This could be a revisionist example that gives the 1619 Project something to think about. Oklahoma’s Superintendent for Public Instruction, Ryan Walters faced criticism after denying race was the main cause of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Up to 300 people died and thousands of black residents fled.
Walters’ remarks were made during a Cleveland County Republican Party public forum.
Walters began by describing his policy.
Walters said, “It does not matter how many times the radical left attacks me.” “It doesn’t matter how much the teachers union spends against me.” “I will never stop speaking the truth.”
After that, the crowd was given the opportunity to ask questions of the State Supt. Here are some of the questions:
“Why do you ban books and come to speak in a library?” Someone asked.
One person asked why the Tulsa Race Massacre didn’t fit into Walters’ definition of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
“Let’s not tie it to the skin color and say that the skin color determined that,” Walters said.
Walters’ remarks caused some to leave the room. Many criticized Walters for trying to dilute this moment in American History. Attorney Damario Solomon Simmons of Justice For Greenwood condemned the remarks.
He said: “He is misinformed, and this disgusting comment is so inaccurate and false.” “The massacre was about the color of Black people that were destroyed. The white mob called Greenwood an N-word town. “They said they wanted the blacks to be driven out of Tulsa.”
Solomon-Simmons said that people like Walters do not “want the truth told” about those who “have oppressed and discriminated against Black people, beaten them, lynched them, killed and destroyed them.”
If you know anything about the Tulsa Massacre, it’s impossible to separate the race of the victims from the event.
The massacre took place between May 31st and June 1st, 1921. The incident was caused by an altercation in an elevator between Dick Rowland and Sarah Page. Although the exact details of the incident are unclear, rumors have spread that Rowland assaulted Page. This has fueled racial tensions throughout the city. White mobs gathered outside the courthouse, where Rowland had been held. They demanded his lynching. A group of Black men armed with guns arrived to defend Rowland.
The situation rapidly escalated to widespread violence and destruction. A white mob of around 2,000 people attacked the Black Wall Street and Greenwood District communities, which were primarily African American. The area was prosperous with many businesses and houses. The mob destroyed, looted, and burned homes and businesses. The violence lasted about 18 hours. To restore order, the National Guard was called in.
At the end of this massacre, approximately 35 blocks had been destroyed, 191 businesses had been destroyed and many Black residents had died or were injured. It is not known how many people died, but the death toll could be between 75 and 300. The Greenwood District, which was home to thousands of Black residents, was in ruins.
Walters’ remarks come after years of criticism against progressives who have presented ideas related to critical race theory in K-12 classrooms. I, along with many others, have criticized school districts for teaching about America’s troubled past in a way that labels white students as oppressors and black students are oppressed. Teachers in some school districts are using history to spread propaganda. While many want their children to know the good, bad, and ugly, they have been using it as a tool for propaganda.
This story is an example of those who are against the left’s agenda going too far the other way. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Some people who are against the critical race theory go so far as advocating for the banning of material about Ruby Bridges or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Walters’ actions are not representative of the entire movement for teaching accurate history. This story is a good reminder to not fall into the same revisionist behavior as the hard left.