Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday denounced the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in schools, declaring that Black children could be completely empowered without making White children feel bad for their race.
During a guest host appearance on ABC's "The View," Rice, the first Black woman to head the State Department, cited her experience growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, as she argued that young children didn't need to be taught CRT and parents needed to have a say in their children's education.
"I’m not certain seven-year-olds need to learn it," Rice said as co-host Whoopi Goldbergreferenced the debate over the teaching of CRT and how big a voice parents should have in the education of their children.
Co-host Joy Behar claimed parents shouldn't be interfering in schools to the extent that they have a say over the subject a teacher is able to teach.
"If they are adamant and they don’t want you to teach what is going to be taught, period, they’re going to have to home-school their kids because this is not going to wash," she said.
"Well, they’re actually homeschooling them in increasing numbers and I think that’s a signal," Rice said. "First of all, parents ought to be involved in their children’s education … I think parents ought to have a say. We used to have parent-teacher conferences. We used to have PTAs. There are lots of ways for parents to be involved, and they should be."
Rice turned to CRT and noted while she was growing up in Birmingham, she experienced the pain of segregation.
"My parents never thought I was going to grow up in a world without prejudice, but they also told me, ‘That’s somebody else's problem, not yours. You're going to overcome it and you are going to be anything you want to be,'" Rice said. "That’s the message that I think we ought to be sending to kids."
"One of the worries that I have about the way that we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that somehow White people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past – I don’t think that’s very productive – or Black people have to feel disempowered by race," she added.
"I would like Black kids to be completely empowered, to know that they are beautiful in their Blackness, but in order to do that I don’t have to make White kids feel bad for being White," she said.
Goldberg said if a teacher is good at her job, they would merely teach children about problematic racial history in the hopes it wouldn't be repeated.
"I have no problem with letting people know what happened, but let’s remember history is complex. Human beings aren’t angels now and they weren’t angels in the past," Rice said. "And so how we teach about our history is also important."
Rice clashed with co-host Sunny Hostin, who claimed, without evidence, that some parents were seeking to prevent their children from learning the "real" history of America and reaching a point of "true racial reconciliation."
"Come on now," Rice said..
"People are being taught the true history, but I just have to say one more thing: It goes back to how we teach the history. We teach the good and we teach the bad of history. But what we don’t do is make 7- and 10-year-olds feel that they are somehow bad people because of the color of their skin," she added. "We've been through that, and we don't need to do that again for anyone."