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by Diane Rufino, September 14, 2021 North Carolina’s Public Enemy #1, Governor Roy Cooper, has done it again…. He has vetoed H.B. 324 (“Ensuring Dignity & Nondiscrimination/Schools”), which would have prohibited the teaching of Critical Race Theory in North Carolina public schools. Critical Race Theory stems from a dark period in our nation’s history when the states either supported slavery (the South) or were firmly “anti-black” (the North and the western territories) which, unfortunately saw them descended into an era of outright discrimination with the Jim Crow and other segregation laws. By the way, here is a little known fact that probably 99.9% of Americans don’t know, and I’m almost positive that it isn’t taught in history class, during Black History Month, or even as part of Critical Race Theory……. Slavery, as we know it in America, was established by a black man, in Virginia in 1653. In 1653, Anthony Johnson, a black man, asked a Virginia court to award him permanent ownership (body and labor) over another human being. We know that North America was settled at Jamestown in 1607 and we learned of “the lost colony” in school – a group of settlers who colonized Roanoke Island in North Carolina (the Outer Banks). Many of the early settlers came as temporary slaves (“indentured servants”); that is, they obtained their passage money by signing over their labor to another person, for whom they worked. It was the centuries-old master-apprentice labor system. American slavery meant not only owning the labor of another but also his body. It never was slavery in a brutal sense; it was domestic servitude, a mutual service and dependency. We inferred from our public-school history books that slavery was forced upon the colonies by the British, to make them more “economically efficient” and to justify its land grants to the settlers. In 1619, a ship landed at Jamestown with 20 Negroes. They were not made slaves. In 1653, Anthony Johnson, a black man, asked the Northampton (Virginia) court to grant him the right of permanent ownership (body and labor) in the labor of a man named John Castor. The court granted Johnson’s petition. And thus, as mentioned above, American slavery was established… by a black man. [By 1700, there were slaves in all the colonies]. The United States made good on its mistreatment of African-Americans by amending the US Constitution with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, then passing key and comprehensive civil rights legislation in the 1960’s (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and then the Voting Rights Act of 1965), and finally with court-ordered desegregation plans and affirmative action policies. By 2013, with the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Shelby v. Holder, the judges of the highest court in the land deemed the county to have done everything legally possible (and perhaps even more) to remedy past consequences of slavery, oppression, and discrimination. And slowly, affirmative action programs and special provisions regarding legal remedies are being struck down by federal courts. And just as our racist history has been addressed by law and amendments to the Constitution, as well as state constitutions, progressives have devised a new way to keep talk of racism alive and incessantly in the news and in our national dialogue – Critical Race Theory. George Mason warned of the sins of slavery back in 1787 at the Philadelphia Convention (aka, the Constitutional Convention) when the delegates attempted to prohibit slavery with the creation of the new, the second American union of states. He said: “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities. . .It is essential in every point of view that the general government should have power to prevent the increase of slavery.” The United States is now being punished by slavery with the notion that everything revolves around race; everything involves racism, discrimination, or white supremacy. It is the issue that most divides us. Critical Race Theory is the new Jim Crow segregation type doctrine. Our country is indeed being punished in this lifetime. Parents are beginning to fight back. 26 states have either submitted bills to prohibit the teaching of CRT in their schools or have taken other measures to prevent it. North Carolina has entered the fight. And we were so close. Several months ago, the Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly introduced a bill, H.B. 324 (“Ensuring Dignity & Nondiscrimination in Schools”) which was intended to ban the indoctrination of students in concepts like Critical Race Theory and other related controversial ideologies in our state-run, public schools. It passed both houses of the legislature, twice. Republicans have the majority in both houses. Each and every vote was strictly along party lines. On September 10, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill. With his veto, he has condemned the youth of North Carolina to another dark era in history. With their ability to indoctrinate students in their classrooms (rather than actually educating them), he has elevated NC teachers to a status that substitutes for the parents, for the family, and even for the church. The Golden Rule gives way to racism. HB 324 was introduced in response to concerns from hundreds of North Carolina parents, students, and teachers who encountered indoctrination in our public schools that taught students what to think rather than how to think. These concerns were compiled by Lt. Governor Mark Robinson’s Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students (F.A.C.T.S.) Task Force and were shared with legislators as HB 324 moved through both chambers of the legislature. Concerned citizens and concerned parents expected Governor Cooper to veto the bill. He has vetoed every single bill pertaining to a matter of morality and rationality. The will of the people, through their elected officials in Raleigh, was reflected by the General Assembly passing H.B. 324 twice. Not just once, but TWICE !! Yet one man, one ultra-liberal who happened to be elected as Governor, thought he alone should decide the issue. Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the NC General Assembly will need to convince a handful of Democrats to join their side in order to override Cooper’s veto. And so, in the coming days and weeks, we mustn’t sit back and wait to see what happens. Now is the time for ACTION !! With that in mind, I appeal to ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS & CONCERNED PARENTS…. PLEASE GET INVOLVED. This is your state and your country. Write to every Democratic member of the NC house and senate and let them know your feelings regarding CRT, let them know of your expectations of their position to care for our state, and then vent (as politely as possible) your frustration in their loyalty to party and agenda rather than to the good people of NC, its concerned parents and its youth. I’ve posted the North Carolina flag upside down because our state is truly in a state of distress. Aside from the activism avenue in fighting against CRT in North Carolina, I’ve been trying to address the legality of Critical Race Theory and its instruction in schools. I believe it is unconstitutional and in violation of federal and other civil rights laws as well. I wrote the following letter offering my two-cents, my legal opinion, regarding the issue of Critical Race Theory being taught to our children in the school system: IMPLEMENTATION OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL Critical Race Theory, being taught in schools all over the country (including NC) and teaching that because whites want to maintain their advantage in society, they’ve structured society to their benefit and to the detriment of blacks (ie, systemic racism), is an unconstitutional doctrine and therefore unenforceable. CRT is unconstitutional on several levels – as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment (“Equal Protection” Clause), the First Amendment (“compelled speech”), and violative of the NC state constitution as well (Article I, sections 1, 5, 14, 19). Additionally, CRT is inconsistent with civil rights laws, specifically the Civil Rights Act (1964). Finally, it is inconsistent with the key phrase in the Declaration of Independence – “all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights.” According to the legal opinion of Montana’s Attorney General, teaching a theory that holds whites are inherently racist and blacks are systemically discriminated against by them is unconstitutional (Equal Protection Clause) and violates the federal Civil Rights law. For that reason, he believes there is comprehensive justification for banning teaching the theory in schools. And 25 other states agree. They’ve introduced bills or taken other steps to prevent CRT from being taught in their public schools. CRT clearly discriminates “on the basis of race, color, or national origin,” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,, and various sections (Article I) of the NC constitution. Training programs, teachings, or assignments which force students or employees to admit, accept, affirm, or support controversial concepts such as privilege, culpability, identity, or status, constitute “compelled speech,” which is something the First Amendment forbids the government from forcing people to do. If a public institution such as a school tries to restrict people’s speech or behavior, it may be also a First Amendment violation. Diane Rufino, attorney Greenville, NC * Please feel free to use this letter in your own town, your own district, in your own state to get the message out and to help sway public support AGAINST Critical Race Theory. References: NC State Constitution – https://ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Constitution/NCConstitution.html Shelby v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013). Referenced at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf ]


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