Derrick Wilburn may be the descendant of slaves on both sides of his family, but he wants school boards pushing critical race theory to know something: He’s not oppressed.
The Colorado Springs father’s impassioned speech last week before a local board of education at which he declared “I’m not oppressed and I’m not a victim” has gone viral, becoming a rallying cry for the groundswell of parents fighting the race-focused curriculum and training programs.
“Racism in America would by and large be dead today if it were not for certain people and institutions keeping it on life support,” Mr. Wilburn said at the meeting. “Sadly one of those institutions is the American education system.”
The Colorado Springs School District 49 board voted 3-2 to oppose the principles of critical race theory at the Aug. 12 meeting, and Mr. Wilburn said Sunday that he hopes the move will inspire and embolden other boards and parents.
“Slowly but surely, parents are rising up and we are pushing these school boards and letting these people know, look, you are elected representatives of the people and this is what we want, if you don’t like it we’ll vote you out, and the boards are beginning to respond,” he said on Fox & Friends.
Mr. Wilburn, who has three children, said his own experience challenges the racial oppression narrative.
“My whole point was I’m not oppressed, not at all,” Mr. Wilburn said. “I live in a beautiful home in Colorado Springs which I refinanced last week, and I had mortgage companies and banks tripping over themselves trying to give me their business. Not a one of them saw that checked box that said African-American and said, ‘Sorry, we don’t do business with your kind.’ That’s never happened to me.”
Mr. Wilburn, who founded the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, said that “those days are 50 years ago, but they want to drag them into today and act like it’s still going on, when it’s not. I’m not oppressed by anybody.”
He said the novel coronavirus shutdowns spurred the pushback by giving parents a closer look at their children’s schoolwork during remote learning.
“What they used to be able to slide in under the radar without parents really knowing, they no longer can,” he said. “And when this critical race theory came around, I got to looking at it and said, ‘Uh-uh, not in my school,’ and began showing up.”
Mr. Wilburn, who has been involved in conservative activism for years, said his views are shared by others in the Black community, but that such voices are often not heard.
“I think there are more voices who truly understand what’s happening, see what’s happening, and want to do something about it, but they are not given a platform or a podium,” he said. “I was invited on Fox & Friends this morning and I’m grateful for that … but this phone call would not be coming from CNN. We know that. This phone call would not be coming from MSNBC. They have no desire to put people like me upfront and center to say the things I’m saying.”