Texas School District withdraws books from acclaimed black author amid critical claims about race theory
A school district nearby Houston canceled the appearance from an award-winning children’s illustrator and author, whose books tell stories about black children struggling to fit into unfamiliar environments, amid the assertions of critical race theory.
Jerry Craft was scheduled to appear before students and staff at Roosevelt Alexander Elementary School virtually Monday until Katy’s Independent School District disengaged some parents’ objections.
In response to a question about why his books were “banned,” Craft tweeted last week, “Apparently I teach critical race theory.”
A ISD spokesperson Katy said Craft’s appearance can be rescheduled and her books have been “temporarily” suppressed as the district reviews this work in the next 15 days.
“Katy ISD’s library books are regularly reviewed during this process and the district encourages parents to do so,” the district representative said in a statement.
“The event was not canceled; it was postponed. To date, the district has received only one formal challenge and has followed council policy regarding such requests.”
graphic novel by Craft, “New Kid”, was awarded the John Newbery medal in 2020. In “New Kid”, Crafts tell the story of Jordan Banks, seventh grade, and how he navigates his worlds at home and at a prestigious private school where he is one of the few minority students.
“This is inappropriate educational material,” said Bonnie Anderson, a Caucasian mother. “The books don’t say we want white children to feel like oppressors, but that is absolutely what they will do.”
Anderson has launched a now-suppressed online petition to have the event canceled.
Wednesday, American Library Association issued a statement from Craft in response to the petition. The association said the dissidents “claim that the book teaches critical race theory and therefore should not be taught in schools.”
In his statement, Craft said nothing would deter him from his goals of “helping kids become the kind of readers I’ve never been; letting kids see each other on my pages; and showing kids of color. like ordinary children “.
“As an African American boy who grew up in Washington Heights, New York, I hardly ever saw children like me in any of the books given to me at school,” according to the statement. Craft. “Books for children like me seemed to only deal with history or misery.”
Critical Race Theory, the academic study of the pervasive impact of racism, is viewed by some parents and conservative activists as left-wing indoctrination.
Educational material that focuses on the role race and institutional racism play in the daily lives of Americans is crucial, said Darius Benton, who teaches communication at the University of Houston-Downtown.
“Critical race theory is certainly not about teaching white children that they are inherently racist,” Benton said. “It’s really about understanding how institutional racism is instituted in society.”