What is critical race theory (CRT)? You’ve heard the expression, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature”? CRT operates on the basis that racism is alive and well in the United States, and that it’s not exclusively an interpersonal phenomenon, but something that’s baked into this country at a fundamental level, existing in financial, judicial, and educational systems, among others. Originating in the 1970s, CRT had mostly thrived in academic circles. The emergence of Black Lives Matter and other racial justice movements has led to proliferation of CRT-informed diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that are now commonplace in corporate, academic, and yes, school environments.
What’s happening in the Lege? Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) introduced HB 3979 in the Texas House, and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) introduced SB 2202 in the Texas Senate. These bills basically state objections to critical race theory in curricula on the grounds that it would indoctrinate Texas schoolchildren with beliefs that one race or gender is superior to others. The bills also require that Texas teachers must bothsides any issues if they elect to cover current events in their classrooms. The bills have met nearly unanimous opposition from historians and education organizations.
HB 3979 has passed out of the Legislature and was sent to the Governor on June 1, 2021. It is nigh unto impossible not to speculate that the Texas Legislature, having successfully proscribed critical race theory in the public schools, will next apply its ingenuity to the curricula of public universities.
Alfredo Véa writes in his novel, The Silver Cloud Café, “You must seek out remembrance, for ours is a land of amnesiacs who pretend that there is no past; that America is a multi-cultural land when, in truth, it is an anticultural place that has ever been blessed with persistent and enduring cultures that have survived never-ending efforts to drag them out of sight; push them out of mind; to imprison them in the past.”
Below you will find links to news, opinion, and further readings on critical race theory.
- Agnew, Duncan. (2021, May 5). “GOP lawmakers want to ban “woke philosophies” like critical race theory in Texas schools.” TexasTribune, https://www.texastribune.org/2021/05/05/texas-critical-race-theory-schools-legislature/
- Blackman, J. & C. Harris. (2021, May 6). “Texas Republicans target ‘critical race theory’ with bill to muzzle teachers on racism, sexism.” Houston Chronicle, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/Texas-Republicans-target-critical-race-16154920.php
- DeWitt, Kaylee. (2021, May 4). “What you need to know about Idaho’s critical race theory law.” abc4.com, https://www.abc4.com/news/local-news/what-you-need-to-know-about-idahos-critical-race-theory-law/
- Murphy, Sean. (2021, May 7). “Oklahoma governor signs ban on teaching critical race theory.” Associated Press, https://apnews.com/article/oklahoma-race-and-ethnicity-d69cf5d38e3293884fca00ad3963a90e
- Pettit, Emma. (2021, May 12). “The academic concept conservative lawmakers love to hate.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-academic-concept-conservative-lawmakers-love-to-hate
- Romero, Simon. (2021, May 21). “A push in Texas to polish stains of race history.” The New York Times, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A662440903/OVIC?u=txshracd2598&sid=OVIC&xid=1f8394fe
- Svitek, Patrick. (2021, May 11). “Texas public schools couldn’t require critical race theory lessons under bill given initial House approval.” https://www.texastribune.org/2021/05/11/critical-race-theory-texas-schools-legislature/
- Wilson, Reid. (2021, May 5). “GOP legislatures target critical race theory.” TheHill.com, https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/551977-gop-legislatures-target-critical-race-theory
- The Argument. (2021, May 19). “Does teaching America it’s racist make it less racist?” The New York Times, https://nytimes.com/2021/05/19/opinion/race-theory-us-racism.html?smid=url-share
- Attiah, Karen. (2021, May 21). “Texas wants to suppress our history, too.” The Washington Post, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A662558213/OVIC?u=txshracd2598&sid=OVIC&xid=36d7b4ed
- Republican Party of Texas. (2021, March 31). “Chairman Allen West’s statement on critical race theory.” https://www.texasgop.org/chairman-west-critical-race-theory/
- The Rude Pundit. (2021, May 13). “How public schools failed black and white children in the south by hiding the truth.” https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2021/05/how-public-schools-failed-black-and.html
LEARN ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY
- Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas, eds. (1995). Critical race theory: the key writings that formed the movement. New York: New Press. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991011882139706011
- Delgado, R., Harris, A., & Stefancic, J. (2017). Critical Race Theory : An Introduction. Third edition. New York: New York University Press. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991057958070506011
- Farmer, V., & Farmer, E. (2020). Critical race theory in the academy. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991058216520206011
- Han, Keonghee Tao and Judson Laughter, eds. (2019). Critical race theory in teacher education: informing classroom culture and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991048706679706011
- Karimi, F. (2021, May 10). “What critical race theory is… and isn’t.” CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/01/us/critical-race-theory-explainer-trnd/index.html
- Leung, Sofia and Jorge R. López-McKnight. (2021). Knowledge justice: disrupting library and information studies through critical race theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/knowledge-justice
- Lynn, Marvin and Adrienne D. Dixon, eds. (2013). Handbook of critical race theory in education. New York: Routledge. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991057948976406011
- Pitre, Abul, Tawannah G. Allen, and Estrom Pitre. (2015). Multicultural education for educational leaders: critical race theory and antiracist perspectives. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991057953215106011
- Sawchuk, S. (2021, May 18). “What is critical race theory and why is it under attack?” Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-is-it-under-attack/2021/05
- Valdes, Francisco, Jerome McCristal Culp, and Angela P. Harris, eds. (2002). Crossroads, directions, and a new critical race theory. Philadephia: Temple University Press. https://search.lib.utexas.edu/permalink/01UTAU_INST/9e1640/alma991057922399106011