Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a controversial topic of discussion in the news recently. Our politicians, academics, activists and civil-rights scholars are all engaging in a battle to define, promote or debunk this academic movement. For today’s post, I felt a need to address it after Caitlyn Jenner, candidate for California Governor, transgender and member of the famed Kardashian clan, recently announced on her platform that she would fight Critical Race Theory in schools if elected governor. Her statement, “We don’t need to teach kids racism,” triggered me to my core. It is clear to me that not only are some people willfully misinterpreting what CRT is but we also have fellow BRETHREN in the struggle for justice and equality BLIND to the the plight and experiences of “others” who do not fit within in their particular tribe.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.
CRT is not a diversity and inclusion “training” but a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship. Crenshaw—who coined the term “CRT”—notes that CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.American Bar Association
Perhaps, the ability for US to compartmentalize issues and events along with our lack of empathy and inability to be absolutely trUthful is as American as apple pie. Since the beginning of American HIS–story, we have lied or told half truth about this great country and its commitment to fulfill its vision as a united nation under one God. In order to CHANGE and evolve, however, we must now be courageous enough to face the our deepest shame, fears and the “shadows” of our country’s past/present and take complete responsibility for our own personal beliefs and contribution.
Critical Race Theory does not teach children racism folks. We can thank our educational system, families and society for doing this job (check out the work of educator Ms. Jane Elliot if you need further proof). Children are not born racist (simply watch them playing when young). At some point during their upbringing, they are taught about race and racism via the educational, familial and societal indoctrination systems. Critical Race Theory simply explains what has already existed in society and its impact – – historically, culturally and systemically. CRT allows for children to evaluate past situations, groups and events with broader clarity using pertinent facts and information. In other words, it can allow them to think for themselves – – broaden METAcognition – – to evaluate and even judge past/present circumstances, experiences and people with increased precision and accuracy. What could be so wrong with this? Who benefits from children not thinking freely or being miseducated within the formal indoctrination systems?
At this point, I must admit that I am not a Caitlyn Jenner fan but I have supported her right and the LGBTQ+ community to express their authenticity as well as pursuits for equality and justice. It is simply astonishing to me that anyone who has had to struggle to just BE and accepted for being themselves would not see or support the struggles of “others” as well. Maybe this fact simply confirms that the issues related to race and racism are so insidious that even our fellow BRETHREN (brothers and sisters in the struggle) could be blind to their own thinking and beliefs depending on their ethnicity. Whatever happens in the future, it behooves all of US to take a hard look at the man or woman in the mirror – – think about what you are thinking – – and critically evaluate your own thoughts about not only self but “others” as well. Trust me – – our views say a lot of “US”.