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Critical Race Theory in a divided America

By Stephen Lloyd

WASHINGTON D.C. ( – Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been around since the 1970s and has recently entered the political spotlight in 2020 with the former president, Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13950 titled, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping”. Which has since been revoked by the current president, Joe Biden, as part of a new Executive Order titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government”. Creating the debate over Critical Race Theory, what it is, and whether it should be taught in our schools.

According to the definition, “Critical race theory is an intellectual movement and a framework of legal analysis according to which (1) race is a culturally invented category used to oppress people of colour and (2) the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, political, and economic inequalities between white and nonwhite people.”

Since President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, many states have passed legislation that bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory, such states include Tennessee, Florida, Montana, Idaho, and Oklahoma, with more planning to follow suit. Resulting in protests for and against Critical Race Theory being taught in schools.  

Map of states with anti-CRT legislation

In an interview with Dr. Gail Dawson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Gary W. Rollins College of Business, Dawson said, “When I looked at the Tennessee ban on critical race theory it says that teachers cannot instruct that an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously. I don’t think people are teaching that… I looked at some comments that the governor of Florida said, and he said that critical race theory teaches kids to hate their country and to hate each other and again I don’t think that that’s what’s really being said under critical race theory.”

Anti-CRT protestors

However, other educators have a different opinion when it comes to Critical Race Theory. Such as a US and World history teacher from West Tennessee, who has asked not to be identified out of concern for public backlash, but wants their opinion known. “As an American history and World History teacher, I strive to teach my students history from an objective standpoint that allows them to come to their own conclusions about social issues, history, and any other topic.”

He said, “In my opinion, CRT is teaching a group of students to feel ashamed of who they are. Regardless of race, socio-economic status, etc., no one should be shamed based on the past. CRT reminds me of Nazi Germany (Hitler Youth/reeducation) as a way of singling out a particular group of individuals.”

With an already divided America, it is unclear what the outcome of the Critical Race Theory debate will be, and as of now, it is increasing the divide among American’s. As Abraham Lincoln once quoted, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”


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