Under New Critical Race Curriculum “White People, Historic Figures, All Look Like Buffoons or Aggressors” – Providence (RI) Teacher Ramona Bessinger
On Megyn Kelly Podcast: “Not to speak out is to deny students and children that very crucial comprehensive education that they’re entitled to as American children.”
Ramona Bessinger is the Providence, Rhode Island, middle school teacher who has received enormous national media coverage after blowing the whistle on the destructive racialized new curriculum, and then the retaliation that followed, all in posts by her at Legal Insurrection:
- I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School (July 13, 2021)
- Ramona Bessinger: I’m A Middle School Teacher Facing Retaliation After Blowing The Whistle On Critical Race Curriculum (October 3, 2021)
We have documented the intensifying retaliation, culminating in a decision to suspend her for 5 days without pay and transfer her to a new school:
- Harassment Of Providence Anti-Critical Race Whistleblower Teacher Ramona Bessinger Intensified
- Providence Anti-Critical Race Whistleblower Teacher Ramona Bessinger Taunted In Troubling Schoolyard Incident
- Providence Anti-CRT Whistleblower Teacher Ramona Bessinger Hit With Suspension And Transfer
Megyn Kelly Show – Short Version
Bessinger appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Sirius radio show (posted as a podcast also) on October 19, 2021. Here is a short version posted by Kelly’s show, followed by a partial transcript. You can watch the full version — well worth it — at the bottom of this post.
Partial Transcript of Short Version
(Auto-generated, may contain transcription errors. Time stamps approximate.)
Megyn Kelly, Host of the “Megyn Kelly Show” (00:03):
I related so much when I read that you said, in the 2020/21 school year, so last year, Providence’s K-8 teachers were introduced to “one of the most racially divisive, hateful, and in large part, historically inaccurate curriculums” you had ever seen. I feel like I lived this firsthand, the year prior, in my own school in New York City. And I was one of the parents who got an up-close look at it, thanks to the quarantine. But I had been seeing it there even prior to that. So how did you start seeing it? ‘Cause I think critics get hung up on the term “critical race theory,” saying, “That’s a law school thing that’s taught.” And I’ve conceded. Just move off of that. That’s a red herring. It’s basically race-based obsession working its way into the school system, saying the white kids are oppressors and that the kids of color are the oppressed; they’re the victims. White supremacy is everywhere. You could go down the list, but it doesn’t have to be classical, critical race theory. What did you see? So, what did you see? How did it manifest in your school?
Ramona Bessinger, Teacher and CRT Whistleblower (01:14):
Well, first of all, I’m glad you bring up the critical race theory. I don’t use that term either. I call it a racialized, divisive curriculum. And this is exactly what I saw happen in my school and in my son’s school. They rolled out this curriculum in full force, it seems, last September . And there were questions right away. We were mandated to teach social studies, in relationship to and abandon our English curriculum, our vetted English curriculum materials. In fact, all of our books, starting with last year, were vetted by, it seems anyway, the New York Times. But it wasn’t really until January that I noticed something was really wrong, when box loads and box loads of very bizarre, cartoon-like, paperback books landed in my classroom, and I had to color-code them, level them.
So, I took a good, hard look at those books and noticed right away that there was something very wrong with those books. The themes, the characters were all the same. White people, historic figures, all look like buffoons or aggressors. The imagery was the same. The characters were the same. There was that that victim and victimizer narrative very present between white and black folks, historically. And although this is an important part of our historical narrative, it is certainly not the only narrative. And that’s what these books were saying and telling us. Then, of course, the projects were all race-based and so this alarmed me quite a bit.
Megyn Kelly (03:08):
You were a teacher. You’ve been a teacher for 22 years, past 7 [years] in Providence. But you were teaching social studies?
Ramona Bessinger (03:15):
I teach English, but we were blending social studies and English together, combining it for what was called a “Humanities Department Rollout.” And it sounds great, humanities where you’re teaching literature, but providing the social context. Well, we do that anyway as teachers. So, I don’t know why we even had to have a mandate to do this. We were first told to blend our English literature with social studies, to teach with the social studies department, which wasn’t in itself shocking. It was the actual projects and books that were shocking for many of us.
Megyn Kelly (04:01):
One of the things I read is you said the stories in books, you said you noticed the timeline on the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, that the stories and books seem to focus almost exclusively on slavery and racism while also excluding many other aspects of our history. Now, can I tell you this? I’ve experienced this firsthand. My son, when he was in fourth grade, learned about the Revolutionary War and came home after a week of this saying that he could name 12 slaves who had helped the American side in the Revolutionary War. And we said, “That’s great.” And he could say somebody wound up in Harlem and that he knew where everybody had gone on, and what they’d done. Okay, great. And after a while, I said to him, “Did they mention anything about General George Washington?” And he said, “No.” Okay, so he’s kind of important to the Revolutionary War. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but I think that’s the point you’re making. So, this isn’t made up. This happened in my school. And it happened in yours.
Ramona Bessinger (05:10):
That is correct. Historical figures are mentioned, but very briefly, mostly the narrative and the characters. Students are surrounded with this narrative from an enslaved person’s position. And it’s hard to speak out against these sorts of things because you don’t want to sound insensitive to that narrative that is very much a part of our U.S. history. Many of us were sort of like, “Well, how do we speak about this publicly without getting attacked?” There’s no way around it. Not to speak out is to deny students and children that very crucial comprehensive education that they’re entitled to as American children.
Megyn Kelly (06:00):
Did you experience the obsession with trans issues as well? Was it all critical race theory or did they do the gender stuff too?
Ramona Bessinger (06:08):
Yes, there’s quite a bit of that, more on the social realm. So, in my classroom, I had literature that I was contending with and sort of sifting through, these hundreds of books. But there was a big push and, in fact, there were posters all around my school, and I teach middle school so 12 and 13 year olds, posters supporting pride, supporting any movements, different types. I don’t even know the different pronouns. I can’t even name them all. There’s so many, and it changes on a daily basis that I couldn’t even tell you. But this whole push to embrace any child who wants to be pansexual, transsexual, multisexual, who the heck knows? It’s like they’re made-up names, and we can’t even keep up with it.
But this is what I noticed in my classroom, children were identifying with different sexualities, I suppose. And for me, it’s shocking. One, as a mother. And two, as a teacher, I’m not interested in talking to children about their sexual preference, especially at the age of 12.
So, it escapes me as to why an adult would want to have these private, intimate conversations about sexual preference, and why I was given a list of approved pronouns, so I could start this discussion with students. I wasn’t reading any literature per se, but the whole movement was being pushed in a very strange way. In fact, this year we were told and mandated, and by the way reprimanded if we didn’t do this, to hand out pride tickets. Nothing wrong with being gay or choosing to be trans, but that is a private decision between a young person and their parents. It is not a decision for teachers, veteran teachers or new teachers, or guidance counselors, or whomever might be in the building circulating, to have with minor children. This is a dangerous, dangerous slippery slope because now you have adults having conversations about sexual preference with a minor child. That’s, one, disgusting to me as a teacher and, two, how dare a school board assume that they have the right to have these sorts of conversations with children.
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