Dallas Thinkers Evaluate Critical Race Theory

Let me jump in to the inflammatory debate over Critical Race Theory, also known as CRT.

Yes I know. I risk losing a lot of friends. But there.

CRT is not easy to explain or understand. Confusion is a big part of the problem. The pros and cons of the debate have drawn a line in the sand and are wearing earplugs to drown.

So what is CRT? A basic definition could be that the theory critically examines existing laws and government and corporate policies to see how these subjective concepts exclude and / or negatively impact people based primarily on their race – and more. recently also their gender, economic status and sexual orientation.

More and more parents and leaders are resisting including such explorations in curricula, preferring to stick to the traditional textbooks that CRT proponents say are more of a myth than reality and presented from a point of view. Anglo and privileged.

Opponents say teaching CRT in schools could make Anglo-Saxon students believe they are being blamed for what some might call the sins of their fathers, ancestors – many of whom presumably possessed enslaved Africans and descendants Africans, from the 17th and 18th centuries. . Seeking to bring the temperature down, some analysts are attempting clarifications, including these:

Harvard law scholar Derrick Bell, one of the main creators of the theory, intended to offer it only in college law courses – those that would examine deliberate or unintentional racial overtones in the laws of Canada. countries, like the Dred Scott case, bank uploading and voter suppression. following Reconstruction.

Contrary to many beliefs, CRT is not taught in elementary or secondary schools.

The argument that institutional racism was wiped out with the civil rights laws of the 1960s does not negate the charge that the residue of that racism still hinders disadvantaged communities where many people of color live.

The CRT exploration is warranted given that over the past decade, African Americans made up about 30 percent of the nation’s population, but about 60 percent of the prison population.

The CRT clearly indicates that the noble formulation of the founding documents of the nation (“… all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights”) does not apply in real time, given inequalities that include segregation laws, the lynching era, and tragedies such as the Black Wall Street massacre in 1921.

Some local African-American thinkers in Dallas are also voicing thoughts on CRT.

Robert Edison is a veteran Dallas educator and authority on African American history and culture. He said his profession of teaching students the American experience required him to “speak the truth, the whole truth.” But history books often make this difficult because all are written by humans with their own perspectives on past events.

Edison cited the provocative, widely read and sometimes denounced book by professor and author James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Was Wrong. Loewen has criticized a dozen history textbooks and debunked much of their narratives as embellished, distorted, deceptive, and hero-obsessed. The Liberals and Conservatives take sides for and against the book.

“If there is no truth in the story, then there is no real story,” Edison said. “All you do is teach myths. “

Vincent Hall, Dallas County and business manager and advocate for the black community, suggests that the CRT largely seeks to help underserved racial groups gain more power and equity through government and justice systems. long-standing company and their exclusionary policies, while the largely Anglo-Saxon groups in power seek to keep the upper hand.

Many fierce clashes resulted from people and groups with too little knowledge of the origin of CRT in the mid-1970s and its growth spurt from 1989, Hall said. Ill-informed opponents are deluding themselves, he said, proving they know little or nothing about the motives of academic Derrick Bell, one of the main founders of the CRT.

“If you can’t get to the root, you can’t get to the tree at all,” Hall concludes.

Educator, minister and historian Dr. LaTrese Adkins agreed that the news media routinely disseminate CRT-related updates to a general public who still have little understanding of the issue.

The CRT was formulated for and by academics who have their own lexicon and culture, said Adkins, a black Republican. She said that humanities academics like herself examine social theories by exchanging exploratory theses among themselves, without being bound by the restrictions faced by scientists, who must base their studies on quantitative data. The CRT burst into the public arena before academics decided where and how to use it, she said.

“All of a sudden it became mainstream… was handed over to the education system and municipalities,” Adkins said. “And that wasn’t why it was then. It was an inappropriate appropriation of something that was never meant to do what they’re trying to get him to do.

Educator Edison said more twisted opinions about CRT claim that English-speaking students will be made uncomfortable or forced to feel guilty about their ancestors, especially those in the South, where slavery flourished. . He said he remembered clearly that no one seemed to care about his feelings as a young student when literature considered racist was discussed in his classes, including the controversial children’s book from 1899. Small Black Sambo. The 1940s cover illustration for the book depicts a black child with stereotypical features of labia majora, male eyes, and layered hair.

Perhaps the solution to all of this is the one poet, author, filmmaker and educator MK Asante Jr. conceived in his 2008 poem “Two Series of Notes” in Chapter 10 of his book. It’s bigger than hip hop. At the age of 26, Asante said the poem is aimed at black students who suspect that teachers – both Anglo and black – are forcibly feeding myths about history from textbooks with distorted and biased perspectives. Rather than discussing with the instructors, the young poet offers his solution in this excerpt from the poem:

They call me a militant, and a black national radical,

try to put my learning process on sabbatical

They even try to make me see-

Their point of view of a brother who looks like me,

I always take two sets of notes,

a set to pass the test


a set that I call the truth …

their story is built on high-rise lies

the pyramids were finished

before Greece or Rome were conceptualized,

Black children

… don’t let them fool you with selective memory

… Always take two sets of notes.

About Leslie Schwartz

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