Brian Echevarria, a North Carolina father, went viral on Friday after speaking at his school board meeting against Critical Race Theory (CRT). The biracial father of three, who is also running for state assembly in North Carolina, told the Cabarrus County School Board in his controversial speech that CRT was a “discrimination revolution.”
An academic concept that looks at the intersection of race in America, Critical Race Theory states, at a basic level, that America’s institutions were built upon the basis of racism. Civil rights scholars and law schools have used the framework to describe how institutions such as the criminal justice system have statistically persecuted far more people of color than white people for the same crime, or how banks and the police treat people differently based on the color of their skin.
While many critics have argued that income inequality is a larger factor in these decisions, many conservatives have used CRT as a talking point within the last few months, especially as a means of policing what they believe schools are teaching their children.
After local parents railed against CRT being taught in their schools, Cabarrus County School Board voted last year to ensure that “nondiscrimination” was a part of the curriculum.
“I’m biracial, I’m bilingual, I’m multicultural. The fact is, in America, in North Carolina, I can do anything I want and I teach that to my children,” Brian Echevarria said at the Cabarrus County School Board meeting this week.
“And the person who tells my pecan-color kids that they’re oppressed, based on the color of their skin, would be absolutely wrong and absolutely at war with me,” he continued. “CRT, all of that, the parents don’t want it. It’s a big fat lie… If you believe in CRT you are a liar.”
Echevarria, who is running for North Carolina General Assembly as a Republican, also spoke about the mask mandate, which was changed to be “optional” following backlash from parents.
“What the masks showed us is the parents, the most powerful group of people in the country, that they are taking back the wheel,” he said. “We had to take the wheel back for the mask, but we have to take the wheel back from Washington all the way to Raleigh and into our local school board.”
According to Brian Echevarria, he told the school board that he believed CRT was teaching his children that Black people were oppressed and white people were evil.
“The racism is only happening on the government level, and on the media,” he railed. “You can’t even find [racists] hardly, you just hear the stories about them.”
The school board speech has since gone viral within like-minded spheres, as the debate over Critical Race Theory in schools escalates throughout the country. According to Reuters, the theory has not only been widely misused and misunderstood by the conservative movement, but public schools across America have insisted that the theory is not part of their curriculum.
In the wake of police killings of George Floyd and nationwide protests, many parents have struggled with how this nation’s complex history with race should be taught to their children.
As parents rally against CRT in North Carolina, however, Brian Echevarria’s Cabarrus County School Board won an award for its communication with parents and the community from The North Carolina School Public Relations Association this past month.
“You have devoted tireless effort to connecting and engaging [with the] community,” North Carolina’s 2021 Superintendent of the Year Brent Williams stated. “You have surely set a new standard of excellence. You have worked to connect and highlight, uplift and advocate, and to empower and motivate. You have given all that you have to lead by touching the hearts and minds of others.”