Critical Race Theory is pegging the headlines as of late, as state legislatures look at banning it.
In April, Idaho became the first state to nix CRT in the classroom.
And Gov. Ron DeSantis watched it 86’d last month.
June also saw the introduction of a bill in Washington D.C.
For a reminder of what sort of things are on offer in the CRT sphere, consider the concepts that measure would prevent:
- An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
- One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
- An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
- Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.
- The United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.
- An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex.
- Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another.
CRT has strong proponents; count Kevin Cokley among them.
Kevin’s a professor at UT Austin, and in a USA Today article Tuesday, he defended the dogma.
The way Kevin sees it, to oppose CRT is to endorse dishonest assessment:
[The] ultimate goal of anti-CRT efforts is to prevent any discussion about racism that presents America as less than perfect.
According to the professor, the doctrine has nothing to do with division:
Critical race theory is not hostile, divisive or anti-American. This characterization is a politicized misrepresentation of the theory that prevents and penalizes any discussion of the idea that systemic racism is, unfortunately, still very much present in American society.
Kevin defines CRT as an idea “which posits that racism is not simply acts of individual bias or prejudice, but rather is embedded in institutions, policies and legal systems.”
“Critics of Critical Race Theory,” he laments, “use it as an umbrella term to describe any examination of systemic racism.”
How can we determine whether it should be taught if we can’t agree upon what it is?
On CNN recently, host Don Lemon seemed to suggest CRT’s the mere recognition of American slavery:
“[H]aving people come to the realization — especially ancestors of slaves — that they were enslaved, and that they were beaten and that they were sold, that they weren’t able toum accrue wealth, that they weren’t able to go to school, they weren’t able to go vote, you think that makes them feel good?”
And Air Force Academy Professor Lynne Chandler Garcia thinks it’s swell — that’s why she teaches it.
As Lynne explained recently in The Washington Post, “The United States was founded on a duality: liberalism and equal rights on the one hand; inequality, inegalitarianism and second-class citizenship on the other. … Racism was ingrained in the system from the beginning…”
As for slavery, to be clear, a less-than-perfect history will still be taught in The Longhorn State.
As noted by Campus Reform, Texas House Bill 3979 — which bans CRT — requires teaching of “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
Nonetheless, Kevin wants CRT in class — it’s part, in his words, of a “much needed” conversation on “race and systemic racism in this country.”
I don’t think he has to worry about it — that discourse, I’d bet, isn’t going anywhere.
For a very, very long time.
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