Why Critical Race Theory Should be Taught in Schools

Photo credit: https://www.missioalliance.org/understanding-critical-race-theory-part-1/

Photo credit: https://www.missioalliance.org/understanding-critical-race-theory-part-1/

Georgia Casavant, Writer

When I was younger, my parents used to take me to the Saint Albans, Vt. city hall every other year on Nov. 2. I would stand in line next to them, holding their hand, as they patiently waited to cast their votes and participate in the beauty of American democracy. 

I just turned 18, so it won’t be long before I am able to cast my very own vote and follow in the footsteps of my parents, my grandparents and my great grandparents. It is important to reflect on the privileges we hold as American citizens. The Founding Fathers created a beautiful system on which our country is based. But it is crucial to understand that this system was created for a wealthy, middle-aged, white male. Despite the progress made throughout history, injustice is rooted within American politics; therefore, the critical race theory needs to be taught in schools.  

Not until 8th grade did I learn that Christopher Colombus was responsible for over 3 million deaths, all those being of indigenous groups. In elementary school, as I celebrated Columbus Day, I was flooded with knowledge about the hero who “discovered America.”  Nobody mentioned the Native Americans who had settled on this very land hundreds of years before. 

Similarly, when I was in 5th grade, my teacher set up an obstacle course in the gym; she instructed my class to pretend we were run-away slaves as she chased us through the obstacles. While the intention behind this activity was to learn about racism, in no way is it okay to associate the oppression of people of color with a fun game.  

Critical race theory examines the relationship between race and American society, politics and law. Critical race theory suggests that racism is deep-rooted within America because of the countries long history of oppression and slavery. It is with understanding this theory that we can ensure that the situations I mentioned previously never occur again

The 14th Amendment contains the due process clause, guaranteeing every American due process of law. It is clear, however, that the criminal justice system has fallen short of this. On average, Black men in the US receive sentences that are 19.1% longer than those of white men convicted for the same crimes. Furthermore, Black Americans and white Americans use drugs at similar rates, but Black Americans are 6 times more likely to be arrested for it

In 1954, the Supreme Court Case of Brown v. Board of education established that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional. However, one US study found that job resumes with traditionally white-sounding names received 50% more callbacks than those with traditionally Black names.

It is undeniable that racism still haunts the United States. Teaching critical race theory in schools will help educate our future leaders.

Some individuals find themselves concerned with “reverse racism.” My question is how is it possible for white individuals to be oppressed when they continue to hold a position of power? Teaching critical race theory in schools will not cause “reverse racism,” it will simply expose the injustice faced by people of color

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his letter from Birmingham jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

We cannot be complicit with racism, and learning about critical race theory is the first step in creating an educated generation.