• David J Wudyka

Explain "Critical Race Theory" Uh, Okay, Sure, Hold On. . .

Updated: Apr 15


I like to stay current with ideas emerging as talking points in our country. After all, I’m a teacher. It’s good for me to do so.


One such talking point raising ire on both sides of this issue these days is “Critical Race Theory.” So I turned to my “go to” source of explanations: Wikipedia.

Let’s see what it says…


Critical race theory (CRT) is a framework of analysis and an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists who seek to examine the intersection of race and law in the United States and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice.[1][2][3][4] CRT examines social, cultural, and legal issues primarily as they relate to race and racism in the U.S..[5][6] A tenet of CRT is that racism and disparate racial outcomes are the result of complex, changing, and often subtle social and institutional dynamics, rather than explicit and intentional prejudices of individuals.[7][8]


Huh?


Let’s go on…


CRT scholars view race and white supremacy as an intersectional social construct[7] that advances the interests of white people[11] at the expense of persons of other races.[12][13][14] In the field of legal studies, CRT emphasizes that formally colorblind laws can still have racially discriminatory outcomes.[15] A key CRT concept is intersectionality, which emphasizes that race can intersect with other identities (such as gender and class) to produce complex combinations of power and advantage.[16]


WOW!


Let’s strive for greater clarity…


Academic critics of CRT argue that it relies on social constructionism, elevates storytelling over evidence and reason, rejects the concepts of truth and merit, and opposes liberalism.[17][18][19]


Since 2020, conservative U.S. lawmakers have sought to ban or restrict the instruction of critical race theory along with other anti-racism education.[8][20] These lawmakers have been accused of misrepresenting the tenets and importance of CRT, and that the goal of their restrictions is to broadly silence discussions of racism, equality, social justice, and the history of race.[21][22][23]


Got it?


So here’s my “take”…


Influenced by early attempts to frame the topic (e.g Frederick Douglass and others), CRT and its proponents take the position that discrimination is not simply interpersonal in nature, but results from the complex interaction of factors that produce discrimination, including ideas like white supremacy, power, social factors, institutional factors, and social class. Anti-CRT’ers want to limit the education and discussions about race in the classroom, including racism itself, social justice, equality, and the history of race.


Does anyone actually understand any of this?


Can you see it?


Two groups meet in a parking lot: the Pro-CRT’ers and the Anti-CRT’ers:

Someone yells “Frederick Douglass” and “W.E.B. DuBois” said that you Anti-CTR’ers discriminate because of the effect of your institutions on your attitudes toward people of color! What’s more, what we believe are the ideas rooted in the protests in the 1960’s and ‘70’s by Blacks, Chicanos and Radical Feminists.” So there!


Now THAT will persuade them!


Someone on the other side yells “Oh yeah? Who cares? Who are Frederick Douglass and that “Dubois” guy anyway? What do they have to do with TODAY?! And leave teachers alone! We will tell teachers what to teach for the benefit of our children! Teachers don’t have the time to cover the history of race. And don’t expect students to understand what the complex factors are that influence racial outcomes”! Even WE don’t understand it! So forget it!


That will solve it. I can see the sides coming together now.


I’m exhausted.


I hope I’ve answered your question.


Now I have one question for all of you….



“Can’t we all just get along?” The Make Life Good! Team Wrentham, MA November 2021





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