When the Kansas City Star published a biting column against sitting Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt for his signing of the “1776 Pledge,” they did not allow him to defend his position in a follow-up op-ed.
Schmidt penned a concise piece about how his opposition to Critical Race Theory fueled his decision to sign the “1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools”, which former President Donald Trump commissioned to help combat the “1619 Project.” The “1619 Project” is a collection of articles written by New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, in which Jones asserts the United States was founded on the institution of slavery as well as the “legalized discrimination against black Americans.”
After Schmidt submitted his article to the opinion editor of the Kansas City Star, he was told the publication would not accept a “straw man argument,” according to internal emails obtained by Breitbart News.
“Should we lie to our kids, or tell them the truth?” began the Star‘s column, Dave Helling wrote. Helling proceeded to argue that the “1776 Pledge,” which Kansas gubernatorial candidates Derek Schmidt and Jeff Colyer signed, is not an accurate depiction of United States history.
Heller contrasted the report’s doctrine of teaching founding principles of liberty and equality with the fact that the man who wrote those words, Thomas Jefferson, rejected liberty and equality in his own life.
He wrote on June 28:
“The Blacks … are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind,” he wrote, six years after the Declaration.
How should teachers and parents approach this contradiction, and others like it?
If you’re Jeff Colyer or Derek Schmidt or anyone else in the 1776 crowd, you stick your fingers in your ears and hope it goes away.
Heller went on to argue that the “1776 Project” is all about ignoring the country’s full history “which is teaching a lie.”
“Someday those students will discover they were lied to, and they will resent it. Or they’ll never learn the truth, and our nation’s problems will fester,” he said.
Heller specifically mentioned Critical Race Theory in his op-ed saying, “Jefferson died “a monument to a giant chasm between his words and deeds on the question of race and liberty,” historian Paul Finkelman wrote” — not last week, or last year, in the middle of some critical race theory fever, but nearly three decades ago. (emphasis added).
Notably, the “1776 Project” does discuss slavery at length as a pivotal part of the nation’s development. It does not, however, treat slavery as an ongoing cancer infiltrating every institution in the Unites States the way Critical Race Theory does.
According to the project:
The foundation of our Republic planted the seeds of the death of slavery in America. The Declaration’s unqualified proclamation of human equality flatly contradicted the existence of human bondage and, along with the Constitution’s compromises understood in light of that proposition, set the stage for abolition. Indeed, the movement to abolish slavery that first began in the United States led the way in bringing about the end of legal slavery.
Critical Race Theory, on the other hand, as Breitbart News reported:
…holds that the United States is racist by design, because its Constitution and all of its other institutions emerged in a context where slavery was legal. According to the theory, the very institution of private property in the U.S. is corrupt because it was enshrined in a system that saw black people as chattels.
Schmidt requested the opportunity for rebuttal, to which the opinion editor of the Star, Derek Donovan, initially agreed. Schmidt’s main point, according to a draft obtained by Breitbart News on Monday, was that the Star’s column was engaging in the false dichotomy fallacy — a premise which erroneously limits what options are available in an argument.
“The false implication is anyone opposed to injecting divisive, politically-charged theories or narratives into classrooms opposes teaching children facts about racism or slavery. Not so,” Schmidt wrote.
In reality, no Kansas school teaches American history without slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights movement. Kansans in particular are proud of our heritage – it’s quite literally impossible to teach our history without the abolitionist movement. In my many travels across our state I’ve not met a single person advocating the bizarre approach the column sets up and then decries.
Instead, Schmidt wrote of how “America’s great promise is that failures of the past need not determine our future.”
Across America, too many are pushing beyond the facts to incorporate revisionist CRT, “antiracist” teachings, and the New York Times’ much-maligned “1619 Project” into lesson plans. Call it “extracurricular political action” or indoctrination – this is at odds with continued shared allegiance to the Founding-era ideas that still make America an exceptional nation.
We should teach our children to celebrate the self-evident truth expressed by our Declaration of Independence that we are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, not peddle CRT’s debilitating lie that historical racism constrains their opportunity now and in the future.
Our kids should celebrate Martin Luther King’s dream that they “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” not antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi’s vision that “[t]he only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”
The Kansas City Star told Schmidt he needed to revise his article to focus on his support of the “1776 Project” rather than his opposition to Critical Race Theory. Schmidt’s office resubmitted the article on July 2 with few revisions and argued that the sole reason for Schmidt’s support of patriotic education is the hateful rhetoric sowed by Critical Race Theory-based education in schools, according to emails.
Editor Donovan wrote via email to Schmidt’s office in response to the submitted op-ed:
The column…was about the “1776 Project,” not critical race theory. The “1776 Project” explicitly doesn’t mention critical race theory, so make the column about AG Schmidt’s full-throated support for it. That’s exactly what he should be laying out clearly: that he thinks its goals are 100% laudable.
As noted previously, Heller’s article did bring up Critical Race Theory, in addition to the fact that one cannot discuss the 1776 Pledge without nodding to its original purpose of combating the ideology in schools. Even if not explicitly named, the “1776 Project” has entire sections dedicated to discussing the follies of progressivism, racism, and identity politics, which include nods to the prevailing effects of Critical Race Theory in American institutions.
Donovan penned a followup piece to Heller’s original coverage on Monday, again reiterating that while he is “100 percent” open to an op-ed from Schmidt, he will not publish “a piece by anybody suggesting Kansas public schools are teaching “critical race theory” — an obscure legal concept that even lifelong students of race relations had never heard until this year, when conservative activists have weaponized it.”
In an email to Breitbart News on Monday, Donovan said he is not at all opposed to publishing stories that are critical of Critical Race Theory. He then referred Breitbart News to two recent articles published by the Star that discuss the Critical Race Theory, one of which was behind a paywall.
But Critical Race Theory is not just a conservative boogeyman — some “obscure legal concept” which is locked away in a closet for intellectuals who can handle its “powerful insight.” It is in schools, the military, corporate America, and anyplace where the terms “white privilege “and “systemic racism” are touted as the factors responsible for all social ills.
In direct contrast to Donovan’s claims, the largest teacher’s union in the country, National Education Association (NEA), openly said it would promote the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 schools and oppose any bans on instruction in both the Marxist ideology and the widely discredited New York Times’ “1619 Project,” Breitbart News reported.
And while not every school in the country has been exposed to the ideology yet, parents around the country have been taking to school board meetings to fight the indoctrination of their children.
“A groundswell from parents in places like Loudoun County, Virginia; Mequon, Wisconsin; and Litchfield Park, Arizona, is aimed at curtailing radical teachings from infiltrating places where young minds are shaped,” Breitbart News reported, noting that school board recalls have nearly doubled in 2021.
In the case of the Kansas City Star‘s censorship of Schmidt: there are those who see the truth of what is happening in America’s institutions and those who have not quite connected the dots.