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Mighty white of you, Paso!

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What do Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Paso Robles have in common? They all share a misunderstanding and irrational fear of critical race theory (CRT). The four states passed legislation to outlaw CRT in K-12 public schools even though CRT isn't taught in K-12 public schools. Now the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has joined the paranoia parade with its drafted Resolution 21-27, which prohibits "the teaching of Critical Race Theory."

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First, the actual complexity of CRT ideas is over the heads of most college undergrads. It's taught in graduate schools, certainly not K-12. Paso has fallen into the Culture War morass by conflating some of CRT's ideas with the notion that teaching that white people have done terrible things is racist in and of itself.

What's even prohibited from being taught, Paso? Can teachers not teach about slavery, the American Civil War, Native American relocation and the Trail of Tears, Japanese Internment, Jim Crow laws, or civil rights legislation? These things aren't CRT ideas. They're historical facts! To pretend the United States doesn't have a history of racism is to welcome a continuation of racism.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," American philosopher George Santayana intoned in The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Are we educating our students or leading them into carefully curated ignorance? It's not indoctrination into liberalism to teach children about America's past mistakes. It's history.

Sadly, transforming CRT into a boogieman is another step in the conservative-led Culture War that began with the irrational fear that teaching about socialism and Marxism in the '30s would turn America communist. From there the fearmongering went on to the John Birch Society's worry that teaching about economic inequality would make America socialist, to the Canon Wars regarding what books could be taught, to handwringing over ethic studies and multicultural courses. Remember when people were losing their shit over "Ebonics"?

For those who think systemic racism doesn't exist, well, it probably appears that way from a position of white privilege. When you're standing atop 400 years of oppression, you barely notice all the whipped and broken bodies beneath your feet. I mean, it's not like they're a pea under your Dreamcloud® super soft quilted memory foam mattress!

The people who think we should ignore racism seem to have three basic arguments: "It wasn't me! I didn't enslave anyone."

OK, but can you not see how white Americans, even those who weren't slave owners, benefitted from the system of slavery and continue to?

Then there's the "I don't see color" crowd, which explains their outfits, but the society and culture you're moving through certainly does see color. Why are there so few Black presidents and so many Black prisoners?

And then my favorite! Whataboutism! "If American is inherently racist, what about Oprah! Jay-Z! Obama! If they can succeed, that proves America isn't racist!"

Except that pointing out outliers—Andrew Jackson! Jefferson Davis! David Duke!—cuts both ways.

Everyone's favorite Texas idiot Ted Cruz described CRT as "every bit as racist as Klansmen in white sheets," demonstrating he clearly doesn't understand CRT any better than the reactionaries of Paso Robles, who might want to read Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. I'd also recommend Ibram X. Kendi's How to be an Antiracist, but I'm afraid their heads might explode.

Bottom line: Paso, you are considering outlawing teaching something that isn't taught in K-12, and you just might pass a resolution that will prohibit your teachers from imparting actual American history to your children. Slow. Clap. Idiots. I liked you better when you were mishandling your finances.

And speaking of finances, it appears the SLO County Board of Supervisors had a come-to-Jesus moment over its gross mishandling of the county cannabis industry. Hallelujah!

Currently the county is $3.2 million in the hole with cannabis in the past four or so years. Only 20 businesses are permitted and operational! There are only a total of 15 acres of cultivation in the whole county! Let's compare that to Santa Barbara, which has 300 acres under cultivation. SB is actually making money on cannabis—projecting nearly $17 million in taxes this year compared to just $800,000 or so in SLO.

Why? Because instead of creating policies to help facilitate this legal segment of the agricultural industry, the BOS—especially the two most conservative members, 4th District Supe Lynn Compton and 5th District Super Debbie Arnold—has made the process of acquiring grow permits exceedingly slow and prohibitively expensive. And then applications are denied because of NIMBYism.

Can someone explain to me how conservatives can be the "don't tread on me" and "give me freedom or give me death" crowd and also the "not in my backyard" crowd? Y'all are givin' me whiplash!

Just do what SB did—have one programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that covers the entire county, so when a new grow application is submitted, it doesn't have to generate its own EIR. Guess which two supes were against it? Winner!

Another winner: Guy Savage, who said he's made it through his whole county administration career without getting shredded. Congrats on your retirement, Guy, and on having the best name! Δ

The Shredder has the best name. Send comments and suggestions to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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