The controversy that has surrounded Critical Race Theory seems to have reached fever pitch. As we’ve reported at The Root, angry white parents have lashed out at school board meetings over the so-called taboo teaching, politicians have used the subject as a partisan lightning rod and all of this fervor often comes without a true understanding of what Critical Race Theory is—and what it is not.
The crux of the issue: can we be honest enough with ourselves as a country to acknowledge our history and allow that the ravages of slavery still impact on us today? This is just one of the questions raised by CRT pioneer and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who is credited with coining the phrase “CRT.”
At this year’s The Root Institute, we felt compelled to cut through all of the misinformation that’s been swirling to center the conversation in a healthy dose of reality.
To help us uncover the truth as we know it, we enlisted the help of noted scholar Professor Brittney Cooper. A five-time The Root 100 alum, professor Cooper is an American author, activist and cultural critic whose areas of research and work are distinguished by her masterful and unabashed ability to speak truth to power.
During this deep dive into what CRT really represents, Cooper notes that, contrary to what history-challenged white supremacists would have us believe, children are quite capable of understanding the concepts behind the theory:
Michael Harriot, who has written extensively about CRT for The Root, has explained the importance of these teachings this way: “One can’t understand the political, economic and social structure of America without understanding the Constitution. And it is impossible to understand the Constitution without acknowledging that it was devised by 39 white men, 25 of whom were slave owners. Therefore, any reasonable understanding of America begins with the critical examination of the impact of race and slavery on the political, economic and social structure of this country.”
Lean in and listen as Harriot and Cooper give us a deeper understanding of CRT and why it’s such a critical part of our common knowledge.