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George Takei's False Equivalency Between Teaching CRT and Japanese Internment

(Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision/AP, File)

George Takei, the actor who’s still only famous for appearing on a television show in the 1960s, thinks that opposition to critical race theory is akin to banning teaching about Japanese-American internment during World War II.

“Is it wrong to teach about the Japanese American internment now?” Takei asked on Twitter. “Because I’ve spent my whole life telling our story, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let some fool at a school board meeting refuse to let their kids hear about what happened to us. The truth, people. Teach the truth.”

Takei didn’t cite a single example of parents demanding school boards stop teaching about Japanese-American internment. The most obvious reason for this is that no such examples exist. The comparison itself is a false equivalency. Critical race theory isn’t about teaching about slavery or about the civil rights movement. It’s historical revisionism and teaches kids to see everything through a racial lens.

In Loudoun County, Virginia, a mother took her kids out of the public school system in part because of critical race theory.

“My six-year-old somberly came to me and asked if she was born evil because she was a white person, something she learned in a history lesson at school,” she revealed at a school board meeting.

As a public school student, I certainly learned about slavery and the civil rights movement. Nobody left school wondering if they were evil because of things that had happened years before they were born. Similarly, students with German ancestry didn’t think of themselves to be evil because of their heritage after learning about the Holocaust.

Of course, there is a legitimate question to be raised here. Are public school students learning about Japanese internment the way they learn about slavery, the civil rights movement, or the Holocaust? Personally, I don’t remember learning about Japanese internment in school. It’s possible my experience isn’t typical, but as an adult, I’ve come to notice that Japanese-American internment is an issue that people know far less about than other injustices in history. I’ve suspected the reason for this is that the man responsible for it is a liberal icon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On February 19, 1942, just over two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, FDR signed Executive Order 9066, which resulted in Japanese immigrants and their descendants being placed in internment camps, even if they were legal American citizens. FDR is a widely celebrated figure in the history that American kids learn because they are taught that FDR ended the Great Depression—despite the fact his policies prolonged it. Does Japanese-American internment get glossed over to protect FDR’s legacy? Maybe. But the issue of whether or not it’s taught has nothing to do with CRT.