© 2023 Cincinnati Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Have questions about the Cincinnati Southern Railway sale on the Nov. ballot? We've got answers >>

Black students ask whose feelings matter when it comes to so-called 'anti CRT' bills

J. Tyler Ferguson

John Woods always knew there would be gaps in his daughter’s public school education.

“A lot of stuff is being left out,” Woods told WFPL News.

So, Woods took it on himself to make sure his 17-year-old daughter, Brianna Woods, got the facts when it came to the experiences and contributions of Black people in this country.

Landmark television series and films like Roots and 12 Years A Slave were mandatory viewing in the Woods household. Brianna Woods grew up flipping through The Black Book by Toni Morrison, a collection of hundreds of photographs, art, poems, texts and songs that document the Black experience in America.

Sometimes Woods still gives his daughter small research assignments — most recently to look up Benjamin Banneker, the Black architect who helped design Woods’ hometown of Washington, D.C.

“I’m really grateful that you did do those things,” Brianna Woods told her father. “It definitely rounded out the part of the education that I was missing.”

Historically, school curricula has excluded a large swath of Black experiences and those of other people of color. That’s beginning to change, especially in the wake of 2020’s calls for racial equity and justice.

But those calls have also prompted a backlash.

In state legislatures across the U.S., conservative Republican lawmakers have filed dozens of bills that seek to limit classroom discussions about systemic racism and curb anti-racist initiatives.

Republicans in Kentucky have filed four. One, Senate Bill 138, has passed the Senate and is being considered in the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives.

Supporters of the legislation say anti-racist initiatives in schools make white students feel guilty, and promote a “victimhood” mindset among students of color. Some say it even amounts to leftist indoctrination.

But some Black students, and their parents, are worried these bills threaten to roll back progress.

Continue reading this story at WFPL >>

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.
Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.