By Jarret Liotta

WESTPORT — As I began crafting this week’s follow-up to my last column, I decided the focus needed to be adjusted.

Originally my intention was to examine — and soundly criticize — the fear-driven antics of those who publicly seek to influence others, yet don’t have the courage to step out of anonymity.

Of course I refer to my pals at this WP06880 apparent parent group that’s trying to scare others into espousing their fear-driven fear. “Wake Up Westport!” it warns, as I shared last week.

“Wake Up Westport!”

As someone who, on several occasions, has wrongly had their name dragged through mud — and yet who unabashedly still steps forward behind the rickety shield of a by-line, like a soldier of conviction (or perhaps an idiot), I take umbrage — if not on my own behalf, than for many, many other far-braver souls who put their hard-earned money where their big mouths are.

But again, I won’t go there in any detail, for I realized the more significant aspect of this news story is that this group has chosen to so vehemently embrace such a faux issue as its flagship.

“Wake Up Westport!”

For all its pedantic detailing of the dangers of the “Marxist-like” tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) — along with its dreaded purveyors — one can only wonder why this has touched their collective nerve so profoundly that they were compelled to start this Quixotic campaign.

Really?

Is this really the greatest danger facing Westport’s precariously impressionable children?! Is it more important than the toxins of idling cars, climate change or crummy foods? Is it potentially more damaging to these young minds than countless hours staring at blue screens (including in the classrooms and school hallways)? Is it more pressing than issues of mental health — anxiety, depression, isolation, suicide? Is it something more nefariously infectious than the virus of megalomania or sociopathic tendencies bred through staggering affluence, economic privilege, and helicopter parenting?

No, this group really sees the most bowel-tingling danger of all in the idea of a school curriculum examining CRT on any level.

“Wake Up Westport!”

Beware the Myth of Educational Leadership

For starters, do you really believe Central Office is going to go anywhere where it’s bum isn’t covered from legal rain or questionable publicity? That’s not what they do and it’s certainly not what they want to do.

The only reason an equity study is even being done is because the ramifications of not doing one — in terms of publicity and potentially even litigation — far outweigh the challenges of avoiding it ad infinitum.

As an institution a public school system is tantamount to a neutered codependent politician striving to placate everyone before Election Day. They’ve only even arrived at an equity study because they’re catching up with the rest of the world.

And as they proceed they’ll, of course, do their utmost to keep it tempered and palatable, because going out on a limb for truths is not what bureaucracies do. (Some great teachers, maybe, but definitely not a school system.) So, really, there’s just not that much to worry about.

“Wake Up Westport!”

Critical Race Theory = Duh!

That said, the broad idea of so-called Critical Race Theory (CRT) — separate of what some people attach to it as a movement or in arguable details — is a bloody no-brainer!

At its core it’s a ridiculously common bit of obvious knowledge:  A white European system of government and justice — which came to be through a genocide-like steamrollering of North America’s native population, and for the greater part of its existence completely omitted black inclusion — continues to have impacts on the lives of people today which are directly seeded in history??

I mean, frickin’ Duh!! Come on! Of course! How can anyone dispute it?!

“Wake Up Westport!”

Why So Serious?!

But what’s interesting is why some people are so threatened by it, even in its broadest, most innocuous form.

And I’m not defending the particulars — nor am I an advocate of digging into the minutiae of each cause and effect; it’s too complicated, convoluted and confusing for a dumb journalist anyway, and I’m no advocate of harping on the past.

But that’s not the point at all. It’s really just about a simple acknowledgement and an effort to try a little harder to watch for inequities as they arise going forward. That seems simple enough and smells like a good-neighbor policy, really.

Is that such a big deal? (“Wake Up Westport?”)

The Fear

But as always, it’s the fear that infects people. They really believe that by broadly acknowledging CRT — like even using the stupid letters — opens them up to some kind of dramatic accountability that will threaten their way of life, lose them their money and property, and send them and their children suffering into the depths of some weird cataclysmic anarchy.

(Who’s coming to destroy our wonderful way of life here? Will it be those Marxists? Communists? Card-carrying members of the ACLU? Hordes of Black Panthers? Black Marxists?! Black Marxists with ACLU cards?!! Rock and roll singers?! Dancers?!!)

The fear can take us anywhere …

“Wake Up Westport!”

It’s a broad illusion. What’s really going to happen by “manning” up and simply acknowledging the facts — Oh my god, even discussing them in a classroom setting?

Nothing! “Wake Up Westport!”

And lighten up!