Two days after voters finalized him to be Chicago’s next mayor, Brandon Johnson took issue with Paul Vallas’ previous comments where he said critical race theory in schools was harming families Was stressing on more important topics.

Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO, and Johnson, a Cook County The commissioner and an organizer of the Chicago teachers union have clashed over their differences on crime and public education. But the latest controversy highlights that the race will play a major role in the face-off between them.

Since he declared victory Tuesday for the April 4 runoff election, Johnson has gone on the offensive against Vallas in an effort to define him as an ineffective leader who will not represent Chicago’s minority community. Meanwhile, Vallas has been working to drum up endorsements from black political leaders, including unveiling an endorsement Thursday from former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, one of the most popular black politicians in Illinois history.

Johnson’s campaign issued a news release Thursday criticizing Vallas for comments he made in 2021 saying that critical race theory is “giving people an excuse to behave badly.” Vallas would not address those comments during a news conference, but suggested Johnson was downplaying that issue because he lacked “substance.”

While his campaign statement accused Vallas of “teaching racist beliefs about black families and black history in CPS,” the candidate was less emphatic during Thursday’s appearance on the campaign trail.

In response to a question asking him to elaborate on which comments were racist, Johnson said: “It’s not really about the timing. It’s about having a public education system that embraces the entirety of the child.” Committed to educating.”

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Brandon Johnson on March 2, 2023 South Side's Paul G.  Took a photo with Barbara Hudson and her dog Buddy after meeting with seniors at the Stewart Apartments.

He then explained a quote from civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, a quote the candidate has used frequently.

“Public education at the expense of the state is, after all, a Negro idea,” Johnson said. “Those are the words of Webb Du Bois. But I think in Paul Vallas’s Chicago, he wouldn’t want people to know that.

Vallas’ commentary on Critical Race Theory comes from November 2021 Podcast Episode From the conservative Wirepoints news outlet. In the middle of an interview, the host asks Vallas to “talk about critical race theory – or call it whatever you want, wok-ism, anti-racism”.

Vallas briefly responded that CPS taught African-American history year-round, “but No. 1: When it detracts from quality instruction in core subject areas—which it is, because we’re too busy, too much.” Concentrating on those things instead of focusing on a core curriculum – our standards suffer and damage is done.

Vallas then denounced unspecified curricula that are “divisive” and that “further undermine children’s relationships with their parents.”

Former Secretary of State Jesse White, left, shakes hands with mayoral candidate Paul Vallas after announcing his endorsement for Vallas on March 2, 2023, in Chicago.

“For white parents, I mean, how are you going to discipline your child when your child comes home and your child has basically been told that their generation — their race, their parents , their grandparents — they have discriminated against others, and they have somehow victimized the other person’s race?’ Wallace said.

The host then ponders, “I often wonder, if you’re a black kid, why wouldn’t you become a delinquent if you’re hearing all this at school? … It makes it too easy to justify bad conduct, in my opinion.” Is.”

“You are quite right,” replied Vallas. “But what are you doing, you’re giving people an excuse to behave badly. You’re almost justified,” Wallace said, before comparing it to the “attitude” in Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. .. So you’re right, you’re absolutely right. I mean, why, I mean, where’s the accountability? You know, you’re a victim. What is happening becomes the justification for everything. And I think this is a very dangerous thing.

At an unrelated news conference, Vallas declined to address his 2021 comments on the podcast, insisting that “the bottom line is, I think my record of serving minority communities in four different cities is clear.” Is.”

“I have no response to Brandon Johnson, and he has his record or lack of a record to explain,” Vallas said. “Brandon is going to attack because, you know, he can’t offer anything concrete so I will continue to run an issue-oriented campaign.”

Vallas said that he has created schools that teach African American history year-round and that CPS has allowed local school councils to “develop even more Afrocentric curricula” on their campuses.

“I mean, at the end of the day, my record speaks for itself,” Vallas said.

White also defended Vallas.

“Well, first of all, I’ve done this job, as I indicated earlier, for over 40 years, and so I’m speaking on my own behalf and not taking anyone else’s opinion, view,” White said. he said . “I’m not sorry for my support.”

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