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critical race theory

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    A Black Texas principal once targeted for posting on Facebook pictures of himself embracing his wife, a white woman, has now been placed on paid leave indefinitely in the same school district after parents accused him of teaching critical race theory. Colleyville Heritage High School principal James Whitfield was placed on leave for reasons Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Superintendent Robin Ryan refused to get into, citing "a personnel matter," according to The Dallas Morning News.

    As a reminder, mixed race marriages have been legal in every state in the country since 1967 (Loving v Virginia) - and Texas is still a foreign country.

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    Michael Sean Winters, a columnist for the Catholic Reporter, often comes up with some good columns. Today's column is about critical race theory.

    Since the column is lengthy, I'll highlight a few key paragraphs:

    Should critical race theory be taught in school? Politico reported last week that, nationwide, Republican candidates for school board are running on the pledge that they will keep critical race theory out of the schools.

    If you watch Fox News, you would think this was one of the most pressing questions facing the nation, but people like Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson do not argue in good faith. Nor do most of those Republican Party politicians who have attacked critical race theory. But is it even being taught?

    At Fox News, of course, they lump any form of diversity training in with critical race theory and denounce it all. Both pols and pundits have shown throughout the Trump years that they are only too willing to traffic in racist dog whistles — or worse. They suggest it teaches children to "hate America." You half expect Carlson to cite the musical "1776" as an example of what he wants by way of education in American history. However, training children to be prepared to live and work in a diverse society is as essential to their formation as teaching them the three R's.

    There is a method to the conservatives' madness. As Christopher Rufo, of the conservative Manhattan Institute, wrote: "We have successfully frozen their brand — 'critical race theory' — into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions." They are not subtle about their ideological and political ambitions.

    When politicians get involved in debates about school curriculum, all of our alarm bells should go off. In The New York Times, Timothy Snyder, the foremost historian of totalitarianism, warned against efforts to falsify history and turn the classroom into a forum for propaganda, drawing on Soviet (later Russian) efforts to downplay the starvation of millions of Ukrainians from famine during the forced collectivization in 1932-33. He warned that efforts in the U.S. to ban critical race theory are "Kafkaesque."

    Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a Czech-born German-language writer whose surreal fiction vividly expressed the anxiety, alienation, and powerlessness of the individual in the 20th century. Kafka's work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority. Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening.

    The book, "1984" is another example of this.

    To quote a poster I saw recently,

    Those who can, teach

    Those who cannot pass laws about teaching

    As I wrote the other day, right wing extremists (like Charlie Kirk) are trying to turn school boards into conservative political sounding boards.

    If, then, critical race theory calls us to embrace legal ideas such as affirmative action, sign me up. To overcome something with a long and ugly history like racism, it is not enough to wish our society into some colorblind state of equality. You must pay attention to race to overcome the legacy of racism. This is clear.

    If, however, critical race theory is to move beyond the halls of the law school, readers and students deserve better than the intellectually imperialistic ideology on display in "The 1619 Project." Scholars, not journalists, still less politicians and pundits, should be given the task of posing new questions to the historical record, integrating new perspectives and insights, and finding ways to communicate them to rising generations. Unfortunately, the whole episode is now just one more battlefront in the culture wars and our students deserve better.

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    The reason that conservatives are so opposed to that they think is "critical race theory" is that they want a sanitized version of history taught.

    They don't want people to know about the Freedom Riders, the Greensboro lunch counter, the Birmingham church bombing, the lynchings in Alabama and Mississippi, James Meredith in 1962, "black like me", Emmett Till, or voter suppression.

    Arizona tried to include the CRT ban in their state budget this year, but a judge recently ruled it was unconstitutional because the budget bill was supposed to deal with the budget - and not other issues.

    Fortunately, teachers are still able to teach REAL history, with all its warts.

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    California just became the first state to REQUIRE ethnic studies as a prerequisite for high school graduation.

    A few years ago, the principal for one of the local high schools (which is 85% Hispanic) required that ethnic studies needed to be added as an option . His contract was not renewed.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the legislation Friday, ending a years-long debate over drafting a model ethnic studies curriculum that more closely reflects the diverse population in California classrooms. It also comes amid a conservative movement to halt teachings even slightly related to critical race theory, a study of structural and systemic racism’s impact.

    In California, school districts will develop coursework that delves into the contributions and struggles of Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans throughout the nation’s history. Courses must be offered beginning in the 2025-26 school year.

    Supporters of the bill, including lawmakers from the five diversity caucuses — Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, Black, Jewish and Native American — of the California state legislature, argue the bill comes at a critical time. More than 25 Republican-led states have passed or proposed restrictions on how teachers can discuss racism and sexism amid a larger, coordinated effort by right-leaning groups to attack lessons about systemic racism as divisive.

    Critical race theory was the hot topic on Fox News this summer. Not so much anymore.

    Advocates point to research showing the academic benefits of such curriculum, including a study that found ethnic studies courses offered in San Francisco schools increased attendance by 21 percent and raised cumulative grade point averages by 1.4 points.

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    Again: "Only inAmerica". I've never seen such in schools in Europe . First of all schools should teach the "practical" things in life and "jobs" to whatever color your skin has or whatever religion you have. The basic rules of "life" are, is "behavior' and foresee the things you will need to sustain yourself, as well "qualities" you can develop to help in an "society" to make life better and sustainable. Etnic things should not be part of the curriculum, unless you want to sell "weed' or "bibles". Most "goods" here are "worldly" for everyone. If my gardener is "white" or black" it should not matter, as long as the end result is of the same quality. All of this should be "viewed" as "worldwide. Your Chinese made coffeepot makes it hopefully not something "racist"

    I traveled the whole world, but seldom was faced with "racism" as they do here. Understanding "others" and the "why" is lacking here. Accept that there are "crooks" and "mean" people in every race, but also good people in every race. At school when I was a kid we had plenty of Indonesian and Moluk kids as well Marrocan an Surinam kids ; often it where only the "white" kids who started the "fights", mostly because of the same reasons as if it were all white kids.

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    In the November 1 issue of "The Nation" Patricia Williams published a lengthy discussion of critical race theory. When she started teaching in 1980, she was one of 8 women of color teaching law in the United States.

    According to her article, 8 states have passed laws against critical race theory in the last year, and 20 more bills are pending.

    There's a reason for that.

    As of the end of June, the topic has popped up more than 2000 times on FOX. In June, the term was mentioned 993 times during Fox News programming, including overnight rebroadcasts of daytime and prime-time shows. In July, it was mentioned 921 times. That was after being mentioned only 132 times in all of 2020.

    All the laws are very similar, due to the fact that they were written by the Manhattan Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, or the Heritage Foundation, all of which are right wing think tanks.

    One of her closing paragraphs mentioned the irony of the current discussion:

    "10 years ago, absolutist "free speech" bullies like Rush Limbaugh fought endlessly to say whatever they damn well pleased, loudly and on public airwaves. Now some of the very same blowhards are bullying legislatively to prevent words or concepts from being spoken or taught. At either extreme, it's the same dangerous paradox: the manipulation of who can speak with unfettered impunity and who cannot".

    The Manhattan Institute was founded in 1977.

    The American Enterprise Institute was founded in 1938.

    The Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973.

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    One of the groups pushing to ban the teaching of actual history is Freedom Works.

    FreedomWorks is a conservative think tank founded by the Koch brothers in 2004. It was widely associated with the Tea Party movement.

    The day after Thanksgiving, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon wrote in a fundraising email that opposition to critical race theory “could be the key to making MASSIVE political gain in 2022.” He claimed that “the Left” is out to “indoctrinate children with CRT – so our kids will start hating our country and our God-given freedoms as much as the Left does.”

    I can almost hear the Koch brothers saying, "let's go, Brandon!".

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    This morning, Charles Blow called opposition to critical race theory to Sharia law - and he is absolutely correct.

    After the protests of the summer of 2020 (in part, the ones related to George Floyd) the religious right fought back.

    The change was swift. But, predictably, so has been the backlash. The response has particularly taken hold and found a form in the campaign to ban the proper teaching of America’s racial history in schools.

    The Republicans behind those bills can bang on about how they are banning the teaching of critical race theory, but what they are really banning is the teaching of the horrific history of white supremacy and how it spawned the oppression of nonwhite people.

    The truth is that critical race theory is generally not taught in grade school, but that was never the point, in the same way that in the 2010s conservative lawmakers were never really concerned about what they called the threat of Shariah law in the United States when they introduced bills to ban it in American courts; what they wanted was to advance a racist, Islamophobic agenda.

    As a result, at least 10,000 bills almost entirely copied from model legislation were introduced nationwide in the past eight years, and more than 2,100 of those bills were signed into law.”

    Critical race theory is the new Shariah law, a boogeyman the right can use to activate and harness the racist anti-otherness that is endemic to American conservatism.

    Critical race theory isn’t really what’s being targeted right now, it is progress. And for Republican lawmakers, the issue is just the latest acid tablet they can place on the tongues of the members of their base to keep them raging and spastic.

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    Governor Ducey mentioned "critical race theory" in his state of the state address the other night ..

    the only problem is that there is broad disagreement on what it actually is

    On his website, he says that the law ensures that students cannot be taught that one race, ethnic group or sex is in any way superior to another ..

    gee, that sounds reasonable

    however, that really isn't what critical race theory actually is ..

    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.

    The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.

    A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.

    This academic understanding of critical race theory differs from representation in recent popular books and, especially, from its portrayal by critics—often, though not exclusively, conservative Republicans. Critics charge that the theory leads to negative dynamics, such as a focus on group identity over universal, shared traits; divides people into “oppressed” and “oppressor” groups; and urges intolerance.

    Thus, there is a good deal of confusion over what CRT means, as well as its relationship to other terms, like “anti-racism” and “social justice,” with which it is often conflated.

    One conservative organization, the Heritage Foundation, recently attributed a whole host of issues to CRT, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum, the free-speech debate on college campuses

    The bills are so vaguely written that it’s unclear what they will affirmatively cover.

    Could a teacher who wants to talk about a factual instance of state-sponsored racism—like the establishment of Jim Crow, the series of laws that prevented Black Americans from voting or holding office and separated them from white people in public spaces—be considered in violation of these laws?

    (In 2010, Texas passed a law that prohibited talking about Jim Crow laws or the KKK )

    As English teacher Mike Stein told Chalkbeat Tennessee about the new law: “History teachers can not adequately teach about the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. English teachers will have to avoid teaching almost any text by an African American author because many of them mention racism to various extents.”

    The charge that schools are indoctrinating students in a harmful theory or political mindset is a longstanding one, historians note. CRT appears to be the latest salvo in this ongoing debate.