"CRT has become a catch-all for all topics regarding race, inequality, White privilege, and oppression. The law graduate theory has been distorted into a movement that has created outrage which evolved into attempts to justify banning books about anti-racism in K-12 schools." -- Daisha Williams, 11th Grade
Since late 2020, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a nation-wide topic resulting in a feud. After all the discourse over the last two years many people still do not understand what Critical Race Theory is. Right wing politicians and parents have often claimed CRT teaches children to hate White people.
Today CRT is still an important topic of discussion. The theory was brought up in Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings when Republican senators attempted to discredit Jackson claiming she was a proponent of CRT being taught in K-12 schools.
Critical Race Theory was first developed in the 1970s and '80s, soon after the Civil Rights Movement. The phrase was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an activist and professor at UCLA Law and Columbia Law School. An academic and legal framework, CRT was intended for graduate students. The subject is more multifaceted than most in the media have made it out to be, and is far too complex to be taught in a K-12 school.
One major aspect CRT facilitates is rejecting the idea of “color-blindness.” CRT acknowledges that racism is more than individual prejudice, and is instead systemic. CRT teaches that racism is something deeply embedded in the United States legal system due to centuries of race-based oppression. According to the New York Times, Crenshaw said, “[CRT] is a way of seeing, attending to, accounting for, tracing and analyzing the ways that race is produced, the ways that racial inequality is facilitated, and the ways that our history has created these inequalities that now can be almost effortlessly reproduced unless we attend to the existence of these inequalities.”
Grievances like these were dramatized by Fox News and through social media until it became a part of mainstream media. Many of the “concerned parents” that were featured on Fox News were people manipulating the facts for their own political agendas.
CRT has become a catch-all for all topics regarding race, inequality, White privilege, and oppression. The law graduate theory has been distorted into a movement that has created outrage which evolved into attempts to justify banning books about anti-racism in K-12 schools. This movement began with one right-wing PR person who spread misinformation through outlets like Fox News and galvanized White parents to protest. Many parents reacted similarly to one parent who wrote an essay about an all-girls private school named Brearley which had created discussions surrounding anti-racism. In the essay the parent wrote, “Brearley, by adopting Critical Race Theory, is advocating the abhorrent viewpoint that Blacks should forever be regarded as helpless victims, and are incapable of success regardless of their skills, talents, or hard work. What Brearley is teaching our children is precisely the true and correct definition of racism.”
Brearley, and other schools in this country are not adopting CRT into their curriculums. They are bringing conversations about race into the classroom, straying away from White-washed versions of history that have neglected true American history for decades. Unfortunately, to people who aren’t educated on these matters, the Brearly parent’s argument seems justified.