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Honoring 9/11 in These Ways Is ‘Racist’ Now

Twenty years after 9/11, educators have been warning that memorializing the terrorist attacks can easily turn racist.


Antiracist education, aka “critical race theory,” is teaching a growing number of students that America is history’s bad guy.


1. Abrar Omeish, a school board member in Fairfax County, Virginia, spoke out at the board’s meeting Thursday against a resolution calling for a moment of silence for the victims of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which included nearly 3,000 dead.

  • Omeish, who father was a director of a mosque attended by 9/11 terrorists, acknowledged the attacks were “jarring” — but said the resolution, like America as a nation, fails to grapple with the subsequent “state-sponsored traumas” of Muslims.
  • The resolution passed anyway.

2. Amaarah DeCuir, in a recent presentation sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, instructed teachers not to link 9/11 to Muslims or to “terrorists” because that kind of language tends to be “not accurate or racist.”

  • DeCuir, an “anti-racism expert” whose work Omeish approvingly cited at the school board meeting, said “we’re also not going to reproduce what’s understood as American exceptionalism.”

3. Eastlake High School in Sammamish, a suburb of Seattle, at the last minute canceled a student-planned Patriot’s Day event, which would have involved wearing red, white and blue to Saturday’s football game.

  • The principal and vice principal told angry parents the school didn’t want to “cause offense” to those who see the American flag “differently.”
  • According to one student, school officials “explained that red, white, and blue was going to be seen as racially insensitive and may affect people in a way that we will not understand and for that reason that we were to change our theme.”

4. Jenn Jackson, an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University, said in a series of tweets Saturday that “white pundits and correspondents” talk about 9/11 like it’s the first time Americans felt fear.

  • “Plenty of us Americans know what it’s like to experience fear and we knew before 9/11. For a lot of us, we know fear *because* of other Americans,” said Jackson, who identifies as “a queer genderflux androgynous Black woman, an abolitionist, [and] a lover of all Black people.”
  • “[Sept. 11] was an attack on the heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems that America relies upon to wrangle other countries into passivity,” Jackson added. “It was an attack on the systems many white Americans fight to protect.”
  • Amid backlash, Jackson set her Twitter account to private.


In a tribute to 9/11, the entire Army football team ran onto the field carrying American flags during its first home game Saturday.