Students Should Learn Critical Race Theory

Jerry Ritter’s letter in your July 1 issue, “CRT Is Not About Equity,” demonstrates that ignorance is no basis for policy. EW’s earlier Slant item on Critical Race Theory didn’t explain why legal scholars wanted to develop a theory “interrogating the role of race and racism in society” (again quoting the American Bar Association). Legal scholars had wondered: Why do Black people continue to suffer extraordinary disadvantages after the 1960s passage of laws intended to bring them equal American citizenship?

CRT is an outgrowth of Critical Legal Studies, which views law as designed to maintain the status quo of society’s power structures, while keeping the disadvantaged marginalized. CRT deploys a racial focus. Taking two glaring recent examples, why did a policeman murder Philando Castile, who was telling the officer that he was a licensed gun owner? Why did a policeman murder 12-year-old Tamir Rice playing with a toy pistol in a park? Or consider George Floyd. If they were white, wouldn’t they be alive?

Ritter cites a Black writer vehemently attacking CRT, ignoring that Black conservatives can exhibit racial biases, like Justice Clarence Thomas, whose first Supreme Court opinion (Hudson v. McMillian) asserted that beating a shackled Black prison inmate, loosening his teeth, cracking his dental plate etc. was OK.

Black folks’ disadvantages are obvious to anyone acquainted with the actual history, not a blinkered mythology (let alone a white supremacist ideology), of race relations in the U.S.

Students learning this actual history augurs “a more perfect union.”

Larry Koenigsberg


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