Hiding Behind Your White Privilege: Why We Can’t Just Ignore the Critical Race Theory In the Classroom Issue

I’m seeing all sorts of posts from acquaintances praising the concept of limiting or banning the discussion of Critical Race Theory without fully grasping it. Critical Race Theory is not a single issue that can be easily avoided in the classroom. It’s interwoven throughout many topics that go hand in hand with history and literature, art and government, current events and debate.

Many right-leaning news sources such as Fox News are painting CRT as something that CREATES racism. This is completely inaccurate. CRT discusses the impact of racism as it used to exist and still exists. Discussing the effects of racism on American history or current public policy does not increase it; making us aware of problems is the first step to eradicating them. Sweeping it under the rug and saying it’s not there does nothing. It’s not saying that America is a horrible place to live or that we haven’t made progress—it’s simply discussing where we can do better. And we can do better.

As Elie Wiesel, author of Night, once said: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” This quote makes more sense now than ever. How can we teach about the Holocaust without discussing racism and white supremacy? It’s impossible. Under this bill, discussing white supremacy would be a no-no. Discussing the Holocaust could be interpreted as ignoring the bill, and could pose a danger for educators.

If you are a white person who still doesn’t understand why the danger of this bill that is not only being pushed in Texas but over most of the American South, then you are hiding BEHIND YOUR PRIVILEGE and indirectly supporting racist policies.

If you are a white teacher who has not investigated this policy, or have voiced support for it based on right leaning news sources, you are actively supporting agendas that enable white supremacy and condone ignorance to the same history that many of you so fiercely claimed to defend when confederate statues were being removed.

According to Fox News article:

“Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail,” Senate GOP leaders wrote. “And because of this Governor’s personal history, the motivations of this decision will always be suspect. Like Senator Chase’s idiotic, inappropriate and inflammatory response, his decision is more likely further to divide, not unite, Virginians.” If you agreed that Confederate statues being removed was erasing history, yet support the suppression of CRT discussions in the classroom, then you must check your motives.

By clinging to your privilege, you are dismissing any students of color in your classroom in favor of your own comfort. In addition, you are also adding to the already heavy burden of teachers everywhere. As Elie Wiesel, author of Night, once said: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” This quote makes more sense now than ever. How can we teach about the Holocaust without discussing racism and white supremacy? It’s impossible. Under this bill, discussing white supremacy would be a no-no. Discussing the Holocaust could be interpreted as ignoring the bill, and could pose a danger for educators.

By embracing your privilege, you are choosing the role of the oppressor.

For more information regarding this bill and the definition of Critical Race Theory, see the following article.