Teach-ins at university campuses, community book drives, read-alouds of banned books on social media, and rallies in front of the College Board headquarters in both New York and Washington, D.C. These were among the activities taking place across the country on Wednesday as part of the Freedom to Learn national day of action spearheaded by the African American Policy Forum, which has been critical of state laws restricting how teachers can discuss race in the classroom. The forum is led by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and civil rights scholar at Columbia University Law School.
Critical Race Theory
As the new semester began, teachers throughout Florida were faced with new state laws strictly limiting curricula—prompting schools to remove droves of books from their classrooms and libraries for fear of being in violation of the draconian but opaque new laws. An already-chilling reality gripping the third most populous state is getting even chillier in the wake of controversial legislation such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the Stop Woke Act, which both went into effect in July 2022. The DeSantis administration rolled out several initiatives in January 2023 aimed at eliminating broad swathes of the existing curriculum, including banning the teaching of Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies for high school students throughout Florida.
There's a recent painting that sums up what's happening to public education in Virginia: A white man, white paint roller in hand, is covering up Black historical figures—Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X—their bodies whitewashed, faces stoic. The piece by Detroit artist Jonathan Harris, titled "Critical Race Theory," stuck with Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a professor at Norfolk State University, a Historically Black University, since she first saw it online. Newby-Alexander is the former co-chair of the African American History Education Commission (AAHEC), a group of educators and historians brought together by former Governor Ralph Northam in August 2019 to recommend changes to add more Black history to Virginia's K-12 curricula. The state Board of Education implemented their recommendations in the fall of 2021.
As of the middle of August, more than two dozen states have introduced — and 11 states have enacted — bills or rules to restrict the teaching of history and contemporary social realities. Right-wing activists have mounted similar attacks at school board meetings throughout the country. This stunning barrage of legislation and policies aims to ban teaching critical race theory (CRT), and supposedly “divisive topics” in the curriculum. But the real target is the truth. The anti-CRT campaign echoes the Big Lie that Trump won the election. It is the curricular counterpart to the wave of voter suppression laws promoted by the same far-right political forces that have tried to rewrite the history of the 2020 election and cover up the attempted coup on Jan. 6.
Date on which the Florida Senate Education Committee gave initial approval along party lines to a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. and championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel "discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress" when teaching about racism: 1/18/2022 Number of days later that a Florida school district canceled a college professor's seminar for teachers on the history of the civil rights movement, citing in part concerns over critical race theory: 1 Month in which DeSantis held a campaign-style event in which he called critical race theory — a decades-old academic movement examining the intersection of race and law — "crap" and said he'd press for legislation banning it from being taught in his state's schools: 12/2021
Glenn Youngkin, the new governor of Virginia, announced during his first day in office this month that he is banning discussion of critical race theory in his state. Many expect him to forbid discussion of the impact of viruses in causing the coronavirus next. Rather than running away from it, the Democratic Party leadership must embrace critical race theory as the basis for educating our young people – and many of their parents – to overcome the divisions that are tearing this country apart and paving the way for a right-wing takeover. America’s culture warriors subscribe to the idea that ignorance is bliss, that is until Covid kills you or a member of your family. Their efforts to suppress history plays a similar role, enforcing ignorance, maintaining the status quo, and suppressing efforts to create a just society.
Perpetual fear of something is characteristic of the white American psyche. Especially when the fear is about non-white people. Among the newest race related fears haunting white people are ‘Critical Race Theory’ (CRT) and ‘Wokeness.’ Both of these terms are being used as harmful code language employed by both Democrats, and Republicans and promoted by their propaganda arm — the white-owned corporate media. What makes these terms harmful is that they are being used to counter Black people’s long-standing demands for justice. A recent report published by the Manhattan Institute, titled, ‘Woke Schooling: A Toolkit For Concerned Parents,’ is an example of how the terms have been turned into a boogeyman for white people.
Colleyville - Over 100 students walked out of their Friday morning classes at Colleyville Heritage High School to show their support of James Whitfield, the high school’s first Black principal who was placed on paid administrative leave last month. They want answers from school administrators as to why Whitfield is on leave. Students carried signs and wrote “We stand with Dr. Whitfield” in chalk on the sidewalks at the high school. They also marched around the school chanting, “Dr. Whitfield’s here to stay.” Sunehra Chowdhury, a senior at Colleyville Heritage who helped organize the walkout, said she and other students are not backing down or giving up on supporting Whitfield. She said the school board has contributed to the criticism and hostility toward Whitfield and his family.
Recent debates about Critical Race Theory (CRT) have been abysmally uninformed at best and utterly inaccurate at worst. From corporate media and right-wing rags to independent left media, almost everyone has misrepresented or misunderstood the origins, histories, and theories of what is today known as CRT. This three-part series corrects these misunderstandings. Part 1 provides an overview of the work of Derrick Bell, the “father of critical theory.” Part 2 provides a detailed intellectual history of CRT. Part 3 presents a critique of intersectionality as an idealist, liberal iteration of CRT. **The debates about Critical Race Theory (CRT) have raged in Amerika for over a year now.
The American right’s latest culture war offensive is an all-out assault on “critical race theory” (CRT). Like other right-wing campaigns, the attack on CRT is taking place on two fronts—one battle to define the term negatively in popular discourse, and another to enact laws and executive orders that severely restrict how racism is addressed in public schools and post-secondary public institutions. The two fronts work in tandem, feeding off each other; consequently, they must be addressed together.
School boards, superintendents, even principals and teachers are already facing questions about critical race theory, and there are significant disagreements even among experts about its precise definition as well as how its tenets should inform K-12 policy and practice. This explainer is meant only as a starting point to help educators grasp core aspects of the current debate.
Critical Race Theory (CRT), once a little-known academic concept, is now at the center of the national political discussion. CRT is discussed incessantly on Fox News. It is featured in campaign advertisements. And legislation banning it is advancing in statehouses around the country. This didn't happen on its own. Rather, there is a constellation of non-profit groups and media outlets that are systematically injecting CRT into our politics. In 2020, most people had never heard of CRT. In 2021, a chorus of voices on the right insists it is an existential threat to the country. A Popular Information investigation reveals that many of the entities behind the CRT panic share a common funding source: The Thomas W. Smith Foundation.
When North Carolina public school teacher Justin Parmenter penned an opinion piece for the Charlotte Observer about the difficulties of teaching in hybrid mode during the pandemic, with students both in-person in the classroom and remote online, he didn’t expect to get called out by a legislator on the floor of the state House of Representatives.