The following is in response to the letter to the editor by Jan Deters in the July 14, 2021 edition of The Caledonia Argus.
As a retired teacher in Caledonia, I’ve been curious about Critical Race Theory (CRT), the academic movement that examines how oppression has been embedded in and impacted/impacts government policy, social construct including the courts, fair housing, employment, etc. in the United States throughout the course of history as well as today. In no way am I an authority; I’ve just been drawn to learning about CRT.
The more I familiarize myself with CRT, examine and dissect the ideology, as well as the opposition to the ideology, I am keenly aware of the complexity, myths, misconceptions, and ever evolving CRT. And while not all CRT theorists share the same beliefs, racism and disparate racial outcomes can be the result of subtle social and institutional dynamics, rather than intentional or overt prejudices from an individual or group.
With all due respect to Ms Deters, I bristled at a couple of points she made in her letter. She stated: “However, if the premise is simply whites are racist, how have so many minorities excelled?”
Nowhere in the CRT ideology have I read the message or premise of ‘whites are racist.’ I have seen those very words in CRT opposition literature, however.
Ms Deters states: “Undoubtedly the history of American inter-racial behavior has many incidents that were disrespectful, criminal and counterproductive. But we fought a war over slavery and there have been countless state and federal laws codified to improve conditions.”
Ms Deters’s words ‘‘many incidents that were disrespectful, criminal and counterproductive’ minimizes the scope and depth of racial atrocities in US history. For example, you cannot gloss over or sum up the systematic and targeted genocide of Native Americans, beginning in 1492, with the words ‘many incidents.’ Also, ‘but we fought a war over slavery…”. Neither war nor legislation put an end to oppression, racism, prejudice.
My understanding of CRT in the educational setting is to be an examination not only of the history of racial injustice in America, but also marginalized people, LGBTQ, human rights, civil rights. CRT is not an advocation to discriminate against some races in order to achieve equality for others.
CRT concepts could help students identify and critique the causes of inequality throughout history and in our communities, and work toward problem solving to improving opportunities for all by recognizing diversity to build a more inclusive, equitable society today.
I trust that our schools here in Houston County will resolve not to indoctrinate students in a harmful theory or political mindset, but to teach historical events with authenticity and relevance including both the positive and negative outcomes that extends to all social and legal constructs.