Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced critical race theory during an appearance this week on ABC’s “The View,” telling the show’s co-hosts that making “white kids feel bad for being white” is not the way to empower black children.
Rice, who served as the first black woman to lead the U.S. Department of State after growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, made the comments in response to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, saying last month he does not believe parents “should be telling schools what they should teach.”
During a separate appearance on WAVY-TV, a local Virginia news station, McAuliffe said critical race theory “doesn’t exist” in the Old Dominion, adding it “doesn’t matter” how it’s defined.
After discussing a series of instances regarding critical race theory being taught in classrooms, Rice said Wednesday she’s “not certain 7-year-olds need to learn it.”
Co-host Joy Behar said parents need to accept whatever is being taught in public schools and, if they’re unhappy with it, “they’re going to have to homeschool their kids.”
“Well, they’re actually homeschooling them in increasing numbers, and I think that’s a signal,” replied Rice. “First of all, parents ought to be involved in their children’s education. … I think parents ought to have a say. We used to have parent-teacher conferences. We used to have PTAs. There are lots of ways for parents to be involved, and they should be.”
The former secretary of State then transitioned to speaking directly to critical race theory:
My parents never thought I was going to grow up in a world without prejudice, but they also told me, “That’s somebody else’s problem, not yours. You’re going to overcome it and you are going to be anything you want to be.” That’s the message that I think we ought to be sending to kids.
One of the worries that I have about the way that we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that, somehow, white people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past — I don’t think that’s very productive — or black people have to feel disempowered by race.
“I would like black kids to be completely empowered, to know that they are beautiful in their blackness, but, in order to do that, I don’t have to make white kids feel bad for being white,” added Rice.
Lead co-host Whoopi Goldberg interjected to say teachers who are good at their job will merely educate their students on the historic problems of racism in hopes they won’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
Rice responded that she, of course, has “no problem” telling kids “what happened.”
“But let’s remember, history is complex,” she noted. “Human beings aren’t angels now and they weren’t angels in the past. And so how we teach about our history is also important.”
Those comments frustrated co-host Sunny Hostin, who claimed parents across the U.S. are just angry because teachers are finally teaching the “real” history of America and they don’t want to reach a point of “true racial reconciliation.”
“Come on now,” said Rice. “People are being taught the true history, but I just have to say one more thing: It goes back to how we teach the history.”
“We teach the good and we teach the bad of history,” the former top diplomat continued. “But what we don’t do is make 7- and 10-year olds feel that they are somehow bad people because of the color of their skin. We’ve been through that, and we don’t need to do that again for anyone.”
Behar, still unconvinced, shot back, telling Rice that kind of divisiveness isn’t intentional.
Rice, for her part, said such division is very much “part of the plan.”
“We all have to learn about our history,” she explained to Behar, “but we also have to recognize that we have to live together and we’re going to do better living together if we don’t make each other feel guilty.”
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