When a lot of people see news articles and social media posts about “critical race theory,” their eyes glaze over. This is not helped by outright dishonesty by some Leftists on what they are actually advocating. An especially egregious lie is that opposition to “critical race theory” (CRT) means you are opposed to teaching about racism in American history. (More on that later.)
Because of the debates and accusations being thrown about as to whether CRT is correctly defined, then, it would be more helpful to focus on specific things that are being taught instead of talking about CRT as an umbrella ideology. CRT as a term has become a political and cultural flashpoint. So what kinds of things should we as conservatives oppose being taught in K-12 schools?
Primarily, we should oppose the idea that all whites support and benefit from a system of white supremacy. There are legacies of racism that do have an impact to this day, but to blame all whites is an oversimplification that does not consider cultural factors, education and marriage rates. It is also unfair to lump every single white person in with a “racist” system when the majority of whites are not actually racist.
We should oppose the teaching that things like individual liberty and equal treatment under the law are means of upholding a “white supremacist” system. The problem historically was not that we treated people as individuals, but that we classified an entire class of people as inferior based on the color of their skin. We have made enormous progress in eliminating state-mandated segregation and discrimination.
None of this means we should not teach about historical racism and mistreatment of blacks and other ethnic minorities. This includes Chinese who arrived to work on the railroads and Irish immigrants who were discriminated against. Even German immigrants faced discrimination during World War 1.
But the fact of the matter is that this is already being done. Children today are learning about this history and have been taught it for generations. Even at a conservative Baptist school, I learned about this in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Could this instruction be improved? Perhaps, but you need to show me where history and civics education is flawed on a school-by-school basis. This is certainly not something that should be decided at a national level. The best decision with education is for the state to provide a basic curriculum but for most things to be handled at the local level by elected school boards.