Sam Smith – The big problem with critical race theory is that it’s big on analysis and low on action. Under CRT, kids would be taught the evils of past systems with far less attention to those who changed it and how they did it. Change is driven far more by inspiration than by facts.
Sure we need to teach about slavery and Jim Crow, but students also need the stories of civil rights leaders. The danger in limiting history to the bad is that its quiet message becomes that you can’t change things.
There is currently a stunning lack of attention to the virtues and pleasures of a successful multicultural society. In an excellent Newsweek article, Ye Zhang Pgue, a Chinese American scholar married to a white guy, takes on the issue:
I learned that some activists claim all white people are oppressors, while people of other racial groups are oppressed victims. I learned that they think that a racial power dynamic exists in every interaction between white and nonwhite people, and thus oppression is present in every activity of life. Acknowledging and fighting against white people’s oppressive role, I learned, is essential for “anti-racism.”…
As the people around me became more deeply mired in this worldview, I wondered, where does interracial marriage belong in these narratives? Why would oppressed persons want to marry oppressors? And if these activists are right, wouldn’t we have to conclude that no authentic relationship could exist between white and nonwhite people?….
It is counterproductive to fight racism with labels like “oppressor” and “fragility.” It only shuts down heartfelt conversations. It builds walls rather than breaking them down.
Part of the trouble comes from the fact that the mass media much prefers to cover problems rather than solutions. Thus things like critical race theory get far more attention than, for example, how you teach kids to function in a multicultural society. Among the things missing from the story:
- Race is a racist concept. We are primarily developed by cultural rather than biological factors, Which is why the Progressive Review uses the phrase ethnicity wherever possible,
- For young children, the story of human variation needs to become more important. Teach them early that they’re going to live in a world filled with people who think and do things differently then they will and how to deal with this.
- Yes, teach them about slavery, but also about Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King and other great challengers of evil and how they did it.
- Whether in a school, a church or community group, find some time for folks to tell their own stories. We tend to institutionalize our problems, but making them personal can often be more effective.
- Black and latino leaders should include causes such as labor issues that allow them to build coalitions with whites they haven’t been able to reach.
We have to stop treating ethnic relations as just a problem. If we don’t it will forever remain one. But finding practic