Parents in DC suburb defend their stance against critical race theory

Parents in DC suburb defend their stance against critical race theory

06/04/2021

‘We won’t be canceled’: Parent is flipped off on camera by neighbor as she tells how residents of affluent DC suburb have turned on her after she spoke out against critical race theory being taught in schools

  • Parents in the Loudoun County Public School system say they are losing friends and fighting with family over the issue of critical race theory in the classroom
  • The affluent Washington DC suburb boasts a diverse ethnic makeup, making the debate over CRT all the more contentious 
  • A Facebook group titled ‘Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County’ is accused of targeting parents who are anti-CRT

TV cameras caught the moment that a Washington DC parent was flipped off by a neighbor as she explained how friends and family had turned on her because she spoke out against the teaching of critical race theory in their kids’ schools.

Jessica Mendez, a mother of two children in the Loudoun County Public School system, says she has been branded a racist after attempting to block the controversial lessons.

‘I had my own family criticize me openly, and asked me you know, what’s wrong with me? You know, why didn’t I understand? , told the interviewer for Fox News.

But amid the interview, a neighbor walks past in the background and raises two middle fingers at Mendez and the camera. 

‘I thought that I had a good friend,’ Mendez added. 

‘I’m really hurt right now because I thought that we had a rapport, that I could be conservative, and she could be liberal, and we could still be friends. I guess I was wrong.’

Loudoun County, where the average home sells for $575,600, has found itself a divided amidst the nation’s recent equity initiative to provide student’s with classes on critical race theory.

Mother of two Loudoun County Public School students Jessica Mendez says she has fought with her own family over the issue of critical race theory in the classroom

During the interview, a neighbor walks past in the background and raises two middle fingers at Mendez and the camera.

When a group of parents stepped up to block the theory from being taught to their children, they were met with intense backlash from peers, including some who launched a Facebook group called Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County. 

In interviews released Thursday, several of the so-called ‘anti-CRT’ parents revealed how their friends, neighbors and families turned on them for speaking out.  

Loudoun County parent and president of the Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club Patti Hidalgo Menders said: ‘They put three pictures of me in there, and they called me a racist.

‘They had my first and last name, the name of my husband, where my son goes to high school, what town I live in, and they called me disgusting.’ 

Patti Hidalgo Menders, a Loudoun County parent and president of the Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club

Critical race theory is a school of thought that explores power structures and racial dynamics among minorities, with advocates of the concept claiming it creates a better understanding of diversity and different cultural backgrounds amongst those who study it. 

Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color. 

With diversity sensitivity trainings and evolving academic curricula coming to the forefront of the nation’s attention recently, the concept of CRT has become a powder keg of a theory for both critics and proponents alike.

The debate over CRT in Loudoun County appears to reflect its diverse ethnic makeup, according to a DataUSA report, with 55.1 percent being white/non-Hispanic, 19 percent Asian, eight percent white/Hispanic and 6.88 percent African American.

A Facebook group titled ‘Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County’ has been shaming anti-CRT parents online, detractors of CRT say

IT engineer and Kenyan immigrant Fred Rege lives in Loudoun County, where his two daughters are enrolled in the county’s public school system. Rege said that he knows of dozens of parents who, like him, agree that schools should be teaching critical race theory in the classroom.

However, none of those pro-CRT parents speak up for fear of retribution, according to Rege.

Kenyan immigrant Fred Rege is an advocate for teaching critical race theory in Loudoun County classrooms. ‘My number one responsibility is my children,’ he said

‘I finally got to the point where I said, “my number one responsibility is my children,”‘ says Rege. 

‘Even if it costs me certain things in society and canceling from this and canceling from that, you know, I’ll have my dignity. I’ll have my children’s, you know, integrity, and their self-belief, their belief in themselves intact. And that’s worth it.’ 

As for the pro-CRT Facebook group, Menders says their intimidation tactics have actually backfired into emboldening the opposition. 

‘They tried to intimidate us by using social media,’ Menders added. ‘But I’ll be honest, I feel like it’s emboldened my passion for this more.’

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  

The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.

The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.

The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.

The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.

Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.

Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.

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