On the Ballot: White Fragility and Black Trauma

Kelli Coleman, Editor in Chief

To an eighteen-year-old voter, politics and political debates look like a Sudoku puzzle, and as an African American, it gets even more perplexing. There are so many options, so many people pushing their beliefs, and at times it makes me feel like I am drowning. 

The one thing that I do understand about the political system is that it has never worked in the favor of people who look like me. I believe that is why the 2021 Virginia Governor’s race bothers me so much. 

The biggest thing on the table during this election cycle is Critical Race Theory and the role parents should have within the classroom. 

Personally, CRT was a foreign ideology, and in some ways it still is. I understand that the theory expresses and teaches the origins of systematic racism, and how that affects minorities on a daily basis, but what I cannot understand is why people feel so inclined to leave that part of history behind. 

There is also debate over a novel called “Beloved” written by Toni Morrison, an African American author. The book address things like slavery, racism, and rape – topics that America fears. 

To appeal to voters, the political leaders are capitalizing on those very fears.

Both Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin, have no real invested interest in including CRT within their so-called “education plan”, but it is something that both men bring up constantly. 

Race discussions aren’t the easiest to have, but by dismissing them completely, the candidates are playing with the emotions of parents by debating the extent of their role in their children’s classes. 

In my opinion, parents shouldn’t have a pivotal role within the curriculum, but they should have the right to express their opinions. The thing that shakes my core about the questioning of parental involvement is this is the most mainstream I have ever seen the issue.

Parents are complaining about teaching CRT, but they are silent when U.S. history teachers go into depth about the brutal murders of African Americans, or when we are forced to watch the slave reenactment videos. 

The biggest argument when referring to CRT is that “it’s a college class” or that “high school students are not ready to be taught that”, I have had to sit through years of lessons, hearing about how my ancestors were belittled and brutalized, but is it too much for a white child to hear that the system was designed for them to succeed and for me to fail? 

Critical Race Theory, should not be a political debate nor a distraction tactic, and that’s what it’s being used as by both Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin. 

I vote tomorrow, and both candidates have proved what history has consistently shown me: the political system has never worked in the favor of people who look like me.