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Critical Race Theory: The Debate That Has Divided The US

Critical Race Theory: The Debate That Has Divided The US

Many students including myself share the memory of walking into a U.S history class and being told that the decades old Civil War was a result of state rights or that slavery started between African countries rather than white imperial superpowers. Students are taught and tested over history that is assumed to be accurate when in reality we are being taught through the lens of the white man. perspective is crucial because one’s loss is another’s victory, and one side never tells the whole story. So, the question arises, why are we students taught only one side of the story. A side that is anything but the truth, one that lives inherently in white supremacist ideals, and downplays the horrors that have been committed in history. 

What is Critical Race Theory?

So here is where I shed light on the years old concept of Critical Race Theory. Which in its core, is the idea that race is a social construct that has been used to exploit and oppress people of color (POC) throughout history and into our current world. To put it into simple terms this means that racism in the United States is a byproduct of laws and policies put in place. Racism is an action that is taught in our society rather than inherited and this injustice has persisted in a system that’s been in place for generations. Critical Race Theory allows for us to acknowledge and at the same time learn how and why racial inequality still exists in our society. 

How does this relate to education and history?

By incorporating this framework into education for grades K-12, we can allow the new generation of kids to be educated on the truth of our flawed history. 
The curriculum that we are being taught in schools have failed to teach students the extent of racism and the treatment of Black people under the American system. 
Critical Race Theory would expand on issues such as segregated schools, underfunding, and it would allow us to highlight important historical POC figures. This is especially crucial because the material that we are taught presents Black individuals as having little to no history prior to slavery. This prohibits students from learning about their rich history and culture as it forces us only to associate them with slavery. In a country that was built upon and has sustained white supremacy, it is imperative that our society acknowledges this and works towards dismantling and improving on our current system. 

Why is there so much discourse surrounding CRT?

Recently Critical Race Theory has been attacked as many Americans claim that the theory itself is “racist” or “teaching people to hate our country”. These critics fear that if our history is told truthfully, people will start to resent or discriminate against white people. The recent buzz starts off with the popular belief that racism is a consequence of individual bias. This lie gets embedded through the minds of multiple Americans, especially white individuals and gives birth to the idea that America is not racist. In their world, racism against people of color is nonexistent and this perpetuates the harmful belief that white privilege does not exist. Our society is not race neutral or color blind because the foundation of our country indirectly hurts POC while white Americans consistently thrive. By teaching students about systematic racism and privilege through CRT, we can work towards a more inclusive and equal society. To overcome a problem, one must acknowledge the issue firsthand before attempting to fix it.  

Why is it relevant in today’s society?

In light of our current issues such as police brutality, hate crimes and hate speech, affirmative action, and underfunding, CRT is most crucial. As of early August, Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, and South Carolina have passed legislation for anti CRT teaching. The Texas Senate’s bill eliminated curriculum requirements for the KKK, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech, activist Susan B. Anthony’s writings, and Native American history. These statewide bans will continue to spread to other U.S states and become more prominent. Which is why we must support and spread the teachings of Critical Race Theory now to stop further injustice from continuing and to preserve the credibility of our history

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