Brian Kilmeade: America's war on American history

Critical race theory is waging a war against both our children and our history

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Editor’s note: Don’t miss Brian Kilmeade’s new book "The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle for America’s Soul" which will be released on November 2.

Last week, the first Black female Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice weighed in on the critical race theory being taught to children in too many of America’s schools.  

"I would like Black kids to be completely empowered to know they are beautiful in their Blackness," she said while appearing on "The View."  "But in order to do that, I don’t need to make White kids feel bad for being White."

CONDOLEEZZA RICE DENOUNCES CRITICAL RACE THEORY: 'I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE WHITE KIDS FEEL BAD FOR BEING WHITE'

This seemingly obvious statement is controversial today thanks to critical race theory, which is waging a war against both our children and our history. 

From the campaign trail to school board meetings to private barbeques, every part of American society has become a battle ground as promoters of CRT argue that we should erase American history and teach children to view themselves through the prism of race. 

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on "The View" on October 20, 2021

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on "The View" on October 20, 2021 (ABC The View screenshot)

Let’s address that second point first. Why in the 21st Century do we want to teach second graders or even fifth graders that they are oppressors, privileged or even white supremacists on the one hand or victims on the other? 

Why must children apologize for horrible deeds that happened centuries ago, for which they are not responsible and which their ancestors may not even have been around for? 

CRITICAL RACE THEORY INFILTRATING AMERICA’S 25 MOST ELITE PRIVATE K-12 SCHOOLS, ACCORDING TO NEW STUDY

One of our greatest American heroes would be horrified to see this. In researching and writing "The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle for America’s Soul," I noticed that Frederick Douglass, the victim of the worst racism you can imagine, knew that children weren’t born racist.

Born a slave, Douglass chronicled almost no racism among White children in his autobiography, "My Bondage and My Freedom." 

He wrote, "I do not remember ever to have met with a boy, while I was in slavery, who defended the slave system; but I have often had boys to console me, with the hope that something would yet occur, by which I might be made free."   In fact he was so close with one his White play mates, Daniel, that he concluded "The equality of nature is strongly asserted in childhood . . . Color makes no difference with a child."

GETTING CRITICAL RACE THEORY OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS HARDER THAN PASSING A LAW

To teach our children the truth about America, including about racism in America, we should be teaching them more history, not less. 

We don’t need to sugarcoat anything: yes, America’s history with the horrors of slavery is real. 

Sadly, our founders knew it was wrong, but they allowed it to remain. 

Thomas Jefferson called slavery "a cruel war against human nature itself." 

James Madison argued that "it would be wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men." 

Benjamin Franklin, a former slaveholder, described slavery as "an atrocious debasement of human nature." 

George Washington told an early biographer when talking about his slaves, "the unfortunate condition of the persons, whose labor in part I employed has been the only unavoidable subject of regret" and he "hoped to have laid a foundation to prepare a rising generation for a destiny different from that in which they were born." 

TEACHING ABOUT RACE DOESN'T MEAN TEACHING ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY, ACTIVISTS SAY

Knowing slavery was wrong did not make it easy to eliminate. Slavery was present on six continents at the time of our founding, and as different as our nation was from others we could not separate ourselves from this inhumane practice. 

Our founders failed to come up with a plan that would defeat the British, establish a nation, and provide liberty truly for all. 

What you just read was not whitewashing our history, but an example of what it means to tell the whole story of history.  

It is tragic that our great founders also gave this nation our original sin, and this is a tragedy most American citizens have been taught about for generations.  We don’t duck our past, both good and bad.

Instead, we evolve. The man who was perhaps our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, had to evolve. 

We see in my book, "The President and the Freedom Fighter," that he inherited a country that had broken in half.  

Much to the horror of Frederick Douglass and millions of other Americans, he was willing to keep slavery in the short term to put our nation back together. But when that was proven impossible,  Lincoln would not only emancipate the slaves, but would, with the help of Douglass, recruit 200,000 Black soldiers to fight for the Union and would make abolition part of his second campaign. 

Lincoln’s evolution took time, but Frederick Douglass himself argued that the pace of the change was good. "Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union," he would have alienated large numbers of people and "rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined."

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When Lincoln visited the headquarters of Jefferson Davis after the most brutal war in American history ended, he was greeted by thousands of grateful African Americans, who were experiencing perhaps their first days of true freedom. 

Lincoln, clearly moved, offered them a few words.

"My poor friends," he said, "you are free—free as air…Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years." (The crowd shouted in joyful approval, but when Lincoln resumed speaking, they fell silent.)

"You must try to deserve this priceless boon," Lincoln continued. "Let the world see that you merit it, and are able to maintain it by your good works.

It seems to be the same message Secretary Rice was trying to convey on "The View" recently when she spoke of her upbringing:

"I grew up in segregated, Birmingham, Alabama. I couldn’t go to a movie theater, or to a restaurant with my parents. I went to segregated schools until we moved to Denver. 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.’ 

And that’s the message that I think we ought to be sending to kids.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2004 file photo, Secretary of State Colin Powell talks with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice during the plenary session of the Special Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico. President Bush sits in the foreground. (AP Photo/Jaime Puebla, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2004 file photo, Secretary of State Colin Powell talks with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice during the plenary session of the Special Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico. President Bush sits in the foreground. (AP Photo/Jaime Puebla, File) (The Associated Press)

In order to equip our children to stand and fight against evils of every sort, we need to empower them with the truth about themselves and about history, not poison them with racist bigotry or teach them less about our heroes of the past.

Any time America is gets stuck great men and women have lifted us up and shown us the way. 

The question now is who is going to step up and steer our great economic and military superpower through this perilous time, a time which I have deemed a war on our own history?

I am sure you can name many that have the potential to emerge and although I cannot name the person who will guide us through this dark time, I guarantee you that that person will recognize America’s greatness.

He or she will know this nation is not perfect but will also know that what makes us great is that we try to be. 

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Fredrick Douglass and Abe Lincoln, both born in terrible conditions, with Douglass’ far worse, knew this about America. They both overcame all obstacles, saved our nation, and are remembered with honor. 

Who would like to join them?

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THESE TWO GREAT MEN IN MY BOOK: "THE PRESIDENT AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTER."