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Survey Says Most Americans Think Discussing Race Is a Good Thing While School Districts Continue Attacks on Critical Race Theory

A new Pew Research Center poll says that 53 percent of Americans believe discussions around race are a good thing.

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As right-wing politicians across the country are waging an ideological war against Critical Race Theory, most Americans think discussing racism and discrimination is actually a good thing, according to a recent survey.

A new Pew Research Center poll says that 53 percent of Americans of all backgrounds believe discussions around race are good, while 26 percent say it is bad; 21 percent say it is neither good or bad. With Black adults, that number is even higher. Some 75 percent see discussing racism as good and as many as 54 percent say it is “very good” for society.

Sixty-four percent of Asian Americans and 59 percent of Hispanic adults also say the public discourse on race is positive, though smaller percentages say it is a very good thing compared with Black American adults. Of course, just 46 percent of white adults say the focus to the history of slavery and American racism is good; just 24 percent say it is very good and 32 percent say it’s bad.

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No surprise there.

Here is more on the survey, according to the Washington Post:

While the survey did not ask respondents specifically about their thoughts on critical race theory or the New York Times’ 1619 Project, both have been at the center of conservative attacks in recent months. Republican lawmakers have sought to ban critical race theory, an intellectual movement that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism, in public K-12 schools in at least 26 states, though scholars say that the theory is rarely taught outside of law school. Some of the legislation includes keeping instruction of the 1619 Project, a series of essays that examines how slavery shaped U.S. history, out of the classroom.

The survey also shows that just over a year after the murder of George Floyd sparked a racial reckoning, half of all American adults say “a lot” needs to be done to ensure racial equity, but were split on how best to do it.

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Some school districts aren’t stepping up to the task of reckoning with the history and present of racism. For example, the Alabama Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools—even though it’s not taught in secondary schools.

The resolution bans “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex,” according to Montgomery Advertiser.

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The two Democrats on the board, both Black, voted against the resolution, while the rest of the white republicans voted in favor of it.

Here is more on that vote, per the Montgomery Advertiser:

In Alabama, one state representative has already filed a bill ahead of next year’s legislative sessions that would require schools to fire K-12 and higher education teachers who teach critical race theory. It would also prohibit schools from classifying students by race.

Ahead of the vote, multiple community members signed up to speak against the resolution, many explaining that they fear it will limit teachers’ ability to educate students on the true history of the United States. Additionally, they took concern with why the board was even focused on the theory, given state superintendent Eric Mackey has repeatedly stressed the theory does not exist in the state’s course of study.

“This resolution was conceived out of anti-public education groups that are unfamiliar with the Alabama course of study,” Benard Simmelton, president of the Alabama NAACP, said. The board, he continued, should be concerned about real issues, such as the unequal punishment of Black and white students.

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In Wisconsin, state Senate and Assembly lawmakers heard more than six hours of testimony that would limit teachers from “indoctrinating” students on issues of race, sex and gender, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

Here is more on those bills:

One bill would require Wisconsin school boards to make information about the learning materials and educational activities used for pupil instruction public. The other would limit the teaching of anti-racist and anti-sexist lessons that “promotes race or sex stereotyping,” including teaching “that one race or sex is inherently superior to another.”

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The bills are part of a national trend. Other states, including Ohio and North Carolina, have debated similar bills, and some, such as Idaho and Oklahoma, have passed them.

Although the text of the legislation doesn’t include the term “critical race theory,” it came up repeatedly in lawmakers’ comments and public testimony, as well as in the introduction of the bill.

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It is doubtful that any of these people who are so against Critical Race Theory actually know what it is or can identify a practitioner of it. If you want to have fun watching a lawmaker who is trying to ban Critical Race Theory in Utah fail to define the framework, watch this Black News Channel segment with Marc Lamont Hill.