America's Social Construct of Race is Divisive, Not CRT
Whenever I think talk of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is slowing down, in comes another wave of parents and/or politicians fighting to keep discussion of systemic racism out of the classroom. Terms like “indoctrination” and “woke ideology” are thrown to the masses with the hopes of minimizing support for a curriculum that some believe is divisive and aims to build guilt and shame in white students. No teacher, or administration it seems, that seeks to highlight truths about this country is safe from punishment and/or bashing. Why is it so important that we wait until our children reach a particular age, or rather enter college, to expose them to America’s full history?
In not one instance have I noticed those opposed to the theory cite the origin of CRT. A quick internet search would reveal a plethora of information. The most poignant being research, documents and interviews by its founder, Derrick Bell, explaining the meaning, purpose and function of CRT. In no way is it meant to shame a group of people. It is, however, meant to give light to a part of our nation's history that has both impacted millions of African Americans and intermittently stunted their growth. It is an intimate observation of the country’s intention to restrict access to fair housing, financial security, education, employment, and healthcare.
America was not built on rivers of milk and honey. It was not a place where freedom rang true for everyone. We are taught America is a melting pot. That we all blend. But this is not true. We’re more like a pot of boiling water that has been allowed to cool. Pour us in and what you'll find are people floating, sinking, or existing somewhere in the middle. But not fully blending. That would require us to take in each other’s cultures and to accept them as equals. To take in each other’s experiences and to recognize and acknowledge that while they are not the same one is no less important or insignificant than another.
Race is one of the most tragic constructs created. While it has divided people, we cannot forget that that division was man made. Science, religion, and laws were brought in to defend it. We have an entire history built on the foundation of racism. Although people have fought to move this country forward, there is still this intense need to sweep our past under a rug. Saying “times have changed” does not absolve us of the past. America's social construct of race is what causes division, not CRT.
We can't get to the good of America without the bad. Yes, our history is ugly. Yet, we have seen how an unwavering desire to make its early ideals a reality for all has the power, or ability, to effect change. Beauty can come from pain. And change can come from hardships. But only if we’re honest with ourselves.
We teach our children at an early age that “honesty is the best policy.” And in our day-to-day lives we say we want the truth. But in some ways many Americans cannot be further from this desire. There's this ever-present need to shield people, specifically children but adults too, from the truth. The truth is sometimes hard to look at and to reconcile. But that's how growth happens. If this country is to live up to its values, and promises of freedom, brotherhood, and unitedness we can't be open to stunted growth.
About the author: Latanya Muhammad is a writer and the founder of CITYS, LLC, a digital content company focused on content creation/writing, editing, and copywriting. To read features and blogs, visit citysllc.com. To connect, submit all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.