'We teach the truth': Teacher addresses CRT as Black History Month begins

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools teacher Turquioise Parker is excited about the start of Black History Month.

"We teach the truth," she said in an interview with ABC11. "We're going to amplify what we already do because this is necessary," Parker said, speaking of teaching Black history to her students. "Clearly if critical race theory is a topic right now, then clearly we are doing our jobs. And so now ... we're just going to beef up what we're already doing."

Parker's comments come as the debate over the controversial Critical Race Theory continues.

"We'll have to have a conversation," said Parker. Those against CRT have often debated its use in the classroom and how some students have felt ashamed or guilty of their race, culture, and heritage. "Let's build a relationship and let's talk about why we, why you feel this way, why I feel this way while we're on opposing sides and how we can come together on this. If we can come together on this. We're not going to win everybody, that's that's the truth."

Durham Public Schools does not officially teach Critical Race Theory, which is generally reserved for post-secondary education, such as undergraduate and graduate level coursework.

UNC-Chapel Hill student Greear Webb said studying Africana Studies said he believes all students should learn about Black history.

"The conversations that we have to have when it comes to race and always feeling like (Black people) have to explain our existence or being that shouldn't have to happen ... that's uncomfortable," said Webb. "And so when just talking about history, talking about the truth becomes uncomfortable. I think we have a much larger conversation."

Webb was in student government when journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones was not initially offered tenure at UNC-Chapel Hill. The tenured position was later offered. However, Hannah-Jones declined the position, instead accepting a role at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

"How can we improve something, how can we change the lives of those who have been historically oppressed, if we're not able to criticize," Webb asked. "I do think it's possible. I do think that continuing to tell the truth about Critical Race Theory, its tenets, its values, who came up with the idea, and why is important...I think that it's something that can certainly be discussed at many levels in different ways."
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