LeVar Burton attends the Directors Guild Awards

LeVar Burton Slams Superintendent Who Wants To Exclude Race From Teaching of Tulsa Race Massacre

If LeVar Burton, one of the best men in the world, trolls you on Twitter, then you’ve really messed up. And Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s far-right State Superintendent, is a seriously messed-up guy. Walters, a sick, sad man, took a pounding from Burton on Tuesday when the internationally beloved actor, literacy advocate, and total cutie-pants tweeted, “Good morning to everyone EXCEPT, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters!” 

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Burton was responding to Raw Story‘s article about a truly unhinged moment from a July 6 public forum, where Walters, an openly rabid critic of so-called “Critical Race Theory,” declared that he wants to forbid educators from mentioning race when teaching a significant event from Oklahoma’s history. The event in question? The Tulsa Race Massacre. Yes, the word “race” is even in the name people use to refer to the god-forsaken mass hate crime. 

Walters, who campaigned for his seat partly on his anti-Critical Race Theory platform—calling it “a philosophy” that is “infecting our classrooms”—made his massively stupid remarks in response to an attendee who asked if teaching about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre would violate Oklahoma’s supposed “ban” on CRT. Walter’s response included the suggestion, “Let’s not tie it to the skin color and say that the skin color determined that.” 

What does “that” refer to in this case? The false imprisonment of roughly 6,000 Black Oklahomans? The slaughter of up to 300 Black people? The looting and burning of the only affluent Black neighborhood in town by mobs of hateful white people? It’s hard to tell where Walters’ mind was going here. But he apparently thinks teaching about the Tulsa Race Massacre without mentioning race is possible and will fit within the confines of Oklahoma’s HB 1775, which doesn’t even actually ban CRT, apparently, because none of the angry conservatives actually understand what it means

I want to ask Walters what he thinks the teachers and textbooks should say. “After reports that a man of non-specific race was going to be lynched for an unconfirmed adversarial interaction with a woman of a non-specific race, mobs of unknown allegiances began to form, culminating in the National Guard imprisoning 6,000 seemingly random people from the city, while additional random citizens burned down 35 blocks of a random neighborhood”?

Walters has since tried to backpedal, saying that reporters twisted his words out of context and that he condemned the Massacre as “evil” initially. But according to fact-checking reported by FOX25, that’s not true. It looks like Walters is out here disappointing everyone, from the star of Reading Rainbow to Fox News. He just can’t win. 

(featured image: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic)


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Author
Cammy Pedroja
Author and independent journalist since 2015. Frequent contributor of news and commentary on social justice, politics, culture, and lifestyle to publications including The Mary Sue, Newsweek, Business Insider, Slate, Women, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Lover of forests, poetry, books, champagne, and trashy TV.