Published: Feb. 01, 2022, 10:39 a.m.
By G. Christopher Hunt
Critical Race Theory (CRT) was the focus of my doctoral studies and, at its core, the central idea of the theory is pretty simple: that racism and its effects are historic and embedded in our society, and often lead to the exclusion of people of color and other marginalized groups. Why is this a point of controversy, even conflict?
I’m sure I rolled my eyes at whatever point I first observed that this idea had, indeed, become contentious. The primary thing that CRT does is it acknowledges inequities in society. What does anyone have to lose by conceding that reality? Is it really controversial to recognize that an individual who comes from more financial means will, typically, have advantages over someone whose family had money problems?
This doesn’t mean that the more financially secure person should feel guilty. It should just help them understand their path may have not presented as many challenges as someone who did/does not have the same resources.
Additionally, what risk is there to individuals who do not live with a disability when we talk about the lived experiences of individuals who do live with a disability and how they navigate in society? And, if we understand that not every American practices Christianity, does that really impose on my ability to serve Jesus?
The thing about Critical Race Theory that most people don’t understand is the succinctness of theory itself. All we hear is, “We cannot allow this decisive concept to be taught in our schools.” The takeaway being that CRT is a dangerous, brainwashing curriculum that dishonors our nation’s history with slander and lies. In fact, CRT is merely a tool — a lens or perspective through which we can make sense of how people with different marginalized identities move throughout society.
An individual from a marginalized identity is easily defined as one who historically does not have as much societal power or authority. CRT simply provides an analysis for how race and other identities shape and influence our shared relationships. It asks that we consider and think about the questions posed earlier regarding socioeconomic status, religion, gender, disability, and other characteristics including, yes, race and ethnicity. The theory also encourages us to be mindful about the contributions that historically underrepresented people have made in our society.
American historian, author, and journalist Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1926 and shortly thereafter established Negro History Week. Fifty years later, a Republican president, Gerald Ford, advocated that the nation should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” February was selected for Black History Month to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 20).
Read the entire opinion piece from Dr. Hunt on the Lehigh Valley Live website: The thing about critical race theory that most people don’t understand | Opinion.