In Part I, I provided a bit of the history of racism in the U.S., how it started and how it has expanded and morphed through the centuries. Today, I want to talk a bit more at length about Critical Race Theory, the facts vs the rhetoric we’ve all been hearing from certain politicians and the likes of Fox ‘News’.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) proposes that racism is systemic, that it is built into our very foundations and institutions, for it has been a part of the “American Way” since the first white settlers landed on the Eastern shores of this nation. Contrary to what you have heard by people such as Tucker Carlson, CRT is NOT taught in elementary nor secondary schools today, though I would argue vehemently that it should be. If we teach our children only half of the story, then we are painting a picture of a nation that simply does not exist. If we teach about how the thirteen colonies so bravely fought the British for their independence in the 18th century, if we teach about the heroes from that effort, then we must also teach them about the fact that even 17 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 owned slaves! We must also teach them that 8 of the nation’s first 12 presidents were also slave owners. This, too, is part of our history.
How many times of late have you heard it said that the U.S. is not a racist nation, or is the least racist nation in the world? I’ve heard it far too many times from those who are either ignorant, are wearing blinders by choice, or have an ulterior motive (politicians). Think about how many unarmed Black people have been killed by police … with little or no provocation. And if that doesn’t convince you, look closer to home. In your own community there likely resides at least one ‘Karen’. For those who may not know, ‘Karen’ is the latest buzzword for a white female who considers herself privileged, socially superior to others, especially Black people. She is the one who calls the police demanding the neighbor kids’ lemonade stand be shut down, or demanding Black residents be removed from the apartment complex swimming pool. She’s the one who calls the police saying a Black man is threatening her, when all he did was ask her nicely to put her dog on a leash in the park. And Karen is the woman who comes out of her house with a loaded gun threatening to shoot peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters who are simply walking past her house, on the sidewalk, on their way to the mayor’s office. If there is no racism in the U.S., then how do you explain these Karens?
Critical Race Theory was developed by legal scholars in the 1970s as a way to explain the lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. So, it has been around for nearly 50 years, yet today, all of a sudden, it is causing an uproar, primarily led by the Republican Party who has convinced a great many people that this is some evil being perpetrated on white people to … what? I’ve heard a number of ridiculous claims – that CRT is being taught in schools in order to make schoolchildren hate white people. This is an outright lie. There is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students, though some ideas central to it, such as lingering consequences of slavery, have been and should be taught.
Those who rail against CRT are the same ones you’ve heard say that they fear Caucasians becoming a minority in this nation. WHO CARES??? I don’t care if there are more white people, more Black people, more Hispanic people … I care what’s inside those people, not their skin colour for Pete’s sake! Personally, I think brown and black skin is much more attractive than white skin anyway! But, let me tell you something … once you look beneath the skin, everything looks exactly alike no matter what the person’s skin colour was. The heart is shaped the same, the two kidneys are exactly the same. The difference is non-existent.
Nobody with an education and a functional mind can deny that this nation does have some very dark areas in its history, and neither can they deny that racism is still very much alive and well in the U.S. So why all of a sudden has Critical Race Theory become such a controversial topic? Let’s take a look at that …
You remember last summer, after the brutal murder of George Floyd by then-police officer Derek Chauvin that there were many Black Lives Matter protests around the nation, and even in other nations around the globe, including France and the UK. Those protests were largely peaceful by the Black community, however agitators were sent in by the likes of the Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups to start trouble, and ultimately BLM protests received much negative press. At the time, we had a very much racist person in the Oval Office and he began attacking anything that dealt with America’s racist past … or present. He cancelled diversity training in the various branches of government, he slammed the New York Times’ very worthy 1619 Project, and every other attempt to shine a light on our racist past, including … you guessed it … Critical Race Theory. He even issued an executive order banning federal contractors from conducting racial sensitivity training, emphasizing his desire to stop “efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex- and race-based ideologies.”
Fox “News” jumped on the bandwagon, as did Republican lawmakers at both the state and federal level, and today there are 27 states that are trying to make any form of anti-racist teaching or training against the law!
Y’know … if you spill grease on your carpet, you can cover it up with a rug so nobody sees it, but the grease is still there, the stain is spreading, and someday somebody will trip over that rug and expose your ugly stain. More importantly, that grease is damaging the foundation, the flooring beneath the carpet.
The Republican Party has turned the term Critical Race Theory into its boogeyman of the year, claiming that schools are teaching children that those with white skin are inherently evil (hmmmm … sounds familiar, only in reverse). They are telling parents that CRT poses a threat to parental control of the world views of their own children — as “brainwashing” or “indoctrination” rather than as simply encouragement to think critically and independently. And good ol’ Fox ‘News’ is doing its share to promote the lies, having mentioned CRT no less than 1,300 times since March!
In Nevada, where critical race theory hysteria is only just beginning, a conservative group suggested that teachers wear body cameras to ensure they’re not teaching critical race theory. In Loudoun County, Virginia, a group of conservative parents is attempting to recall school board members after the district required teacher training in “systemic oppression and implicit bias.”
I’ve rambled enough tonight, given you enough to ponder and chew on. Far too many people simply do not understand that CRT is merely a way of understanding and explaining why racist ideology is still built into our institutions, our laws, schools, and courts. It is not an evil developed to undermine that which is, or once was, good about this nation, but to try to point out the bad as well, so that we can correct our way of thinking and NOT make the same mistakes we’ve made in the past, to become a better nation. We do our children a disservice when we teach them only the bright, shining points of the nation’s history, for what we are today is a compilation of the good, the bad, and the ugly. You cannot simply erase the bad and the ugly.
I don’t plan on a Part III to this series, for I think I’ve said most of what I wanted to say, however … if anybody would like to ask questions or start further discussion on the topic, I would be more than happy to devote another post to it. Racism … all forms of bigotry … is one of the issues nearest and dearest to my heart, and anytime I can help people better understand, I’m happy to do so.