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Republicans’ Opposition to Critical Race Theory - U.S.

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July 12, 2021

Why in news?

Many state legislatures in the U.S. controlled by the Republican party are passing laws against the ‘critical race theory.’

What is the critical race theory?

  • Critical race theory (CRT) is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.
  • It is an approach to grappling with a history of White supremacy.
  • It began as a left-wing academic discussion in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • These scholars were studying the lack of racial progress following the passing of landmark civil rights laws in the decade preceding.
  • The CRT acknowledges that systemic racism is still part of the country’s society.
  • Key ideas - Race is culturally invented, not biological.
  • Racism maintains the dominance of affluent White people.
  • So, many are not interested in doing away with it.
  • And so, racism is an everyday experience for most people of colour in the US.
  • Laws and institutions have, for years, promoted racial inequality.
  • The CRT thus attends to law’s role in establishing the rights and privileges.

Why do the Republicans oppose CRT?

  • The CRT kept expanding slowly in academic journals and books over the decades.
  • But it became suddenly exposed to a large audience after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police.
  • [Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020 during a raid on her apartment.]
  • These events sparked nationwide protests and discussions on racism.
  • The following debates around CRT angered many conservatives, who saw it as an attempt to rewrite American history.
  • Trump too lashed out against the educational curriculum teaching the impact of slavery in the US as “revisionist history” and “a crusade against American history”.

What are the recent moves?

  • Eight Republican-ruled states have passed laws or brought administrative actions to limit how CRT or related concepts can be taught in the classroom.
  • As many as 25 states have considered laws or steps to restrict how race and racism can be taught.
  • Republican senators introduced a resolution that condemns the practice of requiring teachers to receive Critical Race Theory education.

What are the concerns?

  • There is little to no evidence that CRT is being taught in America’s kindergarten to 12th grade public school system.
  • But many schools do teach ideas central to CRT, such as the impact of slavery on the country.
  • So, the laws passed against CRT would end up curtailing all discussions on racism in schools.
  • It could lead to a whitewashing of American history.
  • It is much a continuation of the decades-long opposition to gains from the civil rights movement.
  • The coordinated action now by the conservatives could undermine the national conversation on race that had gained momentum in the recent years.


Source: The Indian Express

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