Virginia's first female lieutenant governor — a Jamaican immigrant — has a message regarding racial differences in America.
"Are you going to look at the glass as half full or as half empty? Because if it's half empty, that's a negative view of life," Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears told Fox News on Sunday.
"That's where too many of our political leaders come from and all it does is serve their, I think, nefarious agenda to divide us and to say, You’re a victim, you're always going to be a victim; and the other people are the oppressors, and so you need us."
Sears seemed reluctant to be described as the first Black woman to hold her position, telling Fox News that mentioning her race ignored the larger significance of being the first woman of any race to hold the job.
"And I think that's part of the problem. We, for lack of a better word, segregate ourselves in divisive ways," she told Fox News. "That's not conducive to healthy relationships."
Sears, who came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., were sworn in Saturday in Richmond, Virginia.
"I think I am a visible success story that says to people, You can do it. You will do it. No matter your gender, no matter your color, even no matter where you were born," she told Fox News. "Because here I am — this is not my country, not my culture. I came from Jamaica and here, I have made it."
During his first day in office, Youngkin issued an executive order banning the teaching of "divisive concepts" such as critical race theory in public education.
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.
Still, Sears said students need to be taught about racial issues.
"We need to know where we were wrong so that we can move forward and right things," she told Fox News. "The way to right things is to have that opportunity to have a good education. It is to give parents choice. We’re going to teach everything, we’re not going to sugarcoat anything, because the one thing we’ve learned from history, as someone once said, is that we don’t learn from history."
Sears cited former South African President Nelson Mandela as an example of how to deal with racial prejudice.
"He wasn’t looking for retribution. He wanted to say, Let's talk about what happened, and let's move on because we must," she told Fox News. "We can’t keep dividing ourselves. Those are the kinds of leaders we’re looking for."
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