What Is Critical Race Theory?

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Written by Kela Small for weareteachers.com.

There’s always been pushback about what gets taught in schools (looking at you, evolution), and legislators are always more than willing to weigh in. Most recently, the topic in question has been critical race theory. Just this week, the Tennessee General Assembly voted to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory. The government can now withhold funding from schools that teach about racism and its history in the United States. And this is just a small snapshot of what is happening at the national level. Idaho is already on board, and Texas is expected to follow suit. It’s a move decidedly in the wrong direction.

Critical Race Theory examines how America’s unique brand of racism has shaped the legal, economic, and societal structures of our country. At the core of Critical Race Theory is the idea that race is not a biological fact but a social concept that has shaped laws that uphold a system of racial injustice. Many of these laws have changed over time, but the structures that allowed them to be law have not. Those structures are upheld by the conscious and unconscious biases that allow race to continue to be a determining factor in almost every aspect of American life, from housing to healthcare, from education to employment, and everything in between. Critical Race Theory explores how the effects of racism have shape-shifted to maintain the racial hierarchy that has so long held America back from being a truly just nation.

The GOP Attempt To Ban Critical Race Theory from USA Schools

A group of House Republicans took recent attacks on critical race theory a step further by introducing a pair of bills to ban diversity training for federal employees and the military.

Some 30 GOP representatives have signed on to support both the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act and the Stop CRT Act, Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina said at a news conference in Washington.

The first bill is a companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas that aims to prohibit teaching “Anti-American and racist theories” such as critical race theory at any academic institution related to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Stop CRT Act works to codify former President Donald Trump’s executive order banning diversity and racial equity training for federal employees — an order President Joe Biden reversed in January.

What Could We lose If We Ban Critical Race Theory?

America is in the midst of a racial reckoning, one unlike any we have seen in recent memory. There is momentum among younger generations to learn about the through-line of race in America. Their goal is to own their privileges on one end of the spectrum and to challenge the barriers they face on the other end. The purpose of knowledge is not just to feel — it is to act. When you know better, you do better, even if you feel worse at first.

Younger people are waking up to the ways that systemic racism harms not only Black people, but white people as well. This bill is a threat to the opportunity we have to educate all children about how race has shaped this country and how we can work to undo the harm that racism has caused. If we ban Critical Race Theory, we will lose the momentum of the moment and the potential for it to turn into some kind of measurable change.

Read the original article at https://www.weareteachers.com/critical-race-theory-ban/.