The Critical Race Theory in Schools

Tauson Biggs, News Writer

Since spring of 2021 there has been a heated debate between conservatives and liberals on whether Critical Race Theory should be taught in schools. On one side of the argument, many conservatives think that Critical Race Theory only succeeds in creating division between white people and people of color. On the other hand, liberals believe that Critical Race Theory is a necessary tool to be used to educate students on racism and how it has shaped our society and policy.

So what is Critical Race Theory anyways? Critical Race Theory is essentially the study of how race has affected U.S. law and society in the past and present. The idea of Critical Race Theory has been around for over 40 years, but has recently become a hot topic due to a surge in proposals for legislation banning Critical Race Theory in schools. “More than 20 states — including New Hampshire, Michigan, Texas, Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas — have introduced regulations that restrict teaching about race and racism,” said Jeremy Engle of The New York Times

The effect of these regulations on students’ learning is unknown as of yet, owing to the fact that these rules were only implemented this school year. At the moment we can only speculate as to what the effects may be. “Banning Critical Race theory would be like having this huge textbook of everything that brought America into existence… and then ripping out every other page,” said Esther Adebi ’24.

The main argument for removing Critical Race theory from K-12 curriculum is that Critical Race Theory indoctrinates young people of the repercussions of slavery leading up to the present day, which in turn would cause students to believe that they are somehow at fault because of the color of their skin. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said, “when followed to its logical conclusion, Critical Race Theory is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based.”

Another factor in conservative pushback against Critical Race Theory is that right wing politicians and parents alike fear what kind of mindset their children will enter if they are taught of racially based inequality in America. “They do not want public schools propagandizing their children into becoming left-wing radicals,” said Damon Linker of The Week.

This is a legitimate concern, but democrats would argue that there should be transparency when dealing with education. “I think it’s important to learn about CRT because a lot of the time, you’re influenced by your parents. Kids shouldn’t get a biased view,” said Mateo Niller ’24.

So besides Critical Race Theory being perhaps more objective, why else is it important to teach kids about race and racism? Niller ’24 also commented,”race and racism are still really relevant in today’s world. It is more important to learn about CRT than, say, ancient Rome. Although, that is still important.”

At the end of the day, Critical Race theory is about giving kids insight into the history of racism in America so that past mistakes are not repeated. Nobody says this better than Adebi ’24: “Teaching kids about racism builds sensitivity and awareness. It also minimizes American exceptionalism; we shouldn’t be taught an idealized, sugarcoated version of how America came to be. We needn’t be unnecessarily macabre while we teach it, but we shouldn’t lie about how deep an issue the creation of race was either. Teaching CRT would help our generation understand our country and why it is how it is, much better than we currently do.”