Texas school district cancels Black author’s visit, pulls books over race fears
KATY, Texas (KPRC) - A petition was circulating over a scheduled guest speaker - a children’s book author at a Texas school.
Jerry Craft writes stories about Black boys dealing with race issues in school. A group of parents in the Katy Independent School District is calling that critical race theory, and that led to the school district cancelling the event and “temporarily” removing the books.
A flyer sent to parents of Roosevelt Alexander Elementary School touted the Monday virtual visit of Craft, an award-winning children’s books author.
According to Craft’s website, his books “New Kid” and “Class Act” tell the stories of young Black boys who experience culture shock at a private school with little diversity.
“They were pretty excited about it,” parent Omerly Sanchez said.
She said her kids were looking forward to the visit and are already fans of the books. “He loved it. He said it was funny,” Sanchez said.
“It is inappropriate instructional material,” said Bonnie Anderson, a former candidate for the school board. “They are pointed at white children displaying microaggressions to children of color. The books don’t come out and say, ‘We want white children to feel like oppressors,’ but that is absolutely what they will do.”
The flyer gave parents a chance to opt out, but Anderson decided to start a petition on Change.org, since deleted, to have the event canceled.
“They’re uncomfortable with touching that subject,” Sanchez said. “They’re uncomfortable with knowing they’re part of the problem.”
In September, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools.
“A teacher may not teach that an individual by virtue of the individual’s sex or race is inherently racist sexist or oppressive,” said bill co-author, Republican Representative Steve Toth.
Scholars said critics have it all wrong.
“Critical race theory is definitely not about teaching white kids that they are inherently racist. It’s really more so about understanding how institutional racism is instituted in society, organizations and government,” said Darius Benton, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Downtown.
Jerry Craft did not respond to requests for comment, but in a tweet replying to parents asking why his visit was postponed and his books potentially banned, he wrote, “Apparently I’m teaching critical race theory.”
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