Quisha King is not going to sit by and allow her children, or anyone else’s, to be indoctrinated into the racist lies of critical race theory without putting up a fight. The Floridian mother of two went viral from a speech she made at a school board meeting, in which she spoke in favor of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposal to ban critical race theory from public schools in Florida, which the state Board of Education passed unanimously last week.
Many states are not so lucky, however, with the racist ideology being enacted in schools across the country, in both blatant and subtle ways, from prep schools in New York and New Jersey to government primary schools in the Midwest.
I spoke with King about her activism to prevent these racist lies from pervading schools. That viral speech is far from the start of her fight, as she noted: “I’ve been learning about CRT for over a year now, and I’ve been seeing a lot of the policies that are being pushed onto our children from the school board. I have been speaking at local school board meetings as well about CRT and them putting our children down, essentially. Putting them in these ‘oppressor,’ ‘oppressed’ categories. When I saw that a vote was coming up, I thought it was important that I make my voice known.”
“I know a lot of parents feel the same way I do, but some are just, quite frankly, a little intimidated or scared to speak up about it,” she added.
As a mother of two black children, King is particularly concerned about how critical race theory will harm black kids, who are being told they are less capable and will accomplish less than their white peers, due solely to their skin color.
“That is destructive for any young mind to believe that they can never rise up to the level of their own dreams, goals, and the things that they want to accomplish,” King said. “I think that’s a terrible way to start kids off into life, by telling them they are oppressed, especially today. Black Americans are the most successful black people in the entire world, so why in the world would we tell black children or any child that they are oppressed? If you tell a child they can’t do something, eventually, they won’t even try.”
One of King’s children attends public school while the other attends private school, thanks to school choice. In private school, she said, “there is certainly an awareness of being respectful of other cultures and learning about other cultures and learning about different experiences,” but the CRT indoctrination was far worse at the public school. “It’s more of a force in public schools, from what I’ve seen, instead of a learning experience.”
“In the public school, it’s more of a force of ‘you have to believe this.’ It’s not really teaching about different cultures and learning how to respect people and learning how to identify with people that you’re different than,” King told me. “It’s more of everybody just complaining about the different bad things that have happened to them and forcing other people to believe that is everyone in that identity group’s lived experience, and it’s not.”
With DeSantis’s new policy banning CRT from the classroom, parents have hope that this harmful, racist ideology will no longer be forced upon impressionable students, but these rules can only go so far. “It could subtly creep in,” King said.
She and other members of the organization Moms for Liberty have been advocating for specific plans for “monitoring what’s going on in the classroom” to prevent the indoctrination from slipping in undetected. King acknowledged the challenge with such oversight, saying, “It’s not like they have a critical race theory book, where the teachers are like, ‘okay, boys and girls, pull out your critical race theory book.’ It’s not like that. They weave it into regular, official curriculum.”
Since CRT is more of an idea than a specific lesson, students are still at risk of being force-fed its lies even if the school district or state has banned its teaching. For parents who wish to protect their children, King advises, “Get involved. It is important that we show up to these school board meetings. It is important that we make our voices known.”
“If you have evidence of teachers teaching [CRT], bring it forward. Constantly email your child’s teachers if you see things coming home and you question it,” King said. “It is our right to question. We are trusting them with our most precious resource, our babies, and if we’re not letting them know that we’re monitoring and we’ll speak up, then they will continue to just do whatever they want to do. We the people have the power, and we have to use that power.”