#FundTheMentals

by Jerid Woods

On March 21st, 2022 the nation gathered around televisions, turned on laptops, and hovered over cell phones to watch the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson. The hearings were at times scathing, piercing, confusing, and uplifting and what we walked away with was a three-day view into how America has come to do politics in this country. In our traditional tribalistic political landscape things seem to have gotten more divided than ever, though the two competing sides, democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives, have always been at odds when it comes to policies of education, spirituality, history, and the economy.

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When it comes to education, Senator Ted Cruz took what has become a familiar stance against Critical Race theory. He chose redacted positions on two texts specifically, The Anti Racist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, in which he read certain pieces and left out the context, utilizing specific lines to produce his desired effect. Where Stamped critiqued Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that sending Black folk back to where they came from would make America what it was always meant to be in his eyes, Senator Cruz honed in on the next paragraph wondering if Black folk were thinking: Where can we send you all? Back to Europe? Further proving the need for critical race theory, which quite literally provides context for the power dynamic at play when one of the forefathers of America ponders his power to send an entire race of people back to where they were stolen from in the first place.

This is why reading for yourself is important. This is why reading in general: is important. This moment in history, though immensely important, shouldn’t serve as our only reason for reading. As we know all too well, Black folk have had a history with reading that calls attention to just how much can be hidden by people in positions of power. People who have our demise in mind and those who have convinced us that they have us in mind, only to be found to be snakes in prettier, more palatable clothing.

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