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VICTOR JOECKS: This basketball player shows why critical race theory shouldn’t be in schools

If you want to see why schools should reject critical race theory, look at Las Vegas native Orlando Robinson.

Last month, Robinson was hoping to be drafted by an NBA team. He certainly had a case to warrant a selection, starting with his almost 7-foot frame. He played three years at Fresno State, helping the Bulldogs achieve a 23-13 record last season. He averaged more than 19 points and eight rebounds per contest. Impressive.

Just being tall wasn’t enough to make Robinson a good basketball player, although it obviously helps. He has worked diligently on his game. As the Review-Journal’s Sam Gordon recently detailed, Robinson’s father pushed his then-11-year-old son hard in daily drills. The older Robinson was tough on him, because he knew if would make his son mentally strong.

The younger Robinson even skipped his senior year at Centennial High School to maximize his basketball potential. He attended a California college preparatory program for athletes. There he had to get up at 4 a.m. and abide by a strict training program. He ended up with 30 scholarship offers.

“My development is in my hands,” Robinson said. “Nobody is going to believe in me. Nobody is going to put in more work than I am to my own game.”

Despite all that discipline and diligence, he wasn’t drafted.

He signed a contract with the Miami Heat, but it gives him only a chance to compete at training camp. Instead of being bitter, Robinson is grateful a team was willing to give him an opportunity.

Look at the admirable character qualities this 22-year-old has demonstrated.

He worked hard, which improved his skills. He’s mentally tough, overcoming taunts in his younger years about his coordination. He’s grateful for opportunity, instead of comparing himself to others. He’s resilient, finding something positive in disappointment.

Odds are Robinson’s stay in the NBA will be brief — although I wouldn’t bet against him. But the chances that he succeeds in life are extremely high. That’s because these character qualities will help anyone succeed in life, even if they can’t guarantee you’ll become a famous millionaire.

Contrast this with what critical race theory — which the Clark County School District embraces — teaches students. It contends that America and its institutions are racist to the core. Skin color, not choices or character, determine whether one is a victim or the recipient of unmerited privilege. This deprives people of agency. No matter what choices people make, they can’t escape the box they’re placed in by their immutable characteristics.

CRT tells white and Asian students that their achievements are undeserved and hollow, the result of “privilege” rather than their efforts. It tells minority students that they can’t succeed, unless white people, who hold the power, destroy the rigged system.

This worldview was a major factor in Superintendent Jesus Jara’s decision to reduce disciplinary penalties and gut grading policies. The results have been disastrous.

Here’s a better message: Whatever obstacles you face, the decisions you make are the most important variable. Be like Orlando Robinson and improve the trajectory of your life by making good choices, not excuses.

Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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