Having fled communist Cuba as a political refugee, I grew up in a school system that created a false reality through Marxism.
The Castro regime tried to mold us to become what Che Guevara called the “new man and woman” — who could reform their “individual consciousness” to shed their traits of greed, egotism and selfishness to embrace a “collective spirit.”
Fidel Castro based his Marxist revolution on hate by leveraging upon grievances. As part of that, he waged class warfare, destroyed monuments, policed language and revised Cuban history to undermine our progress with the goal of creating a “classless society” where there was no oppression.
As Castro pushed his false reality of Marxist ideas on Cubans, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Americans to replace hate with hope and instead join him in an attainable goal — living in a society that judged people by their character, not the color of their skin.
Today, just as in the Cuban Revolution, a small but influential segment of the population wants to force others to accept their false reality by putting race in the front row of all human interactions in the form of critical race theory, which is now infiltrating primary education.
A fresher descendent of Marxism, CRT evolved from critical theory that originated from the Frankfurt School of Germany and came to Columbia University. Like critical theory and Marxism, which oversimplified society into two groups, oppressed and oppressors, CRT goes one step further, dividing society into Black and white.
Just as Marxism was imposed upon my peers and me as a child, CRT is an equally dangerous ideology to impose on impressionable young people who lack the knowledge base and cognitive capacity to question that race is not the single variable explaining our politics, laws and culture.
CRT is a recipe to destroy America’s institutions and an ideology that creates the same kind of division, suspicion and hatred Guevara and Castro preached against the middle and wealthy classes of Cuba that led to the worst suffering of my people and the separation of families.
King’s goal was not to increase antagonism between different races, but rather “learn to live as brothers” or, as he warned, “together we will be forced to perish as fools.”
Rather than instilling a passion for individual achievement in young people, Black students are taught they are oppressed victims based solely on the color of their skin, and CRT is sold as the antidote while white students are told they and their ancestors are vile racists based on superficial qualities beyond their control.
What are elementary school students supposed to think when they hear this coming from their teachers?
The result is the same resentment, and undeserved guilt Marxism instilled in Cuba. That is not the way to promote racial harmony but rather how to polarize society.
The real gift of King’s advocacy of colorblindness was that it provided a real-life template for people of all races and creeds to get along peacefully and respectfully with one another.
CRT, however, aims to dismantle that structure in favor of one that pins people against another with the false reality that our problems can be solved by being race-conscious. But as the worldwide failure of Marxism has taught us already, false realities offer false solutions and result in disappointment, strife and the repression of freedom.
Like the Marxist-Leninist “Young Pioneers” student organizations in Cuba and the Soviet Union, those children who spent their formative years steeped in CRT propaganda will have warped unrealistic expectations about the real world. As Voltaire said, “perfect is the enemy of good.”
Apathy toward discrimination is unacceptable, but so is being intimidated into accepting a flawed ideology that sows resentment and divides us into racial tribes. As King said, Americans “are bound together in a single garment of destiny. The language, the cultural patterns, the music, the material prosperity, and even the food of America are an amalgam of black and white.”
Instead of trying to mandate equality as Castro and Guevara did in Cuba, King helped America achieve a society that provided equal access and opportunity under the law without race-based restrictions — a society where the individual was recognized for the choices they made, not the color of their skin.
Let’s honor King by evolving toward the more colorblind society he dreamed of.
• Gelet Martinez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of the ADN America (www.adnamerica.com) and ADN Cuba (www.adncuba.com) international news sites.