Juneteenth is the ''perfect answer'' to anyone promoting critical race theory, says Heritage Foundation president Kay C. James.
"Juneteenth says, no, we do not need to destroy the very structures of this nation, the things that make us great,'' James said Thursday during an interview with Fox News. ''That while there were issues or problems in our history, look at how we overcame and are overcoming them."
Her comments came hours after President Joe Biden signed into law a measure that makes June 19th a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
The Juneteenth Independence Day Act passed the House and Senate, with 14 Republicans opposing the legislation in the House.
Biden referred to the holiday as one of "profound weight and profound power," and said it was "a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country, and continues to take."
He also said making June 19th a national holiday would enable all Americans to "feel the power of this day and learn from our history, and celebrate the progress, and grapple with the distance we've come, and the distance we have to travel." Great nations "don't ignore their most painful moments," he said. "We come to terms with the mistakes we've made," he added, ''in order to remember them and begin to heal and grow stronger.''
James said the day is one to celebrate ''because it says that we as a nation recognize that the institution of slavery was in absolute conflict with our very core principles and values from our founding, and that Americans fought an entire war to get rid of the institution of slavery.''
She also mentioned critical race theory and how the approach is not appropriate.
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
"One of the biggest battles" facing conservatives in the debate over race in America "is separating out those individuals who say, 'If you're against critical race theory, you therefore by default are a racist,'" said James. "We have to diffuse that.
"For anyone interested in having a genuine, sincere conversation about where we are as a nation — if you genuinely care about solving racial problems in America — ask a conservative to really explain to you why critical race theory is not appropriate.''
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