A parent-led push against Critical Race Theory (CRT) is storming school boards across the country and demanding accountability for what is being taught to American children. At least 165 local and national groups have formed to combat CRT instruction in schools across the U.S. an NBC analysis found. Many of these groups were founded by parents appalled to discover what was being taught to their children. Their advocacy has launched CRT debates onto the national stage, spurring far-left activists and establishment media outlets to accuse conservatives of ignorance and racism. “Parents are right to revolt against critical race theory in the classroom,” senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and anti-CRT writer Christopher Rufo said. “Children are not inherently ‘oppressors’ and should not be implicated for historical crimes on the basis of their race.”
What Is Critical Race Theory? CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies. Proponents of CRT defend the theory by saying that it offers needed critiques of “how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of colour to the bottom tiers.” In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, elements of CRT have begun to appear in schools across the nation, identifiable through buzzwords such as “systemic racism,” “racial equity,” “anti-racism,” or “implicit bias.”
“School systems are teaching material that affirms CRT’s main ideas,” Jonathan Butcher, a Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation said, referring to Washington, D.C. school equity materials. Butcher also highlighted school districts “asking teachers to adjust homework assignments according to a child’s skin colour,” teaching “that Americans who are white have unfair privileges and the ‘legacy of white supremacy endures,’” and separating students “into affinity groups by race for school activities.” “As state lawmakers consider the issue, policymakers should say that no public institution can compel any teacher or student to affirm or profess belief in any idea that violates the Civil Rights Act, including the idea that individuals should receive certain benefits or sanctions based on the colour of their skin,” Butcher said.
Parents have been appalled to see elements of CRT taught to their children, but the content can be difficult to define. Like progressive gender ideology taught to students in sex education, elements of CRT are not only present in equity programs but have also seeped into other elements of public school programs. Parents who report CRT often aren’t able to put a name to the practices they are seeing implemented. They simply come with stories of students being separated by race during the school day or young students being forced to label their social identities. “Children are suddenly needing to lay out their race, gender, sexual orientation, nation of origin, religion and whether or not they identify as the sex they were born with,” Butcher said, “and then they learn that all of these identities either fall into a category of oppressor or oppressed.”
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