Critical Race Theory Sparks Conflict and Confusion

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The Upper Midwest Law Center has announced plans to file three lawsuits against Minnesota government agencies for their use of “critical race theory.” One plaintiff described it as a “racially divisive and demeaning ideology.” At the center of this conflict is a concept many simply don’t understand. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports:

The Upper Midwest Law Center has announced plans to file three lawsuits against Minnesota government agencies for their use of “critical race theory.” One plaintiff described it as a “racially divisive and demeaning ideology.” And lawmakers in over 20 states are pushing for bans on critical race theory being taught in the K-12 curriculum.

At the center of this conflict is a concept many simply don’t understand.

“I think that it’s important for people to understand that all study of race, all critical examination of race, is not critical race theory,” said Dr. T Anansi Wilson, a legal and race scholar at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Wilson said critical race theory is a highly specialized area of legal studies. According to Wilson, it says in short that in the application and enforcement of law, who you are matters. He points to the Fourth Amendment. 

“This idea of the right to privacy, the right to be against search and seizure, and to be secure in your persons and in your home – we understand that that’s a foundational, constitutional right,” said Wilson. “Police need a warrant. They can’t just stop you and seize you and throw you in the back of a car. But we also understand that stop and frisk is a real thing in America, racial profiling is a real thing in America.”

Critical race theory got its start  in the 1970s; it re-gained traction last year in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.

Dr. Wilson says pushback today comes from a misunderstanding.

“People think that uncovering… and sitting with the truth of America’s racial dynamics – and racial and class and sexuality history – means that because you have maybe benefited from this through no fault of your own that you’re a bad person,” said Wilson. “No one’s saying that. It’s saying that you have to release the guilt and get about the business of solutions.”

Wilson says it’s important to think critically about how old racist ideas continue to affect and infect our current way of life.

 

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