PW special report: North Carolina's coordinated attack by the right on Critical Race Theory

Conservatives warn that there is a plot to indoctrinate schoolchildren. But critics dismiss these claims as political theater.

PW special report: North Carolina's coordinated attack by the right on Critical Race Theory

North Carolina has seen a growing movement to ban Critical Race Theory in American classrooms. However, many educators claim that the concept is not taught at public schools.

Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline, examines the impact of racism on law and policy. CRT was developed in the legal academy as an outgrowth of critical legal studies in the 1980s.

Critics fear that it could be used to teach impressionable young students that America and white people inherently and irredeemably racism. Many of their stories involve young white children returning from school after being exposed to the hard truths of American racism.

Recent attacks on CRT have ignited intense debates among parents, educators, and lawmakers in conservative strongholds throughout the state. Education First Alliance, a project associated with the The Lawfare Project, offers "bootcamps" for parents to help them fight against objectionable education policies and face mask mandates. The group's primary concern is CRT.

Sloan Rachmuth, president of EFA, stated that the government was using 400-year-old history as a tool to stigmatize; to make scapegoats; to shame and collectively punish children and teachers. Policy Watch is not allowed to do this.

Rachmuth regularly attends county-level Republican Party meetings in order to discuss CRT, and to devise strategies to keep the disease out of schools. Policy Watch was recently denied access by Craven County GOP to a virtual session it hosted for residents.

Rachmuth stated that there are serious issues in taking events from 400 years ago and bringing them up to the present. "You see, Critical Race Theory does that, and this is what they teach. You're going to connect every child in that room to exactly what happened 400years ago. Not from a historical or enlightened perspective, but from the perspective of this happened then, it's still happening, it's always going.

"Don't succumb to the hysteria."

James Ford, a member of the State Board of Education, stated that such critics need to be careful to distinguish between what is taught and how it's interpreted.

Ford stated that it was unreasonable to assume that we could cover a shameful topic such as systemic racism in America, and then children, especially white children, will walk away feeling no shame. Ford stated, "That's unreasonable." This does not mean that students are being taught how to feel shameful or guilty.

Ford is the leader of the Center for Racial Equity in Education. This center focuses on closing racialized opportunities gaps in North Carolina. His research often focuses on race and education outcomes.

Ford stated, "I would challenge anyone to show me summarily wherever teachers who engage in antiracism practices and teach in a culturally sensitive way are teaching children hate about themselves,"

It is not new to discuss the long-standing and well-documented history in America of racist laws and practices and their impact on modern white Americans.

Famous author and activist James Baldwin spoke out in a 1979 interview with ABC Television's magazine 20/20. This interview was recently discovered by Esquire magazine. He discussed the refusal of many whites and their inability to acknowledge the nation's racist past.

Updated Date: 24 June 2021, 19:11

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