What Is Critical Race Theory? A Definitive Guide
Critical Race Theory has become the biggest controversial issue pitting conservative America against the liberal left and Critical Race Theory legal scholars. At the grassroots level, school boards and educators are defending themselves against accusations of, among other things, indoctrinating young children with racist ideas that are turning them against white people and America.
Despite the extensive coverage, a Reuter/Ipsos poll found that 57% of adults are not familiar withthe term Critical Race Theory(Lawrence, 2021). As Republican legislators scramble to ban CRT from K-12, many educators insist that their curricula don’t include CRT-related discussions, and scholars maintain that the debate is too complex. As the battle rages on, the question remains, what exactly is Critical Race Theory?
Critical Race Theory: A Brief History
In the post-Civil Rights era of the mid-1970s, several lawyers, legal scholars, and activists were realizing that theadvances made during the Civil Rights era of 1960 were either stalled or, in some cases, rolled back(Delgado & ste范西克，2017)。此外，尽管公开的种族歧视事件数量在减少，但这并不是有色人种面临的唯一问题。种族主义事件则更为微妙，是现有体制无法处理的事情。
To these individuals, there was the need for new strategies and theories to combat this subtle form of racism,which was gaining ground(Delgado & ste范西克，2017)。批判种族理论(CRT)的早期支持者，包括德里克·贝尔、Kimberlé威廉姆斯·克伦肖、玛丽·松田、艾伦·弗里曼、理查德·德尔加多、安吉拉·哈里斯等人，在1989年CRT正式制度化之前，他们都以某种方式参与了涉及种族的法律框架。
Derrick Bell, a tenured professor at Harvard School of Law from 1970 to 1980, quit his position because of the university’s resistance to hiring more faculty members of color. The university scrapped the course “Constitutional Law and Minority Issues,” following his exit, sparking outrage from the Black Law Students Association. Students launched protests to get the school to reinstate the course, and in the process, hire a Black professor to teach the class. In response, Dean James Vorenberg launched a three-week mini-course, which the students boycotted. In 1983, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and Mari Matsuda instead found a way to receive the education they wanted,launching the “Alternative Course”(Jackson, 2021).
In the summer of 1989, 20 legal scholars, lawyers, and activists received an invitation to attend a conference in Madison, Wisconsin. On July 8, 1989, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, and Stephanie Phillips, the conference hosts, welcomed the attendees at St. Benedict Center, a convent.Other participants includedAnita Allen, Angela Harris, Benita Ramsey, Derrick Bell, Elizabeth Patterson, Harlon Dalton, Isabelle Gunning, John Calmore, Kendall Thomas, Kevin Brown, Linda Greene, Mari Matsuda, Patricia Williams, Paulette Caldwell, Philip T. Nash, Richard Delgado, Taunya Banks, Trina Grillo, Teresa Miller, and Robert Suggs (Onwuachi-Willig, 2009).
In an interview with the members of theTransactional Law & Contemporary Problemseditorial board,Richard Delgado recalled the 1989 conference, saying, “I was a member of the founding conference… we gathered at that convent for two and a half days, around a table in an austere room with stained glass windows and crucifixes here and there – an odd place for a bunch of Marxists – and worked out a set of principles” (Delgado & Stefancic, 2011, p. 225).
Thus, Critical Race Theory was born.
So, What is Critical Race Theory?
According to Delgado & Stefancic(2017), CRT tries to understand and change the social situation by exploring the organization of the society along racial lines and hierarchies and transforming it for the better. CRT emerged in the legal framework, with the progressive scholars looking past the overt racism to try and understand the systems that enable the existence of racism, especially in the legal system, and look for ways to employ the same justice system to protect civil rights. Janel George (2021)explains that critical race theorists understood虽然法律可以成为加深种族不平等的工具，但它也有可能被用作解放黑奴和实现种族平等的工具。
To better understand CRTand its goals, we need first to understand its core tenets:
- Racism is ordinary, not aberrational; CRT maintains that racism is not determined by the blatant acts of racism. Instead, it is a part of our usual way of life and is a common experience for most people of color. Because of this, it becomes difficult to address or cure racism (Delgado & Stefancic, 1995).
Within this tenet are the concepts of “colorblindness” and “meritocracy,” which, according to CRT, serve two primary purposes. “Colorblindness” calls for the equal treatment of all persons regardless of color, clears white people of any responsibility for the hardships people of color experience.“精英统治”允许被授权的人保持精英主义控制，并仍然声称中立(Hartlep, 2009)。
- Theory of Interest Convergence, also referred to as material determinism, maintains that whites have little reason to address racism since it advances their interests. They allow and support social justice and progress when there is something in it for them.
For example, in regards toBrown v. Board of Education(1954), Derrick Bell, in a 1980Harvard Law Review这篇评论文章对最高法院下令废除学校种族隔离的裁决提出了质疑。贝尔指出，这一裁决是在冷战期间做出的，当时废除种族隔离将给这个国家带来有利的影响。此外，黑人士兵从二战中回来后，会受到进一步的歧视，这种观念会使这个国家在平等问题上的优越立场受到质疑。因此，贝尔的理论是，禁止种族隔离符合白人精英的利益，而这恰好符合当时少数族裔的利益。
- The race is a social construct; this has been the hallmark of CRT, with Delgado & Stefancic explaining that race is a consequence of social thought and relations. It is not objective, and race categorization does not correspond to any biological or genetic reality. Instead, races are inventions of the society and are manipulated, or retired, when it is convenient (1995).
Hartlep (2009) writes在Bracero项目中，数以百万计的墨西哥人作为农业工人来到美国，以满足二战期间生产粮食所需的劳动力需求。They were promptly deported back to Mexico, with Operation Wetback launched in 1954, deporting over a million Mexicans from the country’s southwest region.
Other policies included the “one-drop” rule, the 1934 housing program benefiting whites and locking nonwhites out, the Wagner Act, andthe Dred Scott v. Sandford.
For example, indigenous Indians have a very different account of events about the white settlers and the “discovery” of America. In the same way, Hackman and Rauscher (2004) point out that “mainstream” school curricula are structured around mainstream white, middle-class values, effectively marginalizing the minority students and impeding their achievements.
For example, even though affirmative action has been slammed for years for giving nonwhites an unfair advantage over their white counterparts, statistics show that white people are the ones who have gained more from affirmative action. According to Guy-Sheftall (1993), white women have primarily benefited from affirmative action hiring practices. Hacker (1992) noted that even after affirmative action had been in place for 20 years, African Americans only made up 4.5% of the professorate.
Delgado(2009)简单地说，“我希望告诉孩子们，如果他们努力学习，远离麻烦，他们可以成为像我一样的法律教授。然而，这是一个非常大的谎言:一个弥天大谎”(第112页)。他补充说，虽然其他少数族裔同事的面孔多年来发生了变化，但人数保持不变。“Despite this, I am expected to tell forty kids in a crowded inner-city classroom that if they work hard, they can each be among the chosen twenty-five,” he continued.
Critical Race Theory and K-12 Education
尽管对照表起源于法律框架，但到20世纪90年代，它已扩展到包括教育在内的其他领域。During theLiving History Interviewat the University of Iowa, Jean Stefancic explained that educators first heard about critical race theory in the mid-1990s, and several of them studied the theory’s essential writings, hoping to find ideas thatcould be applied to the problems they were trying to solve(Delgado & Stefancic, 2011).
For the past several years, teachers all over the country have taken to social media and other platforms to complain about the lack of resources in their classes, with some teachers crowdfunding just to get essential supplies for their students. However, K-12 teachers are now facing a different issue – tackling current issues without being accused of “indoctrinating” students. At the center of this controversy is Critical Race Theory, which the Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization, blames for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 2018 shooting. The foundation’s argument starts: “What do school safety and the devastating school shooting that took the lives of 17 students and staff at a high school in Parkland, Florida, have to do with CRT? Quite a bit, in fact” (Butcher & Gonzales, 2020, p. 63).Butcher & Gonzalezargue that because the school was among the first in the district to adopt the PROMISE program, which aims to reduce the exclusionary discipline of minority students, the shooter avoided interaction with police, thus wasable to obtain a gun, leading to the devastating consequences.
Critical Race Theory has always been a hotbed of controversy, no matter what field it is applied in. Recently, the focus has been on the teaching of CRT in K-12 schools, sparking heated arguments from both sides, at the grassroots and national levels. Despite the extensive coverage of the discussions, it remains unclear what the argument is about and what teachers are expected to do.
Research byMedia Matters for Americashows that from April to mid-June 2021, conservative T.V. networkFox Newsmentioned Critical Race Theory over 1,900 times, with 901mentions in the first half of June alone (Power, 2021). In the same time frame, CRT was mentioned 250 times on CNN and 264 times on MSBC (Wong, 2021). By June 2021, 22 states hadintroduced bills seeking to ban the teaching of CRT in schools, with Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee signing them into law (Adams, Smith & Tambe, 2021).
This fight against CRT has received extensive media attention, but supporters of the CRT maintain that critics are fighting against something that they don’t understand. Jonathan Chism, co-editor ofCritical Race Studies Across Disciplines, argues that most people condemning critical race theory have no clue what the theory is about since they have not read the relevant materials. He surmises that this condemnation is a reaction drawn fromfear of losing their power, influence, and privilege. Adams, Smith & Tambe (2021) assert that the criticism against CRT is a product of the critics’ desire to deny the truth about America and its history of racism.
对于支持者来说，在学校教授CRT的各个方面是一种向学生灌输多视角信息的方式，而不是洗白。Jania Hoover(2021年)，11岁thgrade U.S. History teacher，解释从不同角度教导学生评估信息的价值有明显的优势;这让他们在生活的其他方面做得更好。对于像胡佛这样的老师来说，为学生提供相关信息是正确的事情，尤其是当学生提出关于“敏感”问题，如种族、性和社会正义的问题时。当我作为一名社会研究教师时，学生们总是会在敏感的话题上寻求清晰的解释，和胡佛一样，我觉得帮助他们理解这些问题是我的责任。教室是一个安全的空间，他们可以表达自己的观点，唯一的要求就是尊重不同的观点。
去年，我培训过的几位老师联系了我，他们中的许多人都想知道如何最好地向他们的学生解释乔治·弗洛伊德(George Floyd)被谋杀后全国爆发的“黑人的命也是命”(Black Lives Matter)抗议活动。威斯康辛州伯灵顿的四年级教师梅丽莎·斯塔茨(Melissa Statz)用练习题帮助她的学生理解基诺沙抗议活动，这是由雅各布·布莱克(Jacob Blake)被警察开枪打死引发的。在听取了学生们对抗议活动的讨论后，斯达茨找到了适合学生年龄的材料，帮助他们理解“黑人的命也是命”运动和系统性的种族主义。An outraged parent accused Statz of “indoctrinate our kids,”which saw other community members demand that the school district discipline Statz(Kingkade, 2020). Similar headlines have popped up, with well-meaning teachers finding themselves vilified for trying to help students understand their world.
I own an EdTech company, and as a former professor of social studies, I received several requests to help my former trainees find the relevant material to help their students better understand the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. Their main concern was addressing the issues from a neutral position to equip the students with the relevant facts and spark a discussion to critically examine the situation and offer possible solutions. However, it seemed that any discussions of race, discrimination, and diversity were being slammed as CRT indoctrination, with the conservative media pushing for politicians to call out this “evil.” Conservative state legislators are scrambling to ban CRT. At the same time, teachers are trying to find ways to help students understand issues like discrimination, systemic racism, and how the country’s history has culminated in deep-rooted racial problems. However, there is still one fundamental problem – whether it is possible to teach CRT in schools.
对于“对照表”的许多支持者来说，当前的争论大多是被误导的，许多被指控教授“对照表”的学校董事会坚持认为事实并非如此。2021年4月，哈福德县公立学校董事会在收到家长投诉后，认为他们没有在课程中纳入CRT的任何方面。该学区有自己的项目“文化响应式教学”(cultural responsive teaching)，旨在解决学校系统中的种族不平等问题。While the programs share the same acronym, Paula Stanton, the district’s equity and cultural proficiency supervisor, admitted that she had no idea what Critical Race Theory was whenparents started calling the board to complain about their program(安德森,2021)。根据该州即将对历史和社会科学sol课程进行的修改，乔治王子县学校董事会计划修订其历史和社会研究课程，以包括更多的视角。Following this announcement, Dr. Lisa Pennycuff, Superintendent of Prince George County Schools, felt the need to assert that while the school district had not adopted CRT,there were plans to include African American SOLs in the curriculum(Rath, 2021).
While supporters champion for the adoption of CRT in K-12 curricula and opponents move to ban it from schools completely, there is a fundamental question that needs asking:
Is CRT being taught in K-12?
For some experts, the simple answer to this question is “no.” Gary Peller, a Georgetown Law Professor and co-author ofCritical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement,maintains that K-12 schools are likely not teaching CRT(Zalaznick, 2021). Rodney Coates, a global and intercultural studies professor at Miami University, echoes Peller’s response, with both experts maintaining that CRT is too complex for K-12 students. According to Coates, CRT-related discussions were conversationsbetter suited for college-level students(Mitchell, 2021). Explaining his stance,Peller wrotethat the notion that K-12 students could easily be taught CRT made no sense as it was a complex subject. “It’s asking you to critically examine assumptions that we all make. And so if it were being taught in K-12, I would think it would be a cause for wild celebration that teachers (were) doing such a fantastic job” (Mitchell, 2021, p.25).
As an educator, I’m inclined to agree with Coates and Peller. As the controversy has raged on, no one has taken the time to understand CRT, and the arguments showcase this. Even the 1619 Project, slammed as CRT countless times, primarily focuses on CRT’s storytelling and counter-storytelling aspect. It provides an alternative way of looking at the inception of slavery and focuses on the narratives of the enslaved people. Dr. Janice Jackson, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools,explained the district’s decision将1619年的项目纳入其课程。她坚持认为，这个国家的历史需要一个诚实的解释，以便学生更好地理解当前出现的问题。She lauded the 1619 Project, a product of the New York Times, and curricular resources from the Pulitzer Center, as compelling new material that revisited the impact of slavery on our modern society (Da Silva, 2020).
The answer to whether CRT is being taught in K-12不清楚，但很明显的是，CRT在我们的学校里并不存在。尽管如此，它的一些方面正在进入课程，旨在教育学生探索这个国家的历史，而不是跳过少数民族曾经并一直遭受的残酷、不受欢迎的经历。
According to Jean Stefancic, CRT expanded into education in the 1990s because educators searched for ways to address the inadequacies prevalent in curricula, disciplinary actions, school funding, tracking, standardized tests, canonical debates, andpower dynamics(Delgado & Stefancic, 2011).Essentially, Brown v. Board of Education被认为是法律上的胜利，但正如德里克·贝尔所观察到的，废除种族隔离并没有消除解决学校中其他系统性种族不平等问题的必要性。在这项裁决之后，许多黑人教师和管理人员失去了工作，作为对他们呼吁和支持废除种族隔离和白人逃离的报复。White families moved from areas with aconsiderable number of nonwhite residents(乔治,2021)。
These legal shortcomings culminated in the issues of racial inequality present in education today, including:
- Curricula dominantly feature the white narrative of history and exclude the experiences and history of people of color.
- Inadequate instruction, mainly fueled by lack of resources and poorly-qualified teachers in public and urban schools, leading to thecharacterization of students of color作为那些需要补救(达林-哈蒙德，1998)。
- Disciplinary policies, implicit bias, and teacher-student racial mismatch that sees students of color disproportionately impacted. In his research,Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Disruptive Behavior: The Effect of Racial Congruence and Consequences for School Suspension, Adam Wright notes that it is less likely for a black student to be suspended for misbehaviorthe more the student is matched with a black teacher(Startz, 2016).
- Inequitable school financing disproportionately affects minority students.According to Darling-Hammond(1998), 10 percent of the wealthiest U.S. school districts have expenditures of almost ten times over what the poorest 10 percent spend, and in the same states, spending ratios of 3 to 1 are common. Schools, where minority students make up a sizeable chunk of the student body are more likely to receive less funding than schools with a significant white student population, even within the same school districts. This persistent underfunding means that students of color have significantly fewer resources, which dramatically impedes their chances of academic success.
Fundamentally, instead of blaming individual students for their academic failure, CRT explores the systemic practices that make it almost impossible for minority students to achieve academic success. For example, by exploring various discriminatory practices, like redlining, students can understand how the legal system perpetuated discrimination that had a lasting impact on their education.
我能欣赏CRT对学生的潜在好处。Dr. Janice Jackson statedthat educators, to help students conceptualize and understand the world around them, are always trying to find new tools and strategies with the hopes ofassisting them to become informed and influential citizens(Da Silva, 2020)。批判性种族研究中心主任维达·a·罗伯逊(Vida A. Robertson)坚持认为，教育工作者需要让适龄学生了解种族如何被用来组织社会中的权力、资源和机会。罗伯逊认为，CRT旨在帮助学生获得改变传播种族不平等的系统、结构和机构的能力(Zalaznick, 2021)。
It is imperative to note that introducing CRT into K-12 curricula is not a magical remedy that will solve every problem in K-12 schools. However, the current system is undoubtedly not working, and something needs to be done. CRT in education is a tool geared towards giving our students a chance to peek behind the curtain. To allow them to look beyond themselves and understand how the system impacts them, positively or negatively. Educators, on their part, are made aware of their individual, unconscious bias and their contribution to the inequities propagated by their schools.
Political Backlash against CRT
CRT has drawn intense criticism from scholars, parents, media personalities, and politicians. In one infamous school board meeting, deputies arrested a parent after an anti-LGBT and anti-CRT speech sparked chaos. On June 22, 2021, the Loudon County Public Schools board was forced to end their meeting prematurely following a crowd’s chaotic response during the remarks section of the forum. One attendee, former Virginia State Senator Dick Black, accused the school board of “teaching children to hate others because of their skin color”by including CRT into the curriculum (Battiston, 2021, p. 8). The school board has repeatedly denied these allegations, but this has not stopped critics from pointing out that parents need to stand firmly against CRT and speak out just like the Loudon County parents.
Black’s statement echoes the common criticism against CRT,with Dr. Greg Ganske(2021) writing that CRT underpins racial stereotypes, discounts meaningful dialogue, and threatens race relations. Critics of CRT maintain that it focuses on race and pushes students to focus on their differences rather than their shared values and beliefs. One of the most prominent critics of CRT, Christopher Rufo, is said to have been the catalyst behind former President Donald Trump’sExecutive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, which banned the teaching of “divisive concepts” to federal employees and government contractors.
However, in his own words, Rufo’s criticisms are not lobbied against Critical Race Theory itself, but rather, a diverse set of diverse concepts which he’s lumped into CRT in a bid to deliberately mislead citizens.Writing to Benjamin Wallace-Wells in May 2021, Rufo explained the need to use a new language to explain the issues, as political correctness was outdated and not applicable anymore. According to Rufo, the new politics of race were more invasive than ‘correctness.’ He discounted broad terms like ‘cancel culture and ‘woke,’ explaining that these would not have the right impact in the political sphere. He concluded, ” ‘Critical race theory is the perfect villain” (Wallace-Wells, 2021, p. 6). This statement was a reiteration of his March 15, 2021, tweet reading: “We have successfully frozen their brand—”critical race theory”—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.” For Rufo, he’d found a perfect political weapon.
In an interview onTucker Carlson Tonighton September 2, 2020, he urged conservatives to wake up, calling CRT an existential threat to the country. He called on the President and the White House to issue an executive order abolishing critical-race-theory training from the federal government “to stamp out this destructive, divisive, pseudoscientific ideology” (Wallace-Wells, 2021, p. 8). The next day, Rufo received a call from then-President Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, and soon after traveled to Washington, D.C., to help draft theExecutive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,issued on September 2, 2020. Later, Rufo claimed, “This entire movement came from nothing” (Wallace-Wells, 2021, p. 9), when in fact, he was the one who started it.
当保守派媒体猛烈抨击CRT时，家长们的担忧像滚雪球一样越滚越大，学区发现自己在为自己的课程辩护，指责他们教授的是大多数学校官员都不知道存在的东西。虽然特朗普的行政命令在他上任后不久就被乔·拜登总统推翻，但几个州已经联合起来提出法案，寻求禁止在学校教授CRT，有些州甚至希望禁止在高等教育课堂上教授CRT。截至2021年8月，爱达荷州、俄克拉荷马州、田纳西州、德克萨斯州、爱荷华州、新罕布什尔州、亚利桑那州和南卡罗来纳州已经通过立法，禁止教授许多法案中所谓的“分裂概念”，这是特朗普行政命令中存在的一个词。在这八个州中，只有爱达荷州在立法中提到了“批判种族理论”。Most of the bills passed, proposed, or rejected ban any discussion or teaching that asserts thatthe U.S. is inherently racist，有意识或无意识的偏见，任何关于特权、压迫、歧视的讨论，在某些情况下，甚至性别讨论(Ray & Gibbons, 2021)。大约有20个或更多的州已经提出或计划提出类似的立法。
Addressing the Misconceptions
Perhaps the biggest argument against Critical Race Theory is that it is anti-White and anti-American.Rufo called CRT anti-white, anti-Asian, anti-rational, and anti-democratic.(Greer, 2021). Following the banning of CRT in Florida schools, Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted: “Critical Race Theory teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other. It is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools” (Lawrence, 2021, p.11).
However, supporters of CRT maintain that this is a gross misconception of the truth, explaining that CRT just calls for a critical examination of racism in the country, looking beyond the individuals and focusing on the institutions that allowed the permeation of racist, discriminative practices through policies. Rayshawn Ray, professor of sociology and executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of Maryland, claims that most people admonishing CRT don’t want any discussions of racism. They were people who want to see the country America as perfect, even though they were hurting their children. He added that when these students get to college, they are usually angry with their parents because they did not receive an accurate view of their world.He urged people to stop seeing CRT as an attackon individual identities (Lawrence, 2021).
许多家长认为，K-12的孩子还太小，不适合进行ct相关的讨论。尽管如此，许多老师在2020年不得不回答有关警察暴行、种族主义和黑人的生命也很重要的问题，他们认为学生需要关于他们的世界的信息。Speaking anonymously toHuffpost,one teacher explained that she teaches special education. A big part of her work requires answering questions and helping students work through their general education assignments. Inevitably, she’s had to discuss racism, especially with high school students, including discussing systemic racism when students read about internment camps and segregation in their history classes. She has also had to discuss police brutality with the students, as she works in a school with many students of color. This means that many of her students have experienced racism and an unfair justice system and are familiar with these concepts (Wong, 2021).
Emily Glankler, a history teacher in Austin, Texas, maintains that kids are not too young to understand these concepts. Gankler tells parents that even if they do not discuss race in their home, the children are still noticing from an early age. Therefore, teachers put in the effort toguide them in discussionsthat make them feel safe (Lawrence, 2021).
Other parents, outraged by stories of misguided teachers asking their children to apologize for their “white privilege,” believe CRT is to blame. Harvey Goldman, an NYC businessman, was outraged to learn that his 9-year-old daughter had been learning about the Black Lives Matter Movement, and he slammed Heschel School in Manhattan for its “anti-racist” obsession.In a letter to the school dated September 2020, Goldman wrote“首先，我和我的孩子都没有‘白人特权’，我们也不需要为此道歉。说我这么做是对我的侮辱(肯尼迪，2021，第6页)许多CRT批评者错误地认为，CRT要求白人学生就奴隶制和其他历史暴行向非白人学生道歉。
然而，支持者认为这不是CRT。Rachel Wilder, a special education middle school teacher in Colorado, toldHuffPost她相信，老师们通常不会让白人学生感到羞耻，也不会告诉他们白人特权是所有社会问题的根源。给学生洗脑并没有什么阴谋。怀尔德解释说，老师们正在尽最大努力让孩子们了解相关事实，确保他们都得到平等和尊重，无论他们的肤色或文化背景(Wong, 2021)。许多“CRT”支持者也有同感，他们认为老师们强迫学生为他们的特权道歉是误解了这一信息。他们认为，CRT只是呼吁白人意识到并承认他们的特权是如何为他们服务的，并想办法废除给他们提供这些特权的体制。
What Happens Next?
Currently, there seems to be no clear boundary on what can be discussed and what constitutes “indoctrination.” The legislature casts a wide net, and some educators are hesitant to address controversial topics like racism throughout American history because they are afraid of backlash and facing disciplinary actions. Virginia Beach County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence is concerned that legislation banning CRT can have a chilling effect on teachers. This is not conducive to the learning environment because teachers need to feel comfortable while teaching the curriculum.He revealed that some teachers were calling their principals to ask, “Am I allowed to teach this? Is this OK to teach?” (Watson, 2021, p. 71).
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