What is the Critical Race Theory in United States of America?

Published on: August 06,2021 12:00 IST

By Tanya Napolean


Racism may take various forms and manifest itself in a variety of settings. Prejudice, bigotry, or hostility aimed against a person because of their skin color, race, or national origin are all examples. Critical race theory is a more than 40-year-old academic concept.

The basic premise is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not only the result of human bias or prejudice but also of legal systems and laws.

Critical race theory originated in law schools in the 1970s and ’80s as an alternative to conventional civil rights law classes, many of which thought that the best approach to combat racial discrimination was to make legislative changes.

The doctrine of the time predicted that institutional racism would finally be phased away. This, according to critical race theorists, is a superficial knowledge of the role of race and prejudice in the law, and that racism is pervasive and entrenched in the United States.

The core ideas of critical race theory, also known as CRT, evolved from a structure for legal analysis devised by legal academics Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

What does the Critical Race theory claim?

The theory’s proponents claim that the United States was established on land and labor theft, and that federal legislation has perpetuated uneven treatment of individuals based on race. Supporters also think that race is a cultural construct rather than a biological one.

In a recent interview, Crenshaw, a law professor, and a key player in the creation of critical race theory stated that critical race theory “simply says, let us pay attention to what has happened in this nation, and how what has happened in this country is still creating disparate results.”

Since we believe in the promises of equality, Critical Race Theory is more patriotic than those who reject it. And we know we won’t get there until we face and discuss inequity honestly.”

Academics discussing CRT are not claiming that white people living today are to blame for the actions of the past. They are arguing that white people alive now have a moral obligation to address how racism continues to affect all our lives.

Why is the United States Government against the Critical Race Theory?

Even though the CRT idea had been steadily spreading in academic journals and books for decades, it was abruptly exposed to a wider audience after the police deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which sparked countrywide protests and conversations on racism.

Several Republicans see critical race theory’s principles as an attempt to rewrite American history and convince white people that they are fundamentally racist and should feel sorry for their privileges.

However, the idea has also become a collective term for racial concepts that some republicans disagree with such as white privilege, systematic inequity, and innate bias.

Legislations against the Critical Race Theory

According to a study by Education Week, 25 states have proposed legislation or other actions to limit how race and racism may be taught. Through legislation or administrative measures, eight states, all headed by Republicans, have prohibited, or curtailed the teaching of critical race theory or comparable concepts.

The restrictions mostly apply to what can be taught in school. While some statutes specifically reference critical race theory, some do not.

Four states have already approved laws restricting how teachers may discuss race, sexism, and other contentious subjects in the classroom. It is the latest attempt by Republican legislators to reign down their approach to topics they believe are contentious and improper.

Proposals to prohibit CRT in schools were passed in Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and were being considered in several additional states.

The legislation passed so far prohibits teachers from introducing certain concepts. Among these are the beliefs that one race or sex is fundamentally superior, that anybody is racist or sexist because of their race or sex, and that anyone should feel uncomfortable or guilty because of their race or sex.

Supporters of the legislation argue that the rules are intended to prevent schools from teaching critical race theory, an academic concept that explores how racism has impacted the legal system in the United States.

  • Alaska Governor objects to CRT

Critical race theory, according to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is a “false narrative” that promotes “division” and has “no place in our classrooms.” Since June, at least 14 Alaska instructors have joined the Zinn Education Project’s worldwide promise to teach critical race theory regardless of any legislation prohibiting it.

  • Georgia’s Opposition to critical race theory

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wrote a letter to the state Board of Education on May 20, calling critical race theory “anti-American” and “opposing critical race theory in our classrooms.”

In reaction to Kemp’s letter, the Georgia Board of Education issued a resolution condemning systemic racism and unconscious bias courses and education linked to the 1619 Project, which discusses racism’s role in the establishment of the United States.

According to the statement, no state school district or school administration policy shall “compel” instructors to “discuss current events or highly discussed and currently controversial issues,” according to the statement.

  • Indiana’s Opposition to critical race theory

Attorney General Todd Rokita of Indiana joined 19 other state attorneys general in requesting the US Education Department to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory because it “distorts, rather than illuminates, a proper and accurate understanding of our nation’s history and governmental institutions,” according to Rokita’s May 19 letter.

Rokita issued a 16-page “Parents Bill of Rights” on June 23, urging parents to reject the use of the 1619 Project in classrooms, as well as the teaching of history and governance through the perspective of historic racism.


The government has the constitutional authority to manage curricular problems and decide on teaching materials without infringing the First Amendment.

However, rather than prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory, the legislation should demand the teaching of a variety of perspectives on race. Whether or not one agrees with CRT, it is an essential critique of Society. There must be methods for nations to rein in CRT’s principles without explicitly prohibiting its teaching.


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