What is Critical Race Theory and should it be taught in schools?

An article about the subject of Critical Race Theory and the diversity of opinion that comes with it. Along with the big question, “Should this be taught to the children of our future?”

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Leona Ashley, Writer/Contributor

Critical Race Theory is a concept that aims to explain how discrimination and inequity are woven into laws, policies and systems. Thus, the doctrine states, racism is perpetuated in American culture. The theory argues that racism goes beyond individual prejudice, and is an ingrained component of American society.” Source: Congressional Digest

What is Critical Race Theory?

“Critical Race Theory finds that racism is part of many different systems in our society (we call this systematic racism) such as the laws, schools, policing, etc. To combat this, Critical Race Theory focuses on teaching about slavery, the effects of historical racism, ( such as segregation) their continued effect on our world today, and focuses on teaching multiple persepctives in literature” Source: Congressional Digest.

Critical Race Theory is an extremely controversial topic, arguing whether it exists, if it should be taught, or if it should be even spoken of. 

PROPOSITION

The proposition preaches that Critical Race Theory needs to teach the children of our future how corrupt our society can be, whilst the opposition opposes that teaching this to children can be harmful to their education and overall opinions on how they see society. This article will look at both sides. Critical Race Theory generally preaches discrimination and inequity that is woven into laws, policies, and systems is highly overlooked and Critical Race Theory is a concept that aims to explain that systematic racism goes beyond just people that can be seen on the news, or someone you meet on the side of a street. It recognizes that racism is not bygone, race intersects with other identities. Racism is in fact cloaked.

Illustration on how adults have control over children’s education, future, and knowledge. Time is ticking and society is changing, and this heavily impacts their future. unfair or not?

PROPOSITION 

The proposition’s main arguments are generally that Critical Race Theory brings understanding about society,  and the Critical Race Theory curriculum helps students think critically about the institutions that shape their lives.

Focusing on the first point, that it can bring understanding to society, Critical Race Theory is a teaching method that involves understanding and focusing on cultural backgrounds. Critical Race Theory has many benefits, including the fact that students can become more motivated to expand their knowledge on a variety of cultures.

The nmaahc states that, “The notion of race is a social construct designed to divide people into groups ranked as superior and inferior. The scientific consensus is that race, in this sense, has no biological basis – we are all one race, the human race. Racial identity, however, is very real. And, in a racialized society like the United States, everyone is assigned a racial identity whether they are aware of it or not.”

To sum this point, Critical Race Theory  is not a diversity and inclusion “training” but a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism that has been built in our society.

The second point asserts that the Critical Race Theory curriculum helps students think critically about the institutions that shape their lives.

“Critical Race Theory does not define racism in the traditional manner as solely the consequence of discrete irrational bad acts perpetrated by individuals but is usually the unintended (but often foreseeable) consequence of choices. It exposes the ways that racism is often cloaked in terminology, regarding “mainstream,” “normal,” or “traditional” values or “neutral” policies, principles, or practices. And, as scholar Tara Yosso asserts, Critical Race Theory can be an approach used to theorize, examine, and challenge the ways in which race and racism implicitly and explicitly impact social structures, practices, and discourses. Critical Race Theory observes that scholarship that ignores race is not demonstrating “neutrality” but adherence to the existing racial hierarchy. ”

OPPOSITION

Many believe Critical Race Theory segregates people into two categories: the oppressed and the oppressors, victims and not victims. A theory, with misplaced values.

The opposition’s main arguments are generally that Critical Race Theory claims that the  “American Dream” is not available to everyone and Critical Race Theory can actually harm the children more than benefit them. 

The ideal definition for the American Dream would be the “equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.” 

People that disagree with Critical Race Theory generally believe that racial discrimination in professional settings has been under much scrutiny from academics and journalists, but less considered is the subject of skin-tone bias, or colourism. Unlike racial bias, which is usually perpetrated by individuals of one race against those of another, colourism is also frequently observed among members of the same ethnic or racial group. 

The main reason “the American Dream” is dead for all Americans, regardless of race, is due to wealth inequality in the United States today. As the world has become more evolved, more jobs require education further than high school.

Opposition believes teaching Critical Race Theory can harm children more than benefit them because many believe this can cause children to think their race and identity to be either privileged in a negative way or oppressed because of something they can not control. A news report states that a Tennessee parent’s  seven-year old daughter came home one day stating things that shouldn’t be a concern to her young age.

“I’m ashamed that I’m White.” Her daughter asked, “Is there something wrong with me? Why am I hated so much?”

Her saying this, was the almost-expected result of lessons that were previously taught earlier that day in the classroom.

“Like any other approach, Critical Race Theory can be misunderstood and misapplied. It has been distorted and attacked. And it continues to change and evolve. The hope in Critical Race Theory is in its recognition that the same policies, structures, and scholarship that can function to disenfranchise and oppress so many also holds the potential to emancipate and empower many.”

Critical Race Theory is an extremely controversial topic today, with strong opinions holding it up on all walls.