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US What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Are People So Upset About It?

06:40  02 june  2021
06:40  02 june  2021 Source:   usnews.com

The real problem with critical race theory

  The real problem with critical race theory Critical race theory reveals how race has been used as a tool to create and exert power in ways that affects everyone economically and politically. The real problem with critical race theory is that it exposes those who have used race as a tool for their own political and economic gain.Monita Mungo, Ph.D., is assistant professor of sociology at The University of Toledo.

One hundred years ago, on May 31 and June 1 of 1921, white rioters ransacked and set ablaze a wealthy Black neighborhood in northern Tulsa, Oklahoma – a place known as "Black Wall Street," where Black people were business owners, doctors, lawyers and where they were building and accumulating wealth at a time when that was unheard of in much of America.

a person holding a sign: A mother holds her daughter as she reads a sign, before the arrival of US President Joe Biden, in the Greenwood district on the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 2021. - In Tulsa, the city that still bears the scars of a 1921 racial massacre, African American residents are eagerly awaiting the arrival of President Joe Biden on Tuesday, hoping he will hear their call for financial reparations. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) © (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images) A mother holds her daughter as she reads a sign, before the arrival of US President Joe Biden, in the Greenwood district on the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 2021. - In Tulsa, the city that still bears the scars of a 1921 racial massacre, African American residents are eagerly awaiting the arrival of President Joe Biden on Tuesday, hoping he will hear their call for financial reparations. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The massacre, which left hundreds of Black people dead and roughly 10,000 homeless in its immediate aftermath, has haunted families for generations – not only by stunting their family trees but also by stripping them of future opportunities that such a solid foundation would have brought.

State GOP lawmakers try to limit teaching about race, racism

  State GOP lawmakers try to limit teaching about race, racism RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Teachers and professors in Idaho will be prevented from “indoctrinating” students on race. Oklahoma teachers will be prohibited from saying certain people are inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. Tennessee schools will risk losing state aid if their lessons include particular concepts about race and racism. Governors and legislatures in Republican-controlled states across the country are moving to define what race-related ideas can be taught in public schools and colleges, a reaction to the nation’s racial reckoning after last year’s police killing of George Floyd.

"I call on the American people to reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country," President Joe Biden said in a proclamation on Monday, in which he underscored the devastating repercussions the federal highway system and redlining had in making it "nearly impossible" for the neighborhood to recover.

When the president visits Tulsa on Tuesday to mark the century that's passed since the Tulsa race riot and meet survivors and their families, he's set to deliver remarks and acknowledge how federal laws and policies, to this day, stunt the ability of Black communities to thrive.

In doing so, he will effectively deliver a lesson on critical race theory – the term that's roiling conservatives in Congress and statehouses across the country.

Oklahoma's lawmakers want to whitewash its history

  Oklahoma's lawmakers want to whitewash its history Critical race theory does not discount all other historical perspectives, nor does it insist that American history become a litany of grievances compiled by marginalized groups. But it does insist that race is an important analytical category for interpreting events.Contrary to the fear expressed in the Oklahoma law, critical race theory does not seek to make anyone feel guilty about their behavior or that of their ancestors. In fact, the theory deemphasizes individual actions in favor of examining structural issues.

And while nearly 80% of Americans have not heard of the term critical race theory or are unsure of whether they have, according to one recent poll, that hasn't stopped some people from getting really, really upset about what they see as the Biden administration's attempt to reckon with the sprawling repercussions of slavery.

So What Is Critical Race Theory, Anyway?

Critical race theory traces its origins to a framework of legal scholarship that gained momentum in the 1980s by challenging conventional thinking about race-based discrimination, which for decades assumed that discrimination on the basis of race could be solved by expanding constitutional rights and then allowing individuals who were discriminated against to seek legal remedies. However, some legal scholars pointed out that such solutions – though well-intentioned – weren't effective because, they argued, racism is pervasive and baked into the foundation of the U.S. legal system and society as a whole.

The Conservative Disinformation Campaign Against Nikole Hannah-Jones

  The Conservative Disinformation Campaign Against Nikole Hannah-Jones Only by identifying these campaigns as disinformation can we counter them, two UNC professors write.But then her tenure case reached the university’s conservative majority Board of Trustees, where it apparently lingered without action in a subcommittee. In the end, the board took the unprecedented step of refusing to hear the case at all. When the news became public, there was a large public outcry. Hannah-Jones’ legal team gave the Board of Trustees until Friday to reconsider tenure.

Take the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, for example, in which the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate is not equal and that state laws protecting segregated public schools are unconstitutional. While the ruling gave Black children the right to attend schools that had long prohibited them, it also resulted in some white families enrolling their children in private schools, moving to the suburbs or redrawing school district boundaries in an effort to resist integration.

Even now, more than half a century after the Brown v. Board decision, efforts are still underway by some wealthy and majority white communities to create their own school districts, and there exists a $23 billion gap between majority white and majority Black school districts out of which spills an array of inequalities.

Today, critical race theory is used by academic scholars – and not just in law schools – to describe how racism is embedded in all aspects of American life, from health care to housing, economics to education, clean water to the criminal justice system and more. Those systems, they argue, have been constructed and protected over generations in ways that give white people advantages – sometimes in ways that are not obvious or deliberately insidious but nonetheless result in compounding disadvantages for Black people and other racial and ethnic minorities.

DeSantis vows to go after GOP school board members who support teaching critical race theory

  DeSantis vows to go after GOP school board members who support teaching critical race theory Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News host Dan Bongino that critical race theory will soon be banned in Florida. © Provided by Washington Examiner “We’re not going to support any Republican candidate for school board who supports critical race theory in all 67 counties or who supports mandatory masking of schoolchildren,” DeSantis told Bongino.

Many Americans, especially white people, believe racism is the product of intentionally bad and biased individuals, but critical race theory purports that racism is systemic and is inherent in much of the American way of life, no matter how far removed we are today from its origins.

Over the last two decades, academic researchers and policymakers have increasingly focused on issues of equity, linking how systems were established in the U.S. with how and why they serve different groups of people differently.

In education, for example, that effort took off after Congress passed No Child Left Behind, which for the first time required states to disaggregate academic achievement data by race, income and disability status. From there, policymakers began linking the racial makeup of school districts to state and local education funding, or lack thereof, and their broader academic profiles – not just math and reading scores but also access to high quality teachers, Advanced Placement courses, extracurricular activities and school counselors, graduation rates and much more.

Today, policymakers are shining a light on glaring racial gaps in a whole host of domestic policy arenas, and as the country reckons with systemic racism and inequality in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of a white police officer, the term critical race theory is having a moment in the sun.

No, banning critical race theory in K-12 is not 'cancel culture'

  No, banning critical race theory in K-12 is not 'cancel culture' The Florida State Board of Education will vote on a rule prohibiting the required instruction of “American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” If adopted, this policy will fulfill Gov. Ron DeSantis’s promise to support a new civics curriculum that, in his words, “will expressly exclude critical race theory.”Florida is not alone in standing against critical race theory. Recently, the Washington Examiner reported that Wisconsin state lawmakers have proposed prohibiting “sex and racial stereotyping” in curricula and training.

Why Are People Talking About Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project Right Now?

The term critical race theory began gaining traction in the mainstream two years ago – or notoriety depending on people's outlook – after The New York Times published the 1619 Project, a compilation of essays, commentaries and poems that brought the idea of critical race theory out of academia for the first time by asking readers to center the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans in the country's national narrative.

The project's orchestrator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, won a Pulitzer Prize for the moving personal essay she wrote – the introduction to the package – about her father, a veteran, and why he flew an American flag in their front yard and was proud to be American when what she saw as a little girl was a country that used and then abandoned him.

While the project was widely hailed, it also irked many people who argued that it put ideology before historical accuracy, as well as a handful of prominent academic scholars who challenged some of the package's guiding principles, including that colonists fought the Revolutionary War in order to preserve slavery and that slavery was a uniquely American enterprise.

Political conservatives in particular found the darker portrayal of America's origins and its shortcomings galling, saying that it undercut patriotism and had a divisive effect. Former President Donald Trump found it especially insulting.

"Critical race theory, the 1619 Project and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, will destroy our country," he said about it at the time.

Critical race theory banned in Florida schools

  Critical race theory banned in Florida schools Florida has become the latest state to ban critical race theory, continuing the growing charge by Republican lawmakers against schools teaching about systemic racism. © Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union/USA Today Network After hours of debate and public comment Thursday, the Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved the amendment banning critical race theory. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed much of the board, spoke ahead of the meeting, saying critical race theory would teach children "the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.

Months following the 1619 Project's publication, Trump convened the "1776 Commission" to counter the narrative and develop a "patriotic" curriculum that schools can use to teach U.S. history. The commission published a 41-page report two days before the end of the Trump administration, which concluded, among other things, that progressivism is at odds with American values and recommended that schools teach positive stories about the country's founders.

President Joe Biden disassembled the 1776 Commision on his first day in office and repealed the executive order that pushed schools to adopt the former president's so-called patriotic curriculum, which had unlikely legs anyway, given that under federal law the government is prohibited from setting curriculum or persuading states and local school districts to adopt certain curricula.

Two months later, the Biden administration's Education Department published in its federal register a new proposal to prioritize federal grants for history to proposals that incorporate diverse perspectives. Specifically, the federal register stated: "Projects That Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning."

The department includes as an example the 1619 Project's connection to the "growing acknowledgment of the importance of including, in the teaching and learning of our country's history, both the consequences of slavery, and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society."

For Biden, whose vice president, Kamala Harris, is the first Black person to assume the role and whose Cabinet and high-ranking White House officials include more people of color than any previous administration, the move was more than just symbolic, especially coming on the heels of mass protests over systemic racism and inequality and a pandemic that exacerbated those realities.

Critical Race Theory Is Banned in These States

  Critical Race Theory Is Banned in These States Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma have all banned the academic theory, which examines the ways race and racism intersect with politics, culture and the law. © Joe Raedle/Getty Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives away a pen after holding a bill signing ceremony at the Florida National Guard Robert A. Ballard Armory on June 7, 2021 in Miami, Florida. DeSantis moved on Thursday to ban critical race theory from being taught in Florida schools. The Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment to its rules on Thursday, after hours of debate and public comment.

What's at Stake, Politically, With Critical Race Theory?

Federal register notices hardly get attention, but congressional Republicans pounced on the item and accused the Biden administration of pushing a divisive and revisionist U.S. history curriculum on schools – though that's not what the federal register notice proposed since the federal government cannot interfere with school curriculum.

In a letter addressed to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and signed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and 36 of his Republican colleagues, McConnell argued the Biden administration's efforts are akin to "spoon-feeding students a slanted story."

"Americans do not need or want their tax dollars diverted from promoting the principles that unite our nation toward promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us," McConnell wrote. "Our nation's youth do not need activist indoctrination that fixates solely on past flaws and splits our nation into divided camps. Taxpayer-supported programs should emphasize the shared civic virtues that bring us together, not push radical agendas that tear us apart."

The ping-ponging debate over the foundation of America and how it should be taught in schools comes at a time of national reckoning over the impact of systemic racism and inequality borne out of the country's history of slavery, as well as at moment of legitimate crisis in civics education.

Recent surveys have shown that barely half of Americans can name the three branches of government and that most would earn an "F" on the U.S. citizenship exam. The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress found that just 15% of eighth-graders are proficient in U.S. history.

Those critical of the push for states and school districts to emphasize a view of U.S. history that examines more deeply the generational impacts of some of the country's ugliest moments argue that it amounts to revisionism and promotes division, negativity and shame in identifying as American. Instead, they say, now is a moment to strengthen the traditional U.S. history curriculum.

Meanwhile, advocates for a reimagined teaching of U.S. history argue that embracing the hard lessons will better equip students to strive for the ideals of democracy on which the country was founded.

When Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Committee last month about the administration's budget request, Republicans grilled him on the proposal in the federal register.

"It's effectively, in my view, jeopardizing civics as a bipartisan priority," said Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican who introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Democrat, to provide $1 billion in federal aid for civics education.

Cardona told Cole and his Republican colleagues that the Education Department will play no role in setting curriculum but that it's important for students to be able to see themselves and their heritage in the history they learn – a mantra he's repeated in weeks since.

"Students should always see themselves in curriculum," he said.

But the secretary's promises proved not convincing enough. In recent weeks, at least 20 attorneys general co-authored a letter to Cardona that said the federal register proposal would impose "deeply flawed and controversial teachings" on schools and teachers, and a growing number of Republican-controlled states are passing laws prohibiting schools from teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project.

Where Does Critical Race Theory Go From Here?

Critical race theory is proving to be more than simply the latest and greatest culture war Republicans are using to bolster their base – see here, also, state laws banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports.

Instead of fizzling after a month in national headlines, the issue continues to motivate and energize conservative voters in ways other hot-button topics have not. And its staying power is likely getting a boost from the simultaneous debate over reopening schools for in-person learning amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which itself has exposed major racial gaps.

In one powerful sign that Republicans will likely propel their opposition of critical race theory into a 2022 campaign issue, it's motivating some conservative parents – again, alongside their support for reopening schools full time – to run for school board seats and drawing a lot of grassroots support.

In fact, a new political action committee, called the "1776 Project," which launched last month, plans to focus on school board races in North Carolina and Florida in hopes of building momentum.

"Help us overturn any teaching of the 1619 Project or critical race theory," its website reads. "Let's bring back Patriotism and Pride in our American History."

Meanwhile, a bill that would provide reparations to descendants of slaves moves through Congress, the president's Cabinet makes a top-to-bottom examination of federal policies and laws that handicap Black people and other racial and enthinic minorities, and Biden himself elevates the Tulsa race massacre to convey its lasting repercussions.

"The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities," Biden said in Monday's proclamation, before asking the country to "commit together to eradicate systemic racism and help to rebuild communities and lives that have been destroyed by it."

Copyright 2021 U.S. News & World Report

Critical Race Theory Is Banned in These States .
Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma have all banned the academic theory, which examines the ways race and racism intersect with politics, culture and the law. © Joe Raedle/Getty Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives away a pen after holding a bill signing ceremony at the Florida National Guard Robert A. Ballard Armory on June 7, 2021 in Miami, Florida. DeSantis moved on Thursday to ban critical race theory from being taught in Florida schools. The Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment to its rules on Thursday, after hours of debate and public comment.

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This is interesting!