Critical Race Theory is Critical


Katie Tanner, Contributor

Critical race theory (CRT) is defined as “an academic movement of civil rights scholars and activists in the United States who seek to critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream liberal approaches to racial justice.” Simply put, it teaches about racial issues. CRT came to the forefront of headlines last summer during weeks of protests by the Black Lives Matter movement, most of which centered on issues of police brutality. 

The subject has remained under the media spotlight due to recent attempts by GOP lawmakers to block CRT from schools. The push to outright ban the teaching of CRT began when former president Trump chose to ban federal institutions from conducting racial sensitivity training based on it. 

Our northern neighbor, Tennessee, has just joined a growing list of GOP states banning educators from teaching CRT in classrooms. Republican Governor Bill Lee told reporters on Monday, after signing the bill into legislation, that “we need to make sure that our kids recognize that this country is moving toward a more perfect union, that we should teach the exceptionalism of our nation and how people can live together and work together to make a greater nation, and to not teach things that inherently divide or pit either Americans against Americans or people groups against people groups,” according to ABC News. This specific bill states that teachers cannot teach that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.” If a school is found to be violating this legislation, which goes into effect on July 1st, the penalty is withheld funding.

The problem with this is that individuals, based on race or sex, are more privileged than others. Teaching about privilege does not cause racial tension or pit people against each other. This isn’t the Hunger Games or a MOBA where you get privilege points if you kill another player. This is just life, and life involves inherent biases and systemic oppression that disproportionately affect certain groups. No, teachers should not be telling white students that they are automatically racist because they are white, but teaching those students about their privilege isn’t inherently wrong. Teaching students that they have privilege, and that they can use that privilege to advocate for others, shouldn’t be a crime– it should be a requirement.