent. True, history cannot be changed but it needs to be examined honestly. History can inform and educate future decision-makers and offer reassurance to minority groups of any stripe that their voices are heard. The way to solve our divisions and move ahead as a people is not to stop talking about real issues but face them bravely and honestly. Blame is not the point, empathy and understanding is the goal of both education and positive social change.

“Disappointed” is the best way to describe my reaction to Representative Jones’ actions. As a former educator he should know better. Today’s students deserve to hear all sides of any issue, including the issue of race; otherwise, we are entering another DARK AGE where reason and truth are the first fatalities. What’s next “book burning”?

Teresa R. Porter

Marietta

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