On July 8th, 2021 a mother by the name of Fallon Clark offered comments addressing instruction on Critical Race Theory(CRT). Following a Tennessee ban on CRT teaching in public schools in Tennessee this mother brought attention to a lesson provided to students. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.
“Hello. Good evening everyone. I just wanted to start out by saying thank you for the opportunity. My name is Fallon Clark and I am representing blessed Tennessee.
I’m just going to hop right in. So, CRT for such a complex, controversial topic I have a very simple question, why? What is the purpose? What does it solve? What does it actually teach?
Imagine two childhood friends Jenny and Sharon. They’ve been friends since they were two years old sharing everything; birthdays, sleepovers, and a number of firsts. They grow up and enter the public school system where CRT is being taught.
Jenny is reminded she’s white and learns about the atrocities committed to maintain her white privilege and Sharon is reminded she’s black and every shortcoming and challenge she faces is because of Jenny’s white privilege. Tensions rise, hostility creeps in, and just like that the friendship is over.
Now perhaps my example is a little extreme but not too far-fetched. It actually sounds familiar. Children don’t see race until you and I show it to them. So I can tell you what CRT teaches. Critical Race Theory does nothing but perpetuate the same narrative. It plants the same seed of divisiveness.
So, why do you want to keep telling the same distorted and divisive story and especially to our children in the form of education? I ask again, why? Does it help our lagging test scores? Does it equip our children with the tools needed to enter the real world and by real world I mean workforce. And making a better living, financial literacy, and proper decision making? Does it teach our children to value one another regardless of skin color? Does it teach our children to take pride in our country? A country where a man can be a slave, come from nothing, yet give birth to a generation of children that have everything.
I remember conversing amongst a group of black friends and we all reflected on our own childhood and how black history was a small section in a history book comprised of only slavery, Jim Crow laws, and civil rights. Slavery ended in 1865.
146 years worth of information since then and yet it’s filled with nothing but slavery, trauma, inferiority, and that’s all the history anyone ever shoves in front of us. Again, why? What is the purpose? CRT is not an accurate account of black history or American history for that matter. And it is imperative we do not allow it to pass as such.
I’m sure everyone here is aware of the 2018-2019 state report card. That’s the only one I could find available online. Less than 33% of Hamilton County students were found to read at grade level. When critical race theory is mentioned the average individual cannot define it and our children most certainly cannot define, let alone comprehend, its complexities.
I value teachers tremendously. My own father is an educator but teachers are teachers and they do not and nor does anyone on the board replace the parents. Many of you may be thinking, “CRT is banned in the state of Tennessee, this is not a problem in the Hamilton County School District.”
Well, I do have with me an assignment given to my son. directly following the banning of CRT in our state. We was provided with the banning article with a writing prompt, “What is the importance of CRT in the public school system.” This is a problem and I would like to note it.
The focus should be our core subjects. Subjects that are not excelling in, language arts, math, science, and social studies. With the addition of trades, work readiness, and financial literacy. And let’s be clear, the fact we are not excelling in these subjects has nothing to do with race. My son is in the gifted program, he has a 4.0, he scored a 25 on the ACT as a sophomore with absolutely no prep.
That leads me to the importance of school choice and is highlighted in the HCDE mission statement, the environment of our schools, and how all of this correlates with critical race theory. I grew up in Milan, Tennessee, graduated from Allen High School. At the time I attended blacks made up 15% of the school population whites were dominant. As I reflect on my experience, not once did I feel inferior as CRT suggests. Not once was I oppressed. The bar and expectations that were set at the time were for all students, regardless of race.
I left the public school system and my family knowing I could accomplish anything and my skin color was the very least of my concern. Fast forward to having a child who attended Orchard not middle and currently attends Brainerd High School. In both instances he has been stereotyped, bar lowered, viewed as being at a disadvantage, and even labeled with phrases like “he’s not like the rest of them” by an actual teacher.
CRT would do nothing but reinforce this culture of inferiority and further alienate our black children. We must not teach children that any challenge, we must not teach black children, that any challenge or burden that they may face comes from white people. We must not teach white children that they are the cause of the plight in black America.
We must teach all children, regardless of color, you are the writer of your own life and any system set in place that threatens your dignity and freedom you have the power to eliminate. One voice and one vote at a time. I urge you not to let CRT into our schools, stand firm on the Tennessee Banning of CRT, and hold every single educator accountable who has the audacity to take matters into their own hands.