No, teaching critical race theory, or CRT, may actually help us better understand what the theory is and why it’s problematic. What we should really be worried about is CRT indoctrination and praxis--or practice, as distinguished from theory.
I’ve seen the left and many journalists attempt to paint up CRT as teaching honest history of racism in schools. That is an intentional mischaracterization. Despite all the blown smoke, it is completely possible to teach about racism and systemic oppression without teaching CRT.
On the other hand, I’ve seen conservatives misfire on their concerns of the CRT issue. They want to ban teaching on CRT--something that is not a part of the secondary education curriculum and has never been proposed to be.
What they should be concerned with is students being inundated with critical theory through lesson plans, word questions, discussion questions and teacher advocacy. The threat is that our schools be shaped by CRT principals and precepts--no explicit teaching of the theory required.
State school board member Belinda McRae, a longtime educator from Hamilton, says it right: classrooms should not become a place for political brainwashing. That is exactly what would happen should schools begin to promulgate Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
CRT falls under the more broad category of Critical Theory, which was developed in the Frankfurt School in the 1930s drawing on the ideas of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Critical Gender Theory and Critical Social Theory follow the same school of thought.
Essentially, Critical Theory divides up the population between the “oppressed” and the “oppressors” and is a way to begin to ideologically usurp current power structures. Critical race theory suggests that America and its laws and institutions are vehicles of racism designed and built by white people to oppress black people and others.
Proponents of CRT say that these structures must come down. It’s a way for bad actors to stoke the tensions of race and use the flames to advocate for more control to set things right.
A common word you will hear when discussing CRT is “equity,” because those who wish to institute the theory want to see equality of outcomes, not equality of opportunity.
How this is done is the concerning part.
Ibram X. Kendi, a prominent voice for CRT, says, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Just like how affirmative action works, CRT would consider it a moral good to institute programs and policies which would grant privileges based on your race.
In a bizarre irony, this calls for our society to become race-conscious, something which flies in the face of Martin Luther King’s dream, which was that for one day his children would live in a nation “where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
It’s identitarianism--politics based on identity. In this case, race. And that is the biggest danger of the theory. It has logical conclusions that follow dangerously close to that of white supremacy. For instance, many CRT advocates are in favor of segregating black students into their own schools and support groups.
In a letter to the state school board, the Alabama American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that banning CRT is a censorship issue. That is wrong. Court rulings have held that the government has the constitutional power to control curricular issues and decide on teaching materials without violating the First Amendment.
I actually think teaching about CRT could be done in an appropriate class setting, right along with all the other kinds of theories and philosophies. We need to understand it so we see it for what it is.
However, applied CRT and practice is where there needs to be a distinct line. Our classrooms are not for indoctrination.
At a closer look, Critical Race Theory appears to be more about control than it is about equality or sustainable solutions. It’s about taking power. Attempting to implement its principles into public education is about indoctrination.
Kendi advocates for an anti-racist society. Unfortunately, that is still a society entwined on racial identities instead of shared values.
Instead, I believe we need to be a post-racist society, one where the color of our skin means no more than the color of our hair or eyes.
We are more than our skin color, but that isn’t the way CRT wants us to think.
See complete story in the Journal Record.