As everyday people become more vocal concerning racial equality, headlines, curriculums, and policies shift in response. For example, a Juneteenth clip of Megan Gaha, an English teacher at Des Moines East High School in Iowa, went viral on TikTok where the educator and self-proclaimed activist, who goes by the name @Ms.Magoo on the social media app, was upset that she could no longer teach students lessons surrounding critical race theory.
“Today is the first time our country has recognized Juneteenth as a national holiday. Yet, I am getting ready to go back to school in the fall, and my governor has put into place some ridiculous legislation... I can’t teach anything divisive,” she said.
“I can’t teach critical race theory. I can’t teach about racial equity. This is at all public schools, colleges, and universities... With the shitshow of last year, we need to stand up and do what is right, right now. This [video] is a call to action, teachers.”
Thoughts on whether or not it is essential to explain American history thoroughly brought forth different perspectives from administrators. For instance, one fundamental point associated with the present day disconnect is the 1619 account of English colonists purchasing African peoples following them being kidnapped from their homeland. Though challenged, the centuries-long process of forcing enslaved Black people to labor on American soil is factual. Historically, this event is the forerunner to numerous others among Black and various marginalized citizens.
Nonetheless, Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has banned academic exchanges surrounding issues like those mentioned above as of June 5. More precisely, Reynolds said the state does not need to explain “discriminatory indoctrination” and signed House File 802, halting critical race theory lessons and more. From a scholarly standpoint, her sentiment may invite confusion. Thus, it is crucial to identify what critical race theory was founded against.
Put plainly, critical race theory is a means of illustrating how systemic racism has formed American institutions, regional structure, and public policy for its adherents. As Britannica notes, “Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.” Bearing these points in mind, by eliminating knowledge of self, critical race theorists find perspectives such as Reynold’s a continuation of what advocates organize against: white supremacy.
Fact Check: Is critical race theory being outlawed in American curriculums?
Our Findings: True.
There are separate Iowa-based viewpoints to examine. Enter Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad. “We can’t have it both ways,” the democratic official said of the results. “We can’t say on one hand, ‘We want freedom of speech,’ [and] on another hand say, ‘We want to hear both sides.’ And then stifle those sides.” Still, Iowa’s representation is merely one example of the outlawing of comprehensive philosophies happening throughout the country.
On June 15, Texas followed suit, as Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill related to the social studies curriculum for K - 12 students in public schools. The record “...prescribes how Texas teachers can talk about current events and America’s history of racism in the classroom,” according to The Texas Tribune. Additionally, Abbott’s new policies will prevent pupils from obtaining credit for participating in civic activities — hence likely discouraging them. Again, notable community questions carry comments on whether these educational mandates uphold the systemic characteristics these elected officials deny exist.
Former President Trump has publicly condemned several intellectual procedures of critical race theory supporters, including those shared by President Joe Biden. In turn, conservative public figures have extended support toward 45. And some implementation of counter orders deeming classroom readings on national statistics such as those that correspond with racial dividers have been sustained.
Further, Trump published an op-ed last week on the Real Clear Politics website stating, “For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light...
“In classrooms across the nation, students are being subjected to a new curriculum designed to brainwash them... Instead of helping young people discover that America is the greatest, most tolerant, and most generous nation in history,” the doubly impeached former president wrote.
These teachings, while prevalent, are not new. The first annual Workshop on Critical Race Theory was organized in 1989, but its origins date back to the 1960s. Instructionally, it is archived that ideologists’ “...immediate precursor was the critical legal studies (CLS) movement.”
A recent middle school lesson that offended parents in Greenwich, Connecticut was the distribution of a classroom bias survey. Various GOP lawmakers suggest critical race theory postures the intimidation of conceivably rewriting the nation’s history as it has been documented and lectured. Additional notions brought to legislative debates are that critical race theories shame the American majority for its privileges.
Tensions surrounding critical race theory are reaching a boiling point nationwide. NBC News reported that conservative parties from the following states advanced bills or restrictions correlating with new school agendas: Idaho, Tennessee, and Rhode Island. Other GOP political figures uniting to do the same are located in Maine, Florida, New Hampshire, Arkansas, and further. A Republican congressman who has outright been called “racist” during a House Committee on Education and Labor virtual hearing is Bob Good from the Confederate state of Virginia.
Still, not all masses with privilege or power are against critical race theory. Case in point, an exchange from the House Armed Services Committee hearing to discuss the 2022 Defense Department budget is now viral. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, responded to questions analyzing critical race theory in the military. The top U.S. general stated, “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it,” NPR transcribed.
“So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, noncommissioned officers of being, quote, ‘woke’ or something else...”