OPINION: How Can You Mend Your History If You Don’t Allow Us To Learn It?
April 14, 2023
Your history, our history, is built by the actions of the people.
The reason we are the UNITED States of America is because a man put a quill to paper to strike back against the British Empire. The reason all children, regardless of their race, are able to learn together in classrooms around the country is because Civil Rights activists fought for racial equality. The reason I can sit and learn in school today is because women took a stand and demanded gender equality. The reason I can write to you now and share my voice is because my education allows me to express myself in ways that were previously unimaginable.
So many students cannot read about the history of their country because those in power keep it from them. I’m talking about the attack on Critical Race Theory.
There are many ways that Critical Race Theory can be defined. Many believe it is a concept that forces people to look into a racist past they may not wish to see.
Critical Race Theory explains how racism exists not only in actions perpetrated by an individual but within an entire system–it exists in the laws that have been passed and it explains Black Americans’ “higher mortality rate, exposure to police brutality, denial of affordable housing, and death rates of Black women in childbirth.” Professor Prudence Carter of U.C. Berkley explains that Critical Race Theory was developed in the 1980’s by a group of legal scholars to, “help us understand how it is that structural and racial disparities endure in our society and how it is engendered in some of our laws and policies.”
In this sense, Critical Race Theory broadens our understanding of racism.
According to EdWeek, “since January 2021, 44 states have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching Critical Race Theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism.” Even further, “eighteen states have imposed bans and restrictions either through legislation or other avenues.”
Professor Carter brings up an excellent point that our country fears this idea of consciousness of the past. Much of this fear is also stirred up by news anchors and, more often than not, right-wing politicians who believe the practice points blame to all white people of America for a past they could not control. This fear is not keeping the country safe; it is breaking it apart. By incorporating Critical Race Theory into curriculums, we teach our students the truth about our legal and social systems and how discrimination and a history of racism has contributed to these systems.
By incorporating Critical Race Theory into our curriculums, we take a step forward in understanding how laws regarding slavery and segregation in America have had long-lasting consequences that can be felt today.
Winston Churchill once said, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” How can we possibly step forward to improve race relations and learn from the failures of this country if our nation’s leaders are too ashamed or frightened to present them?
***This opinion article reflects the voice of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Viking Times as a whole. Like most news outlets, The Viking Times is a non-partisan media platform.***