By Governor Pete Ricketts
August 9, 2021
Governor’s official photo here.
In 2021, communism seems like a distant threat to many. Generations of Americans have learned about the atrocities committed by Stalin and Lenin in Russia. Many are familiar with Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which led to the Great Chinese Famine and starvation and death for millions.
Sadly, communism isn’t something that’s just studied in history books. There’s growing awareness across our state and country that it’s reinventing itself right here at home under the label of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Instead of the old narrative of class warfare, CRT envisions a race-based Marxism that divides people along racial lines. It’s packaged under innocuous sounding terms such as “equity” or “anti-racism,” but it seeks to re-write our country’s history and reimagine public policy all based on a Marxist worldview.
Here’s a few things you should know about CRT.
CRT is an attack on the premise that America is working to build “a more perfect union.” CRT proponents reject the notion that America is defined by a shared commitment to universal principles such as the recognition of God-given human rights, equality under the law, and the protection of basic freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. Instead, they teach that racism defines America and that systemic racism plagues our country’s institutions.
Critical race theorists seek to remedy what they describe as “systemic racism” by turning back the clock on race relations and promoting a race-based view of the world. Ibram Kendi, a leading proponent of CRT who heads the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, openly encourages discrimination on the basis of skin color. He writes, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”
CRT advocates also exchange the word “equality” for “equity”—and it’s important to understand the distinction in their choice of language. Our state’s motto is “Equality before the law”. “Equality” expresses the ideal that every individual should receive equal treatment and equal opportunity, regardless of one’s race or background. For CRT proponents, “equity” is the aspiration that our economy and institutions produce equal outcomes. This is the vision Marxists have had for generations.
For decades, CRT has remained a little-known theory, mainly studied in institutions of higher education. Today, it’s being applied in personnel trainings, K-12 schools, universities, and other settings. And it’s happening right here in Nebraska at taxpayer expense. I’ll share two examples.
First, the Nebraska Department of Education promotes a number of concerning materials on their website. Their website highlights the 1619 Project, a project of the New York Times that presents a revisionist history of the American founding. After I recently posted a statement on social media opposing CRT, the founder of the 1619 Project responded to my statement claiming that white supremacy is a “core value” of America. Furthermore, NDE’s website promotes the Zinn Education Project, an organization carrying on the work of self-described socialist Howard Zinn. The Zinn Education Project has been a vocal opponent of states who have sought to ban CRT from being applied in K-12 public schools.
And it’s not just NDE. The Nebraska State Education Association, the union for K-12 school teachers, came to the defense of their national organization, which recently voted to promote CRT.
Second, the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has launched a “journey toward anti-racism and racial equity.” It established a dedicated group of co-leaders who were tasked with “on-going review of institutional demands paired with responses.” Recently, this group of co-leaders released a statement on the Office of the Chancellor’s website providing a defense of CRT in which they argued that opponents of CRT were aiding the Klu Klux Klan.
It’s not just in the administration—CRT is also being pushed in the classroom. Consider how Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg, a critical race theorist at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, describes her work: “Anti-racism informs all work that I undertake including the types of research activities I design and implement. I see research as a form of storytelling and anti-racist research as a form of activism.” From Dr. Escayg’s perspective, her research at the University is activism. It’s imperative that our University system reject academic activism in the classroom and center itself on open-minded, evidence-based investigation of our history and society.
There’s a chance to stop the application of CRT at the University of Nebraska. On August 13, 2021 the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will vote on a resolution to prevent CRT from being imposed on their campuses. Passing this resolution is key to protecting student voices and academic freedom. Without the resolution, proponents of CRT will remain free to impose their Marxist philosophy and divide campuses along racial lines. I strongly urge the Board of Regents to pass the resolution to help protect the integrity of our University System.
As this vote by the Board of Regents approaches, it is my hope you will contact your board representative and let them know you oppose CRT. The University system is independently governed by the Board of Regents, who are elected by the people of Nebraska. I do not appoint them. You can find their contact information at nebraska.edu/regents/board-members.
If you want to learn more about how CRT is being promoted in education and other institutions across our country, I encourage you to check out the latest episode of my podcast with Christopher Rufo. Rufo is one of the leading experts on CRT, and has done extensive investigatory reporting on the issue. You can listen to the episode by searching for “The Nebraska Way” on Apple Podcasts.
If you have questions about CRT or any other topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-471-2244. Let’s protect our students from this anti-American ideology, and keep it from being imposed on the next generation of Nebraskans.
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