Critical race theory can backfire

On paper, critical race theory seems worthy of inclusion in the K-12 curriculum (“No, Critical Race Theory Isn’t ‘Anti-American,’” Education Week, Oct. 7). After all, students today are far more sophisticated than in the past because they have access to images and content not readily available before.

But unless great care is given to the issue, most students are going to come away with a distorted view of the history of this country.  I say that because I vividly remember how the Los Angeles Unified School District handled the controversy surrounding Rodney King and the riots that ensued.  Instead of presenting a balanced picture of race relations, the workshop left the distinct impression that all people of color are victims.

Perhaps adults can put the matter in better perspective than students.  I hope so because there is too much indoctrination taking place under the guise of education at a time when we need to come together as a nation, rather than see ourselves as victims.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

4 Replies to “Critical race theory can backfire”

  1. It’s frustrating that “liberals” want to reform K-12 curriculum to place greater emphasis on race issues while — so far as I can tell — not increasing the emphasis on any other “social studies” or “civics” issues. (As a practical matter, if we keep constant the instructional time devoted to social studies/civics while increasing the instructional time devoted to race issues, it follows that we will be decreasing the instructional time devoted to all the other social studies/civics issues.

    OK — race issues are hot issues today. And, race issues are arguably important issues (although I’d argue that current racial discrimination is a relatively minor issue and the rational race-issues focus should be on why — other than current racial discrimination — blacks and Hispanics have lower incomes, less wealth, poorer health outcomes, etc.).

    But, most high school graduates (as well as college graduates for that matter) are largely ignorant re many very important social-studies/civics issues — i.e., economics, taxes, wage rates, income distribution, wealth distribution, the stock market, the role of $ in politics, abortion, teenage pregnancy, low-income single parenthood, the economic and social impacts of legal and illegal immigration, trade rules, trade deficits, the short and long-term importance/impact of federal budget deficits, and the list could go on and on.

    When the majority of the voters are unable to reach informed opinions regarding all these social-studies/civics issues, democracy just does not work very well. We see the results every day.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: The obsession with race inescapably means overlooking other issues in history. As a result, students have no knowledge to develop critical thinking. It’s impossible to achieve that goal unless students understand the numerous factors that are part of our history.

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  3. “Critical thinking” is the key — the habit of always asking “does that make sense?”, “what are the opposing arguments?”, “what personal motives does the person making the argument have?”, “what unmentioned bad things might happen if we accepted this argument?”. They hammered this into us back in law school — both implicitly and explicitly. Far too many citizens, including some very well educated/affluent citizens, seem to be sadly lacking re critical thinking skills (or, perhaps, they possess the skills but prefer not to apply them in certain contexts).

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  4. Labor Lawyer: Expressing non politically-correct views is the third rail of teaching. That’s why students today lack critical thinking skills. They’ve been exposed only to one side of an issue.

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