Oklahoma law is being challenged in court and referred to in Patti Waldmeir’s column “A spiraling uprising over how race is taught in American schools” (Opinion, November 16) prohibits individuals from being made to feel discomfort, guilt, or anxiety because of their race or gender.
Discomfort, guilt and anxiety are three very clear concepts. I personally do not feel guilty about anything that happened before I was born, regardless of the race, religion or gender of the perpetrators.
I also do not feel guilty for any government action that happened before I was old enough to vote. That does not mean I should not work to repeal unfair laws before I could vote, but it is completely different from guilt.
It would be perfectly acceptable to teach children and teenagers that they are not guilty of anything that happened before they were born.
Governments, institutions and corporations can be guilty of actions before any of their current citizens, members or owners are born, but individuals can not. Whether children or teens feel discomfort or anxiety about events that happened before they were born is a matter of individual personalities.
It is quite understandable that children and teenagers of any race should feel discomfort or anxiety when studying slavery or the Jim Crow era that enforced racial segregation after the Civil War. But they should not be made to feel guilty.
Ottawa, ON, Canada