In 1986, President Ronald Reagan stated that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” At an earlier time, the three words that could terrify an entire community were “Nat Turner’s coming.” This occurred after Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southhampton County, Virginia in August 1831. The Rebellion claimed the lives between 55 and 65 people of whom about 51 were white. While the Rebellion was suppressed in a few days, Nat Turner was not captured until October 30, 1831. During that time the three words, “Nat Turner’s Coming” could generate wild confusion and fear even if uttered by school children. Chicken Little caused great havoc In the fictional town of Oakey Oaks where citizens were thrown into a panic when Chicken Little sounds the school bell, proclaiming the sky is falling. Leading the town folk to the village square, he claims that a piece of sky shaped like a stop sign hit him in the head. However, there does not appear to be anything there, except some acorns. Chicken Little’s father, Buck Cluck, assumes that maybe it was just an acorn, and that his son slightly exaggerated the situation. Buck apologizes for the ‘false alarm’ but the townsfolk are not as quick to forgive Chicken Little. The story ends on a more complicated note, but it does indicate the power of words.
Christopher F. Rufo is an American conservative activist and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributor to its magazine the City Journal. From being a lesser known film documentarian, writer and researcher, Rufo seized upon critical race theory and intentionally misused the term to conflate various leftwing race-related ideas to create a negative association. According to Rufo, “I am quite intentionally redefining what ‘critical race theory’ means in the public mind, expanding it as a catchall for the new racial orthodoxy. “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’’ Rufo’s plan exceeded his imagination with anything that suggested whites had committed any offense that injured blacks and other people of color damaged white youth with an unbearable burden of “guilt.” Ruby Bridges as a 6-year-old at all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans told her own story in a children’s book, Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story. The story portrays the racism she experienced with the integration of the school. While the book published in 2009 was highly rated and praised, it was labeled “critical race theory” by conservative parents in Tennessee who claimed that its portrayal of an angry white crowd treats white people too harshly and doesn’t show them being redeemed in the end. One North Texas administrator advised teachers if they had books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they should also include reading materials that have “opposing” perspectives of the genocide that killed millions of Jews. Martin Luther King Day will require a little different presentation within the acceptable parameters of critical race theory. Since no words can be recited that might make a white child feel guilty, only words that cannot offend such as “we should not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character” will be acceptable. Other words such as “being thwarted by “vicious racists” in places “sweltering with the heat of oppression” and “the Negro is still not free crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination must be omitted. Words such as “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only” should be expunged. George Orwell once insightfully said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”