WICHITA, Kansas — Lessons about racism and discrimination are part of what Kansas kids learn at school — from kindergarten songs to high school lectures on Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled racial segregation unconstitutional.
But a debate raging over those public school lessons is likely to dominate discussion in the Kansas Legislature in the coming year.
The controversy over critical race theory — the idea that slavery, Jim Crow and systemic racism are key to understanding American history — has quickly become a battleground in the country’s ongoing culture wars.
“We’re seeing people uncomfortable with particular viewpoints or stories or narratives suggesting that no one should have access to those stories or viewpoints or narratives,” said Nora Pelizzari, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship. “And that’s very dangerous, and it’s very un-American.”