The conservative war on historical accuracy, disguised as attacks on CRT Critical Race Theory (CRT), and the related state codifications of “Don’t hurt my feelings” laws are troubling.

How can people want to ignore history? How can they want to feed their children a false version of history? Why would they want their children to grow up in the mist of historical delusion? What happens when those children learn the truth behind the lies their teachers must now teach?

As a child, I suffered under the then extant regime of political socialization and I must admit, learning about this intentional miseducation made me cautious, angry, skeptical, and sad.

Educationally, I came of age during the mid-1960s, most notably the early years of the Viet Nam conflict. We heard little about the war in elementary and middle school. I only knew that my older cousins and the older guys in the neighborhood, were going away, to fight for our country.

As a nine-year-old Cub Scout, I was fired up to join the Green Berets. Later, I learned the words to all the ‘Service Songs’ and I could play them on the recorder and with drumsticks on the floor of the auditorium stage. But the Ballad of the Green Berets was regularly on the radio so that was the tune to which I was ready to march.

What’s more, I was keenly aware of the fact that American History, as it was taught then, followed a timeline defined by wars. I felt tied to this legacy of victories and I was all in on the concept of manifest destiny. I was proud of my American heritage.

I attended urban, big city public schools. And I received a more than adequate education in the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. But despite what I was learning in school, cracks developed in my childlike patriotic fervor. Small things disturbed my equilibrium and made me think maybe I wasn’t getting the whole story.

In the third grade, I was bussed to a school attended by mostly white students. The school looked just like the one in my neighborhood. Every day we went to the only two classrooms on the fourth floor. We never saw the rest of the school and our teachers warned us not to leave the fourth floor. We had no recess because we spent recess time travelling back and forth to our neighborhood school twice a day. Every day we had to go home for lunch and then ride the bus back across town for an afternoon at school.

I was in the third grade. How was I to know that on our first few days of school, that our teachers rushed us from the buses, through crowds of onlookers, to quickly reach the relative safety of the fourth floor? How was I to know that this was an experiment in faux integration called intact busing?

The experiment lasted one year, after which we returned to our neighborhood school. At the end of that next year, I learned I’d attend another new school for fifth and sixth grade.

As the bus pulled up on our first day, I knew that this school, just a mile or so from my house, was in a whole different world. This new school was a two-story modern yellow brick building whose grounds occupied more than a full city block. The schoolyard had grass, trees, a painted baseball diamond, basketball courts and even more green space you couldn’t see unless you went around the side of the building. Inside there was an auditorium, a cafeteria and a full gymnasium-none of which were present in the school from which I boarded the bus.

We got along well with our white classmates. We had all our classes and recesses together and our academic performance was on par with theirs. The only difference I could ascertain was that as “bus children” we were the Black students at the school, and we were from a different neighborhood.

But I soon learned that this really was not “my” new school.

A handful of us fifth graders soon decided that it made little sense for us to go home for lunch every day when we could get a nice lunch in the cafeteria for fifty cents. We enjoyed lunch at school for about a week and a half but, at the end of the second week, there was a school wide announcement over the intercom: “Bus children may not eat lunch in the cafeteria. Bus children must take the bus home for lunch.”

Somehow, I felt wronged. If seeing is believing, what I was seeing didn’t agree with what I’d been taught and what I believed about my country. Everything I saw told me that we were not sharing the same America.