Critical Race Theory: Simple Questions, Difficult Answers
Only a couple years ago, critical race theory was a relatively small field in academic study. Although the issue was fiercely debated within the academic field, it was not widely discussed by the public. That has changed, however, during the heightened awareness of racial identity and equality in the last few years; critical race theory and many of its principles have become increasingly prevalent in American society.
Though critical race theory is often thought of as equivalent to “anti-racism” or “social justice,” the theory differs in how it pertains to these issues. Critical race theory refers to the belief that racism and prejudice are social constructs, and that although they are often exacerbated by individuals, the main reason that these constructs still exist is because they are ingrained into institutions and laws of our society. Instead of correcting individual racism, critical race theory strives to address and correct for systemic racism embedded in our nation.
Critical race theory highly correlates to the education system and has sparked various debates regarding policies such as affirmative action and state funding of universities. Many historical university and state policies have discriminated against certain racial groups who have applied to universities, which is why school boards are now trying to rectify different policies, one example of which includes affirmative action. Affirmative action refers to the policy of trying to include individuals from these groups in education and employment who are often underrepresented in those areas. Various universities have employed affirmative action, taking identifiers such as race into account in their admissions process.
Critical race theory faces opposition from many, not only on the topic of how to address institutional racism but also even if institutional racism exists. Some critics assert that critical race theory is intended to make the United States as a whole seem inherently evil, as critical race theorists believe that the nation’s systems, institutions, and legislations themselves are at the heart of the long-standing history of racial inequality. Because of this, opponents believe that critical race theory rejects the founding principles of America. This even led to former President Trump issuing an executive order preventing any training that would suggest the United States has been inherently racist since its origins.
Critical race theory has sparked a contentious debate as to what the best ways are to address systemic racism, as well as the reality of how this racism even formed and has been maintained. The theory covers a multitude of different topics, and there is no clear or obvious answer as to what should be done. I believe that critical race theory should be taken seriously and that it is imperative to eliminate racism where it is embedded in society, as otherwise, racism can never truly be countered.
Edited by the Spokesman editorial staff