The Arizona Legislature is considering various bills to prevent the teaching of controversial subjects, which is really just a dog whistle for preventing the teaching of true American history. Multiple bills, including HCR2001 and HB2112, are written to gag teachers and silence students out of the fear that some students might feel “uncomfortable” when learning about the very troubled past of our country. If we fail to learn about this past, we are doomed to forever perpetuate these ills.
The sponsors and supporters of these bills, widely known as anti-CRT bills, are either coming from a place of ignorance or white supremacy. From my experience, it’s usually a combination of both. These are the folks who would fight to keep a Confederate statue in one breath and ban a book on Rosa Parks in the next.
Recently, I spoke to a corporate panel on the intersection of race, technology and business. I explained that racism was a zero-sum game and that America’s redemption was dependent on white men giving up jobs, money and power against their will, for the betterment of all. I explained they would never do it gladly, but at some point the nation would be embarrassed by something – in the way that the Cold War, Kennedy’s assassination, and the first truly global TV images being of Selma were the real catalysts of early civil rights acceptance at the federal level – and would be forced to balance itself along sex and race lines. I said that the unpaid debt of systemic oppression of women and people of color would ultimately come due. I made people uncomfortable. I thought they would never want to hear from me again, but the next week I was invited back, and in May I’ll be speaking to a Global Executive team on the topic. It turns out people want to hear honest, straight talk and the time is ripe.
These are smart people who care about economics. They have a lot to lose if they are seen on the wrong side of history. They have a deep understanding of financial risk. They care more about money than hubris or politics.
On the flip side, the radicalized Republicans running the Arizona Legislature seem to care nothing about economics or the well-being of the state. They care about what gets them votes and Twitter likes. I have no patience for the toxic level of political discourse in Arizona and have no faith in our state leaders to find the political courage to lead us in a new direction.
Nothing will change until we elect new people at the ballot box. This is why I am proud to support groups like Save Our Schools Arizona, which are leading the field efforts to ensure a new brand of candidates get elected. Those who support public schools and the teaching of our nation’s true history, and even more importantly support integrity, morality, and decency. We need to elect new leaders this November 8, or our economy and our state are doomed.
Geoff Mobisson, CEO of Periti Digital, is board president, Save Our Schools Arizona Network.