Opinion: ‘There are plenty of things in the world to be working together to solve rather than ripping our population apart for something as divisive as Critical Race Theory’

Camas resident and retired U.S. Air Force Major General Richard C. ‘Buck’ Marr shares his thoughts on President Dr. Karin Edwards’ efforts to improve equitable treatment of students at Clark College

U.S. Air Force Major General Richard C. “Buck’’ Marr (retired)
U.S. Air Force Major General Richard C. “Buck’’ Marr (retired)

Camas resident and retired U.S. Air Force Major General Richard C. “Buck’’ Marr is in lock step with Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards on two important viewpoints. Like Edwards, who was announced as Clark College’s new president on Feb. 21, 2020, Marr is passionate about Clark College and he wants to see that all students and potential students receive equitable treatment.

“It has been a wonderful educational institution for over 70 years,’’ Marr said of Clark College. “Now, it is becoming a microcosm of what is happening in our country.’’

Marr said he has worked diligently for many years for the good of the college while a member of the Veterans Resource Center Advisory Board.

“I believe in what the college stood for and the value imparted to its students including our veteran students,’’ Marr said.

With that appreciation for the college’s history and legacy, Marr said he was “thrilled’’ when Edwards was announced as Clark’s new president.

“I believe she is a brilliant and dedicated educator,’’ Marr said of Edwards. “I was thrilled when she was selected because I looked forward to following what I call the ‘MLK’ philosophy addressing our racial equities to eradicate or diminish race as a negative factor in our society.   As a retired military person, I worked hard for decades to build on the total talents of my people with no eye to the color of their skin.’’

Marr said he continues to support Edwards as Clark’s president. However, he is very concerned about comments she made during her May 7 State of the College Address, specifically what she said beginning at the 6:25-minute mark.. 

Dr. Karin Edwards, Clark College president
Dr. Karin Edwards, Clark College president

“Last year, we introduced a year-long, intensive, professional development program for employees focused on diversity, equity and inclusion called: Broadening Understanding Intercultural Leadership Development, otherwise known as BUILD. The BUILD program has created a new cohort of leaders at the college guiding their peers towards syllabus redesigns, new training sessions and new ways of thinking that help dismantle white supremacy culture.’’

Here was Marr’s reaction:

“Surely, Dr. Edwards doesn’t mean what she said about dismantling white supremacy culture,’’ Marr said. “I served in the Armed Forces for 32 years, participating in three armed conflicts along the way with 18 different family addresses. Sometimes my sons changed school every year or two. I maintained an apolitical stance. It seems to me that there are plenty of things in the world to be working together to solve rather than ripping our population apart for something as divisive as Critical Race Theory.

“I have been on a veteran advisory board at Clark for several years and have worked voluntarily with the Clark Foundation to raise monies for the college,’’ Marr said. “Now, I find out that the president is interested in dismantling me and my fellow volunteers by incorporating various elements of the cancel culture ideology including Critical Race Theory.  I think Dr. Edwards is misguided. Dr. Edwards needs to know that we are here to help not to be dismantled.’’

Marr said his career as a two-star general in the U.S. Air Force has framed his educational experience. Enroute to promotions, the government sent him to three post graduate schools — twice to the Kennedy School at Harvard and once to Johns Hopkins University. 

“One of my fields of study was the evolution of world governments within the context of various ideologies, i.e. capitalism, socialism, communism etc.,’’ Marr said. “It is clear that the Marxist/Leninist ideology was and still is committed to overturning the United States style of governance. When early socialists realized they were failing many decades ago, they turned their attention to using race as a way of building division within our U.S. population. Critical Race Theory is a tool by which serious Marxists hope to achieve a classless society in our country.’’ 

In May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill, passed by the Washington State Legislature, that incorporates Critical Race Theory into the training for all K-12 educators across the state. The issue has been intensely debated by many in the state and even here in Clark County. Here are some previous thoughts I had on the subject as well as one other published commentary with some background and insight.

Specifically, as it pertains to his concerns at Clark, Marr believes that Edwards’ strategy might actually have an adverse impact on the culture at the college.

“I applaud her efforts to achieve equity in educational outcomes for Clark’s students,’’ Marr said. “I simply believe that in her genuine passion to create equitable educational outcomes she used an unfortunate phrase. Those remarks may have unintended coincidences, which will affect her success. 

“In my opinion, the potential exists to deepen, not improve, the racial tensions which may exist at Clark and in the community by identifying underrepresented communities of people who need help and those people in the majority who need dismantling,’’ Marr said. “In a county that is roughly 85 percent white and 2 percent black, those comments have not gone unnoticed. I don’t believe Dr. Edwards knowingly tried to alienate the white population, but I think while trying to fix one problem, she could be creating another. 

“I would respectfully suggest Dr. Edwards moderate her comments to be acceptable to all students and faculty,’’ Marr said. “Afterall, almost immediately after she made those comments in her speech, she said that Clark College ‘welcomes all students.’ Those targeted for dismantling might not feel so welcome.’’

Marr is not without a suggested solution, and it is born out of his appreciation for Martin Luther King, Jr. and several other Civil Rights leaders.

“Follow the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’’ Marr suggested. “He was a social activist who also sought equality for disadvantaged communities but his approach was peaceful and not combative, like cancel culture social justice warriors. In my humble opinion, MLK would never have said a goal of his was to dismantle white supremacy. Read his last speech in Memphis, which he gave the day before being assassinated in 1968. Peaceful, nonviolent, but relentless. Cooperate but don’t compromise in a struggle to achieve equality. His work was instrumental in the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That was a huge achievement at that time.’’

In summation, Marr’s advice to President Edwards is simple.

“I respectfully remind her that words matter,’’ Marr said. “Dismantling hurts people. Please treat all people fairly and equally.’’

I do not consider myself an expert on Civil Rights or social justice matters. I do believe this. I believe racism exists in our world, this country, the region and even right here in Clark County. However, I believe it is the exception and not the rule. To paint any group of people with one broad stroke of the brush, in this case using a call to action as volatile as “dismantle white supremacy,’’ is dangerous. And, ultimately, I don’t think it will breed success.

In my opinion, there is evidence, mostly anecdotal, that the tactics used in the last year in the fight against racism and pursuit of social justice in this country have not resulted in any significant gains. After spending much time listening to “Buck’’ Marr, I know he is sincere in his desire for things to get better, both in general and at Clark College. Perhaps, Dr. Edwards should reconsider her remarks and her philosophy.


  1. KJH

    Like most leftists, Dr. Edwards believes in the science of victimization and inculcating that victimhood.

    Everyone, regardless of their skin tone, is entirely responsible for their station in life.

    When I was homeless, no one pointed out my white privilege… perhaps because such a privilege only exists in the minds of those looking to assign blame for their life status.

    There’s a great deal of similarity between Edwards’ remarks concerning “white supremacy” and the Nazi’s assigning blame for the condition of their country to the Jews. In fact, the resemblance is remarkable, and in many instances, those of her academic ilk could merely replace the word “Jew” with the words”white supremacy” and they’d typically sound like Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels.

    While those behind their words would recoil in horror at the very thought of such a thing, the similarity is undeniable.

    It’s sickening. It’s frightening. And it’s disgusting.

    Little has done more to deepen the racial divide. And people like her will do all they can to play the blame game. The question?

    What can be done about her and those like her? What should be done? When should it BE done? And how?

    A few months ago, fictional “white supremacists” were blamed for the massive increase arttacks on the Asian population. But in a very short time, it became clear that the color of the attackers was, in the main, anything BUT “Caucasian”.
    Where’s the leftist outrage about that? Where’s the news coverage? Where’s the politicians?
    Where was Dr. Edwards?

    1. Jack Burton

      There is a lot to unpack here:

      Everyone, regardless of their skin tone, is entirely responsible for their station in life.”
      You wouldn’t want to seem inconsistent, so lets make sure we share this “fact” with these people:

      “When I was homeless, no one pointed out my white privilege”.
      Well, despite the overwhelming evidence that people of color have worse outcomes in the criminal justice system (and housing, education, and finance):
      For years I have believed the actual evidence that there are disadvantages to being a person of color in our society. But now that I know there was a white person that was homeless at one time, I guess I’m forced to acknowledge that despite literally every study ever done on the subject there is no such thing as racism. Oh, and I know of at least one woman that makes more money than me so there must not be a gender pay gap. And only around 90% of climate scientists believe humans contribute to climate change, so I guess that doesn’t exist either.

      There’s a great deal of similarity between Edwards’ remarks concerning “white supremacy” and the Nazi’s assigning blame for the condition of their country to the Jews.”
      I know we’re not supposed to be honest about history, but I admittedly went to one of those evil universities that teach us to think critically for ourselves and require that we maintain logic and provide evidence. Germany in the 1930s:
      Read this and tell me what parallels to US history exist. It certainly does resemble recent history, from say about 4 1/2 years ago. Jews were a minority, blamed for the problems of the “real” Germans so they didn’t have to acknowledge any fault. It does remind me of something:
      Furthermore, you go on and on about disavowing white supremacy sounding like Goebbels and how you could just change the word “Jew” with “white supremacist”, but despite how easy you say it would be you never provide an example.

      Where’s the leftist outrage about that? Where’s the news coverage? Where’s the politicians?”
      Here they are:

      I know most won’t bother looking at the evidence I provide, but as I stated previously I’m one of those evil Americans that continued my education after high school so I need to provide it for my own conscience. I do, however, want to give credit for one line that you provide (though I have to change the context a bit). You encapsulate my feeling on people claiming that racism doesn’t exist quite nicely:

      It’s sickening. It’s frightening. And it’s disgusting.”

  2. Jack Burton

    No matter how many times I read the Washington “Critical Race Theory” bill that people keep referring to, I can’t find the words Critical Race Theory in it. Perhaps it is because being honest about American history, both good and bad, has nothing to do with Critical Race Theory? No K-12 public school has ever taught Critical Race Theory. Period.

  3. SMT

    This neo Marxism tripe must be defeated. The drivel that’s pedaled does nothing to help the supposed victims of white/American oppression not to mention can explain the extraordinary success of Nigerians, Chinese, Koreans, etc.

    The fact that most teachers even those with “Phds” are in the bottom 1/3rd of college graduates on average tells you they lack critical thinking skills to even entertain they’re wrong where there is a plethora of history of counter factuals.

    How about focusing on proficiencies in English and especially Math which is embarrassingly low despite 13k+ on average per student allocated to the monopoly vendor.

    Glad they got raises for doing next to nothing during the Covid fiasco where somehow Catholic and other private schools stayed open. They 6 figures of lost income over the lives of these kids and depriving sports, dances, etc is criminal yet they continue with this un American propaganda on a captive adolescent audience to often devoid of critical thinking.

    1. Jack Burton

      Couple things here:

      1) Counterfactual is one word.
      2) In the context of how you are attempting to use said word I have two questions:
      a) How can public schools have a monopoly if there are “Catholic and other private schools” as you mention one sentence later.
      b) If the focus should be on English (after reading this I agree) and math, why is the only criminal act depriving students of sports and dances?
      3) What do Nigerians, Chinese, and Koreans have to do with racism in America?
      4) I think you’re under the impression that each individual teacher got to choose when to go back to the classroom. You should probably be made aware that was not the case. Teachers went back to the classroom when students went back to the classroom. Is it only teachers that do nothing while working remotely as required by their employer, or all professions?
      5) Telling the truth was never considered un-American until about five years ago.
      6) Can you link the evidence that “most teachers” are in the bottom third of college graduates? I would hate to think someone would just spout random unsourced statistics to fit their anti-teacher narrative. That would be a sign of anti-education indoctrination, and we know how worried people are about indoctrination.
      7) Telling the truth about American history is not Critical Race Theory (or indoctrination for that matter). The United States can have both a great and flawed history. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it nicely:
      “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
      The “America is perfect” narrative some culture warriors want to push is the opposite of critical thinking.

        1. Jack Burton

          The original post says “most teachers are in the bottom 1/3rd of college graduates”. Your information says that half score in the bottom 1/3rd on the SAT/ACT (and about a quarter score in the top 1/3rd). Your data is also specific to new teachers in 2010. Your article also mentions that student learning is improving, which is nice to see.

          Thank you for posting this data, most people at CCT aren’t that interested in doing so. Having said that, I don’t really find it that damning. I don’t need my daughter’s 1st grade teacher to be proficient in matrix calculus, I need them to relate to my daughter and know enough to prepare her for second grade.

  4. Jason

    I utterly cannot believe what I have just read. What he is talking about is an extreme misunderstanding and a purposeful exclusion of the facts. This twisting of the truth is what is dividing this community and country.

  5. Chandra

    Parents are now eyes wide open to what these liberal Marxist’s are attempting to do. Our children will not be pawns in your political games.


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