Banning Critical Race Theory in our schools is just another form of censorship

·3 min read

Critical Race Theory

As a life-long educator, I vehemently oppose censorship of material in our schools. I read in The State and other reputable newspapers that South Carolina is among at least sixteen states that are under GOP control and are practicing censorship in the banning of ideas linked to Critical Race Theory in our schools.

The authorities on this subject, the National Education Association and the National Council of Social Studies, oppose legislation that curtails the ideas taught in our public schools. We must trust our professional educators to lead discussions about issues that make students think and examine them.

Critical Race Theory might address, for example, that S.C.’s native son Dr. J. Marion Sims, known as the father of gynecology, performed on slave women gynecological experiments without anesthesia, much less their permission. I believe our teachers can discuss racism in history without distorting the facts. We need to know about events such as the 1921 Greenwood massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma and why it happened.

Let teachers teach and let our students learn critical thinking! To do otherwise is denying our young people the education they deserve.

Elizabeth Jones, Columbia

Protect our coastline

The State recently published an article providing tips on how to prepare for yet another chaotic hurricane season. Unfortunately, storms and flooding are becoming progressively larger threats to South Carolina’s coast as climate change progresses. Coastal homeowners, businesses, and fisheries all can expect to feel the negative impacts of harsher storms and warming oceans.

South Carolina owes around $9 billion in economic output to coastal tourism, and it’s important that we invest in infrastructure that protects both our coastal economy and our coastal residents. Natural infrastructure (such as living shorelines) can help buffer these problems and support coastal communities.

For example, construction of living shorelines and restoration of marshes and wetlands provide natural barriers to flooding and property damage during storms. Investments in these forms of natural infrastructure pay off in other ways, too: restored coastlines create jobs, help sequester carbon, and support commercially important fish stocks.

As Congress continues to discuss investments in infrastructure, they should invest in natural infrastructure, too. A $10 billion of investment in coastal restoration would be hugely beneficial to our coastlines. The climate is changing, but we can urge our representatives to invest in our oceans now to help protect us for the future.

Ben Hurley, Columbia

Small businesses

With COVID-19, people have realized the need to strengthen our small business economy and make it more resilient against future crises and disasters. Finding innovative new ways to connect with clients and prospects, networking virtually during a lack of in-person events, and leveraging technology to lessen the impact of shutdowns and similar government orders have all been valuable means of lessening COVID-19’s impact.

The impact of the mostly free technology that so many small businesses have benefited from during the pandemic is backed up by research: A recent Connected Commerce Council study showed that digitally advanced businesses retained customers at a rate of 3.2x better than less digitally advanced small businesses. It’s imperative that we continue to encourage innovation of such tools to develop a robust defense to economic hardship. In the interest of South Carolina businesses, we should be encouraging tech companies to continue to innovate and further develop their network of free tools to help small businesses flourish.

Stone Pinckney, Columbia

Voter suppression laws

I’ve been thinking about the voter suppression laws passed across the country, and one clear intent of these laws stands out. And that is to make it more difficult for minorities to vote, mostly Black and brown citizens, who predominantly lean Democratic. Not only are there many barriers put in place with these laws, but most have a provision where the legislature can undo or void election results — and that may be the biggest threat to our democracy in history!

Jim Palmer, Clemson

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