Glenn Youngkin says 'we should teach all of that' when Jake Tapper brings up 1619 Project during CNN Townhall

"We must step back and teach all that. And then we have to recognize where we are today."


On Thursday, GOP Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin participated in a CNN town hall focused on public education that found Youngkin agreeing that the historically debunked, critical race theory-infused 1619 Project should be taught in schools.

"What do you say to a teacher who wants to teach what any number of scholars who say that the condition of black Americans today can be traced all the way back to Fort Monroe in 1619, that it's not as if every generation is just brought forth new, that there were hundreds of years of slavery, a hundred years of Jim Crow, and today is part of that."

Tying the "condition of black Americans" to 1619 is a reference to the 1619 Project.

"Youngkin responded by saying "we must step back and teach all that. And then we have to recognize where we are today."

An audience member and social studies teacher had previously asked Youngkin to distinguish between "teaching CRT (critical race theory) in the classroom and the teaching of historical injustices such as slavery and segregation" and Youngkin replied, "Teaching our history is critical. And I have said all along that our standard should be to teach all of it the good and the bad."

Tapper asked Youngkin a follow-up question concerning CRT, which Youngkin banned in schools via executive order when he took office, and said, "So other than CRT, can you give us a specific example of what is an inherently divisive concept that you think should not be taught in Virginia Schools?"

Youngkin said the "inherently divisive concepts" that he has banned are taken from the lessons of the Civil Rights Act and gives the example of "teaching children that they're inherently biased or racist because of their race or their sex or their religion. They teach that a child is guilty for sins of the past because of their race or their religion or their sex. They teach that a child is oppressed or a victim because of their race, their religion or their sex."

"You see, critical race theory isn't a class that's taught, it's something that - it's a philosophy that's incorporated in the curriculum," Youngkin said.

Youngkin gave the example of "privilege bingo" that was being played in Virginia's Fairfax County, as well as curriculum in schools and professional trainings.

He also said it was important to "clearly define" the CRT as a philosophy, not a curriculum, invoking the ideology's origin popularized by Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado's book "Critical Race Theory: An Introduction." According to Stefancic and Delgado, CRT is an activist principle that began in academia that posited that racism was ordinary and endemic to American society. The theory states any statistical disparity among ethnic groups is hard evidence of racism and then defines individuals by their racial and ethnic identity and then assigns them a place within structures and hierarchies of power.

Speaking to Tapper, Youngkin said he had CRT removed so "we're not pitting our children against one another based on race or religion or their sex but, you know, teaching all history, the good and the bad."

Youngkin was then asked by a member of the crowd, "Do you agree that there's an unspoken culture? of racism and implicit bias against teachers of color within school districts nationwide?"

"I believe racism exists, and racism has existed for centuries and 1000s of years, and we should condemn it," Youngkin said. "And you know, my faith teaches me first to love God above all other things, and then to love each other as He loves us. And I think it is imperative that there's no room for racism. There's no room for bias. There's no room for harassment in our schools or in our communities. I also believe that we have an opportunity to come together as Virginians and as Americans and lock arms and say we're going to look forward and we're going to create opportunity."

"See, we've found ourselves in a moment, where we're allowing ourselves to be pitted against one another in all things. And we all of a sudden find that everything has to be viewed through a lens of race. I don't think we should ignore our past. I think we should know it. I don't think we should pretend that racism doesn't exist, because it does. But how we move forward is up to us. And I think there's an opportunity for us to put down the accusations and put down the judgment and move together in a way that lifts up all people," he added.


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