We all know that racial issues have become political as of late. Both political parties view the Black Lives Matter movement as a partisan issue. Similarly, the critical race theory has been present in the news, especially with the threatening decisions of Gov. DeSantis of Florida and other representatives. This includes The 1619 Project, created by The New York Times to shed light on slavery in the United States. Former President Trump tried to denigrate this project using the Board of Education. It is important to note this is the same individual who idolized confederate figures. But before diving into the recent arguments, what is this theory about?
What is the critical race theory?
Scholars constructed the critical race theory to educate the public on the history of racism and the prevalence of white supremacy today. However, this is not a new concept. The Washington Post discloses that it developed the theory in the “1970s and 1980s.” They were trying to make up for the minimal racial equality advancement during the 1960s civil rights movement. The theory aims to educate that “racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society,” The Washington Post explains. In other words, the purpose was to correct the ignorance that still exists.
For self-centered representatives, ignorance is bliss. And it should be kept that way.
Those opposed to this theory believe that all white individuals are seen as racist. Their version suggests that the theory makes white citizens feel responsible for their ancestor’s decisions. They do not want to be blamed for actions they didn’t commit. However, that is not what the critical race theory is teaching. They are not being blamed for the past.
The goal is to reveal the horrifying truth of black history since the founding of the United States. We cannot idolize the founding fathers without also acknowledging their faults. George Washington owned 317 slaves and Thomas Jefferson owned 600. Gov. DeSantis exclaimed his opinion of the theory as follows: “The woke class wants to teach kids to hate each other, rather than teaching them how to read.” Both of these statements are false. You can have one without the other. They are exposing the hate of the past to promote reconciliation in the future.
My high school history class took just one week to discuss the civil rights movement while taking two months for World War II. Crucial subjects like redlining, or the struggles of being Black in America did not come up in discussion. It is of no surprise that American citizens are trying to cover their ears when racial tensions arise. Many people in the south during the Black Lives Matter movement believed that ‘all lives mattered,’ so the movement at hand was problematic and false. This statement is, in essence, denying the sins of the past. I hope to never get accustomed to the direct blatancy of these opinions.
Growing up with a whitewashed lens has detrimental effects on students’ outlooks. Their perspective becomes so narrow that anything outside of their experience is hostile and foreign. Yes, we should be ashamed of our past hate. Stories of Emmett Till and the Tulsa Race Riot are dark periods of time for our country. However, we have to remind ourselves of what humanity is capable of. Good or bad, it is still a part of our history.
Necessity for change
Thankfully, I am receiving an accurate education on racism through my college classes. However, it is not available for everyone. That is something I do not take for granted. Reputable news sources have helped supplement my miseducation. I will never know what it is like to be a person of color. But I can learn from past mistakes if I am not too ashamed to listen. As Winston Churchill stated, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
Reflection on our shortcomings is not possible if our representatives continue to bury the truth. Rejection of the theory is an extension of innate racism. I can only hope that many states eventually adopt the critical race theory. For the students in the states where it is banned, I hope that you find the courage to stand up to authority figures and find your own truth.
Nothing good can come from denial.