Focus of CRT

Published: 9/17/2021 4:10:31 PM

After reading Messrs. Hamdan and Walsh’s column about critical race theory (Sept. 2), I was tempted to write a response beginning, “School committee members deny race is a problem in America.” Of course, that’s not quite what they said, but it’s about as accurate as their description of CRT.

They created a bogeyman that they could pick apart instead of having an actual discussion about what CRT is and its strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the name-calling, their main points seem to be that America has had problems, but it’s done a good job of trying to fix them (better than other countries), “white shaming” is wrong, and racism isn’t our only problem.

There’s varying merit to these, but there’s a lot that’s left out — in particular, the fact that while sometimes we’ve worked to solve problems, other times we’ve created new ones, and historic and persistent racism explains a lot about why the system works better for some of us than it does for others. That’s something that CRT focuses on, and its goal isn’t “white shaming” or teaching kids to hate America; it’s trying to understand and explain how what’s actually happening is sometimes different from the happy stories that we like to tell ourselves. (And, by the way, it’s not part of the K-12 curriculum.)

Ironically, they end by declaring that the goal “should be to evaluate where we are now, take in the whole picture, and do our best to move forwards.” CRT is a tool for helping to do that. It isn’t the only tool, and it doesn’t have all the answers (nothing does), but it can be very useful. We should be wary of those who in the name of being united are trying to throw it out of the toolbox.

Mike Naughton

Millers Falls


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