Thursday, October 6, 2022

HISTORIC BLACK VEGAS | Understanding Critical Race Theory

August 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Highlights

Claytee D. White

Understanding Critical Race Theory

BY CLAYTEE D. WHITE

What is it? What is all the fuss about? Where did it come from? I can’t always understand what Kimberle Crenshaw and other originators and explainers of this theory are talking about and I think that along the way, Critical Race Theory has gotten overly complicated.

It began like this: At a 1989 workshop, Crenshaw and a few colleagues were engaged in a discussion about race and law. It was a brainstorming session. This was not a discussion about practices but about the theory behind race and law. It was a critical-thinking session. They were trying to figure out how to think about, how to see, how to understand, how to grapple with: “how the law has created and sustained race and thus racism” in the United States of America.

So how did this conversation begin to instill fear? Because this theory is a way of “talking back against systems of oppression, talking back against the power that has lined up throughout history to tell us that some of us are not worthy of being full citizens.”

So what is the answer to where we are as we try to understand Critical Race Theory today? Why the fear of Critical Race Theory? When we talk back against power, we have to be armed with knowledge. Historical knowledge makes us defiant and disrespectful in the eyes of those without the knowledge of American history. Understanding the nuances and facts of all of American history makes it seem as if we don’t know our place.

We step out of the space of inferiority as we proclaim the truth of our being. We speak truth to power — and that is dangerous. To have the roots of this historical knowledge taught and no longer hidden is alarming. It instills a sense of uncertainty because the truth of our history is filled with tragedy, pain, trauma, and behaviors that are unbelievable.

According to the research of Isabel Wilkerson in her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” even Hitler found some of the torturous practices used against Black Americans too repugnant to use. And now, you want to teach that history in classrooms. You are espousing the teaching of this truth to all children. White children will learn the stories of their forefathers. Awwww, so there’s the rub.

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