(Todd A. Smith)
In the Bible verse Luke 19:40, Jesus Christ said, “…I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Jesus made that remark to the Pharisees who wanted Him to rebuke His disciples.
The disciples rejoiced and praised God, but the Pharisees did not like the adulation that He received from those disciples.
Jesus basically said that even if you silenced man, rocks would cry out and praise Him and preach His word.
When I think of the controversial topic of critical race theory, that verse of the Bible comes to mind.
If critical race theory opponents are successful in rewriting the history books that children study, that will not stop the true history of African-Americans from reaching the masses and hopefully bringing people together.
The weeping rocks of true American history now come in the form of holidays and celebrations that honor the true struggle and sacrifice of our ancestors.
Although I was hesitant at first about the commercialization of Juneteenth, the new holiday (along with Martin Luther King Day and celebrations like Kwanzaa and Black History Month) are more necessary than ever because it might be the only opportunity for young Americans to learn the true history of this country, as well as African culture, principles and customs.
First, knowledgeable people know that critical race theory is a law school elective that teaches how systemic racism has impacted this country and African-Americans in particular.
Honest people know that law school electives are not taught in elementary schools, middle schools or high schools.
Law school courses, in fact, are not even taught in undergraduate school.
Therefore, there is no way that teaching critical race theory will negatively impact young White kids or hurt their feelings because the subject is not even taught to grade school students.
What was taught in schools was American history, tamed down for the specific age group studying the subject.
Nevertheless, racist parents who feel guilty when their children are taught about racism have made the issue a rallying cry for many White conservatives during the 2022 midterm elections.
School board members have gotten replaced by people vowing to stop the teaching of true American history.
Even principals have lost their jobs for mentioning race or racism.
This effort to remove the conversation of race from the classrooms is just a way for racists to pretend they are not racists and a way to stop the country from becoming the true melting pot that it should be.
People who oppose teaching America’s true history in classrooms are simply trying to maintain White supremacy and protect White fragility.
Despite their worst efforts, those rocks will continue to cry out.
The rocks shed a few tears last year when President Joe Biden made Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday.
However, on June 19 of this year those rocks began to openly weep for joy as people of all races and backgrounds gathered in their cities and towns to honor the day when African-Americans in Galveston, Texas finally found out about their emancipation in 1865.
Stories of why the news took so long to reach the Gulf Coast were shared in all avenues of the media.
Houston held a free concert at Emancipation Park in the Third Ward neighborhood featuring R&B legends like Kool & The Gang, The Isley Brothers, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Sheila E.
The location of the concert was not lost on Houstonians because Emancipation Park was purchased by freed slaves so that they could have a place to congregate, fellowship and celebrate Juneteenth in the years following their freedom from bondage.
The neighborhood of Third Ward eventually became a neighborhood filled with African-American lawyers, doctors, businesspeople, educators and community leaders, symbolizing how far African-Americans came in the decades following emancipation and despite Jim Crow being determined to stop their progress.
In the 1980s, those rocks began to cry out as well after former President Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday into law.
In January of every year, television screens and radios are filled with some of King’s most famous words of nonviolence, racial harmony, an end to militarism and the dangers of out-of-control capitalism and greed.
Furthermore, every February this country celebrates Black History Month.
During that month, Americans of all ages are taught about the well-known and unsung heroes of American history.
The people that overcame racism, oppression, discrimination and segregation on their road to success.
They learn about the real Americans that made this country great in the first place.
Sports leagues like the NBA honor Black History Month and Martin Luther King Day ensuring that their fans get exposed to the true history of this country, no matter how ugly that history truly is.
Furthermore, professional leagues do a great job of honoring other marginalized communities like the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities.
Moreover, the week after Christmas leading into the new year, news outlets highlight the Kwanzaa celebration, that honors African customs and traditions.
In a country that has often looked down on foreign customs, Kwanzaa gives young people exposure to the beautiful African culture that was stripped from African-Americans because of the transatlantic slave trade.
All those rocks, regardless of the demographic that they represent, are rocks that will not remain silent even if hateful people want to take the country backwards into a time when minorities kept their mouths shut and stayed in their proverbial place.
And those rocks will continue to cry out no matter who wants to silence them.