Perspectives: Critical Race Theory in Schools
Headline Roundup June 27th, 2021
Critical race theory (CRT) and how it's taught in classrooms is at the center of debate nationwide. At least 21 states have introduced or passed legislation to restrict or ban the teaching of CRT. Several videos of tense debates over CRT at school board meetings have recently gone viral. There's a partisan divide not only on applying the theory, but also on how it evolved over time, what it represents, and how it could influence students.
Supporters of critical race theory being taught in schools say it's a necessary academic tool for "examining how racism is embedded in America’s laws and institutions", and argue that attempts to suppress it represent a "Republican scare tactic and disinformation campaign." Opponents of critical race theory in schools argue that it trains people to only "see everything through the lens of racial group identity and inherited guilt"; some called for "more grassroots involvement in ensuring that schools teach American history and values with fairness and accuracy." CRT supporters often describe it as a positive after-effect of the civil rights movement; opponents often say it has Marxist roots and is anti-American.
Watching the news or browsing social media, it would be easy to think that critical race theory is a complicated, controversial, or new idea.
But critical race theory, created four decades ago by legal scholars, is an academic framework for examining how racism is embedded in America’s laws and institutions. It is just now receiving widespread attention because it has morphed into a catchall category, one used by Republicans who want to ban anti-racist teachings and trainings in classrooms and workplaces across the country.
Over the past six months, Republicans...
Texas has joined Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in passing laws to ban public schools from teaching critical race theory (CRT). Other states, such as Florida, have done so through executive rulemaking. This is a positive first step towards reclaiming American education from openly anti-American pedagogy.
The intellectual roots of CRT can be found in Marxist-influenced critical theory, which began in the academia of Weimar Germany. It developed into an “intersectional” ideology at Harvard Law School in the late 1980s, through Kimberlé Crenshaw and other supporters of Professor Derrick Bell. In recent years, however, it...
A tug of war over the teaching of American history and race is playing out in state legislatures. Given the chasm between views on either side, what is the best path forward?
Kenya Minott and Robin Steenman are both concerned about the national uproar around critical race theory, but for different reasons.
For Dr. Minott, a consultant in Houston who provides anti-racism training, the recent bill passed by Texas lawmakers is a frightening effort to discourage conversations about systemic racism that could lead to better racial justice. It targets what the politicians say are concepts...