Don’t be swayed by misinformation about critical race theory
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)
Critical race theory is one of today’s hot political topics. As we strive to maintain the values of the Good Life in Nebraska, we must have some basic understanding of CRT and racism so that we are not swayed by misinformation for political gain. Below are three statements that should help with understanding CRT.
• Critical race theory 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.
• An example: The CRT conceptual framework is one way to study how and why U.S. courts give more lenient punishments to drug dealers from some races than to drug dealers of other races.
• Because racism is embedded within our systems and institutions, codified in law, and woven into American public policy, this racial inequality is replicated and maintained over time. Thus, systemic racism shows up in nearly every facet of life for people of color.
Good Life values have no room for racism in any form. Nebraskans should be showing respect and equity for all races. And to fully get to that level, we have to understand our past and what got us here, not through the teaching of CRT necessarily, but rather through accurate and complete history lessons.
Some Republican political candidates are stating that they want to ban the teaching of CRT. First, CRT is only taught at post-secondary levels and likely only at a law school. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has addressed this issue and voted against a proposed ban. Second, no political party or candidate is pushing for CRT to be taught at any level of education.
The Good Life must embrace the relevancy of CRT and similar education, not ban it. CRT does not promote racism; it helps explain it so we can stop racism.
A May 5 article published by Ed Post, “EXPLAINED: The Truth About Critical Race Theory and How It Shows Up in Your Child’s Classroom,” identifies what is happening in our classrooms today:
- The predominant curriculum centers around the white narrative and tends to exclude the histories and lived experiences of people of color.
- Instruction often takes a deficits-based approach, characterizing students of color as being in need of remediation rather than appreciating their talents and giftedness.
- School discipline policies disproportionately impact students of color, often compromising their educational outcomes.
- School funding inequities persist; predominantly white districts receive $23 billion more in funding than districts serving students of color (national statistic).
The article continues with some suggested new practices:
- Changing the way history is taught to acknowledge the oppression of millions of people based on race in our country.
- Exposing educators to training and professional development that highlight areas of implicit bias and help them develop skills for overcoming it.
- Developing new ways to deal with discipline so that Black and brown students are no longer disproportionately targeted.
- Rethinking how students are identified for advanced courses, accelerated programs or elite colleges.
To understand your own personal racism, I encourage you to read “White Fragility.” Here is Amazon’s introduction to the book.
“Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has — unintentionally — caused racial offence or hurt. But these reactions only serve to silence people of color, who cannot give honest feedback to “liberal” white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.
“Robin DiAngelo coined the term “White Fragility” in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views and condemn the obvious racists on social media – change starts with us all at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own racial supremacy.”
We just encourage you to get all the facts before you believe the political propaganda being spewed about CRT. Embrace the Good Life, make an effort to truly understand racism and white supremacy, because with this knowledge, we can make the Good Life truly better.
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