Critical Race Theory: An Academic Concept, Not a Threat to Children


Since late 2020, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been at the center of furious controversies. Despite all the heated arguments, many people still do not understand what Critical Race Theory is.

Sometimes, viewing it as part of vast conspiracy, right wing politicians and parents have often claimed CRT teaches children to hate White people.

Today, CRT is still an important topic of discussion. The theory was brought up in Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings when Republican senators attempted to discredit Jackson claiming she was a proponent of CRT being taught in K-12 schools.

Critical Race Theory was first developed in the 1970s and ’80s, soon after the Civil Rights Movement. The phrase was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an activist and professor at UCLA Law and Columbia Law school. As an academic and legal framework, CRT was intended for graduate students. The subject is more multifaceted than most in the media have made it out to be and is far too complex to be taught in K-12 schools.

A major aspect of CRT is that it rejects the idea of “color-blindness,” acknowledging that racism is more than individual prejudice and is instead systemic. CRT teaches that racism is something deeply embedded in the United States legal system due to centuries of race-based oppression. According to the New York Times, Crenshaw said, “[CRT] is a way of seeing, attending to, accounting for, tracing and analyzing the ways that race is produced, the ways that racial inequality is facilitated, and the ways that our history has created these inequalities that now can be almost effortlessly reproduced unless we attend to the existence of these inequalities.”

CRT has become a catch-all for all topics regarding race, inequality, White privilege, and oppression. Opposition to the law graduate theory has been distorted into a movement that created outrage and evolved into attempts to justify banning books about anti-racism in K-12 schools. This movement began with one right-wing PR person who spread misinformation through outlets like Fox News and galvanized White parents to protest.

Many parents reacted similarly to one parent who wrote an essay about an all-girls private school named Brearley, which had created discussions surrounding anti-racism. In the essay the parent wrote, “Brearley, by adopting critical race theory, is advocating the abhorrent viewpoint that Blacks should forever be regarded as helpless victims, and are incapable of success regardless of their skills, talents, or hard work. What Brearley is teaching our children is precisely the true and correct definition of racism.”

Brearley, and other schools in this country are not adopting CRT in their curriculums. They are bringing conversations about race into the classroom, straying away from White-washed versions of history that has neglected true American history for decades. Unfortunately, to people who aren’t educated on these matters, the Brearly parent’s arguments and fears seem justified. Many of the “concerned parents” that were featured on Fox News were people manipulating the facts for their own political agendas.

Grievances like these were dramatized by Fox News and are magnified through social media until they became a part of mainstream media.

The post COMMENTARY: Critical Race Theory: An Academic Concept, Not a Threat to Children first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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